For those job seeking professionals that have been searching for a job for months or more, the whole job search process may seem a bit stale. Countless hours are often spent on job search websites and job search engines such as Seek, LinkedIn and Indeed.com often resulting in minimal feedback. It is frustrating to go months without finding a job. Inevitability you begin to question career choices, your professional skills, experience, qualifications, or even your education. But you’re not alone. In times of high unemployment, a slow moving job market can create the appearance of a job search that becomes stagnated.
In this seven part series we will provide job search strategies and tips to revive your job hunt and boost your career confidence.
1) Part Time Job, a Temporary Job, or Volunteering
Seek out short term, part-time, or temporary work in your career field is a good way to get your foot in the door. Even if there does not seem to be any full time jobs opening any time soon, part time work and temp work is a way your employer can get to know you and your work ethic. If a job happens to open up or a new position is created, then you are at a higher advantage then others applicants who may be applying for that same job. You’ll have much more than a resume to show the company.
2) Work on your Personal Brand
If someone were to search for your name online, what, if anything would they see? In all likelihood, hiring you is a big investment to any company or organization. Especially in challenging economic times and an employer driven job market, companies are being more selective about their job applicants.
Take a few minutes and search for yourself online to determine what your digital footprint is. Do you share a name with someone that could create a career opportunity or a problem with your online image?
Use your personal brand to let the employer know your strengths, why they should hire you, and that you are a worthy candidate to investment in. If you remember, the personal brand is your life and professional skills as they appear online. You want your personal brand to be accurate and truthful, but you also want to it to make you look great to an employer. Your brand should reflect your overall qualifications, education, and indicate your career goals.
See what shows up in a Google search and a Yahoo search. Having a LinkedIn profile and profiles on other professional social networking sites can help to create a positive digital footprint. Your profile should be professional and consistent. Keep your information consistent with similar career goals and career objectives in each profile. Avoid blending social media and your online professional image. It is important to keep your private life PRIVATE. That is a mistake many people make with personal branding which may cost them being selected for that next job or opportunity.
3) Changing Careers or Branching Out to New Industries
Diversify your job search and branch out into new job markets you may not have considered in your previous job hunting strategies. Pick a career field, any career field and determine if your skills and qualifications would translate into new job opportunities.
That is not to say that you should just apply for the first job opening that presents itself. As a matter of fact, the opposite is true. Choose a career field that may benefit from your professional knowledge. Your best option is to look at a small geographic area and determine what employers are within this region. Examine what the area employer’s job positions and the job descriptions they are seeking and compare the qualifications to your resume. A midlife career change into a new industry can appear challenging but rewriting a career change resume and cover letter can quickly expand your employment options.
Examine your strengths. If you are not good with people, do not apply to personnel jobs. If you do not have an aptitude for math, do not apply for engineering or accounting jobs. Choose an industry or career field you know you can succeed in and focus your job search in that field. Perhaps you haven’t found a job yet because you are stretched across too many possible career paths. You may have missed an opportunity while you were wasting your time and applying to jobs that do not suit you. As a job search seems to drag on, it may seem tempting to try to apply for everything, but stay focused on your qualifications and job skills.
Be realistic about the types of jobs you are applying for. Most often when make a career transition into a new job market you will find yourself competing for more junior level positions then you would within your current career field. Changing careers may seem like a step backwards; yet showing potential future employers you are capable of taking on new challenges, have the foresight, and flexibility to expand your skill set across industries can become a strong asset.
4) Use Career Counseling and Career Advice Services
Get some help. If month after month has passed with no job offers or employment prospect you may need some help with your job hunt. You do not want to be put in a position where your financial obligations overtake you focusing on your job search.
Recent college graduates and college alumni can use their college’s career services department. Beyond employment listings and postings, many college career service departments offer interview preparation assistance, resume writing and career advice, and can assist you in choosing a career path. These services are often helpful when you are considering changing careers or at a career transition. Also, many companies seek out students from specific universities, colleges, and specific degree program or departments. A career advisor in the schools career services can connect you with these companies.
Beyond the college or university career services centers, look into what career placement services your local city or county provides. Contact your local chamber of commerce to begin your search for these types of local services. Many of these services are either free of charge or at a minimal fee to local residents.
