When your motivation is low, getting prepared for your job search can be paralysing. General job-searching tasks like networking and revamping your resume can be overwhelming. A great way to instantly make your search seem more manageable? Rework your to-do list to include smaller, more specific tasks.
Looking for a job is a job in itself. Whatever your reason – being unemployed, dissatisfied with your current role, facing redundancy, nearing the end of maternity leave – getting back in the swing of job hunting can be an overwhelming prospect. There are innumerable tricks you can teach yourself to get into the right mindset and to chunk down the admittedly daunting task of being prepared for a job search.
First Things First – Getting Prepared For Your Job Search
There is no substitute for exhaustive preparation, and many people will feel stressed if they have not adequately prepared for the job search. Reduce stress levels by taking the time to:
- Research the organisations you will be targeting
- Speak with references to ensure they are onside
- Think about examples of key achievements, and challenges you have overcome
- Examine your existing resume – does it reflect where you want to be five years from now or does it mirror where you wanted to be five years ago?
- Are there positions on your resume that add nothing to the arc of your career? Is it time now to leave them off?
- Are your certifications, licences and tickets up to date?
- Is your resume design tired (or does it have one at all?)
- Have you ever composed a winning cover letter to accompany your resume? Now may be the time.
Map Your Career Trajectory
“Where do you see yourself in 10 years?” is a question we all try to avoid. But right now, when you are in a position of preparing a job search, is exactly the right time to answer it.
Take some time to make a list of all of your goals, large and small. Actually putting them on paper will compel you to think about what you want to achieve and – better yet – inspire you to see at least one goal (if not all of them) through. Think of it as a kind of to-do list for your career – seeing things on paper will get you excited to check things off.
As an added bonus, seeing your dreams in writing may give you some ideas on how to tie them together. Each goal, no matter how random, can shed light on a new opportunity.
Are Your Skills Industry-Specific?
If you have learned a trade then yes, obviously, you will be targeting jobs in medicine, teaching and so on as appropriate. But many skills are not industry-specific. If that is the case, then you should be targeting companies, not jobs. Evaluate the companies that would most benefit from hiring you and see whether they have openings and then determine if you know someone who works there (For most companies, one out of four employees hired is an employee referral).
Targeting your job search approach will serve you far better than combing job sites and blindly sending your resume without fully understanding whether the company and job are good for you and vice versa. Make a list of companies that you would like to work with and whose needs align with your skills.