Depending on your specific situation, consider hiring a professional career advisor or career counselor. A professional career counselor’s job is to help you figure out exactly what you want to do and advise you on how to maximize your resources and qualifications.
Before electing to get a career counselor, do some research on what services the career counseling service provides and what their recent candidate placement success rates are. This way, you will know what to expect as an end result. Will they help you find a career path, provide resume writing advice and interview preparation, placement services, and help you along the way? Do not be afraid to ask for help when the job search seems to be dragging on. Having a career advisor or an independent career service can help you revitalize your job hunt.
5) Is Your Resume Writing Reflective of your Career Objective
Refresh your resume and your professional image. If your job search appears stalled, take this time to review your resume and your overall professional image. This includes your cover letter, professional social media sites such as LinkedIn, and your professional references.
If employers have already seen your resume and you have not received any responses back, then this might be your cue to give your resume a second look. Check your resume for spelling mistakes, typos, and poor grammar. Those are a definite turn-off to any potential employer.
Do you think your online resume would pass the 20 second test? Remember that 20 seconds is generally the amount of time an employer will spend looking over your resume. In that time frame, an employer will decide whether or not he or she will call you in for a job interview. If it has been a while since you have been called for any interviews, then this may indicate that your resume does not pass the 20 second test. Some resume writing changes may be necessary. Also, be sure that your resume is aesthetically pleasing and your resume qualifications, education, and experience properly flows together.
6) Using only Top Job Search Engines can Limit Your Career Options
Not all job search websites are created equal. Searching that next job opportunity using online job search engines can distribute your resume to many companies and employment centers. Although, not all job search websites are weighted the same for your professional career field or industry.
Major job websites like Moster.com and CareerBuilder.com are great choices to broadcast your resume skills and qualifications. However, your chances in getting noticed on these online job search sites are low. Thousands of career professionals and job seekers are posting and updating their resumes daily, and in a highly competitive job market, being too general with your career objectives may not result in you landing that job.
Take some time to research what are the best job search sites, specific to your industry or career objectives. If your career field is within the medical industry, look for those web sites that focus specifically on medical jobs or nursing jobs. Expand your career and look for part time job search opportunities to get into a company or organization.
Be focused and specific in your job search and make sure you are looking everywhere. Limiting yourself to just a few major job sites can be disastrous. Many of the jobs you are seeking may not be listed on the common and the most popular job search engines. So, try looking at lesser known job sites, and on industry specific ones. Check your local newspaper daily, especially on Sunday editions. Sometimes a job listing may be printed on only one day in the newspaper.
Keep checking your professional social networking sites and keep your eyes open for mentioning of possible job openings. You might be missing out on great opportunities by limiting your search to one place. If you are unemployed, be sure to tell everyone that you are looking. People talk and word will get around. Your friend’s cousin’s girlfriend may be in the Human Resources department in a company where they are hiring. You could be surprised where you find your next job. Whatever you do, do not stop looking until you find what you are looking for.
7) Revisit your Long Term Career Choices
What long term career planning steps have you considered throughout your professional career. Often times we can become comfortable and somewhat complacent within our chosen occupation after we have met certain education and experience requirements. However, over time we can lose our job security if our skills are not continually up to date or with economic shifts, technology innovations, or company restructuring.
If you find yourself in a position where there does not appear to be any jobs in your career field, they you may consider changing industries. Change can be good, but when you mention changing careers, often people confuse this with more schooling or education, significant changes in their schedule, or starting back at the beginning. While any change may require some retraining or new on the job knowledge, changing careers maybe easier then one would think.
Examine what parallel industries or other careers use your same talents. Seek out career counseling and take several career tests to help you determine what industries you maybe unaware of that use your qualifications. A career counselor can help you with this decision and provide you some inside knowledge on specific career fields. If you do not have a career counselor, then you may want think about who in your local area hire professionals with your skills and list all the things you loved about your old job. Then look for jobs that have those same qualities. You can also look at things you disliked about your old job, and look for jobs that do not have those qualities. Take a reputable personally or career test and consider jobs that work for your personality type.
The worst thing you can do is nothing, especially if you see major changes coming in your career field where your future employment could be effected. A proactive approach can open new doors and provide you with new career opportunities.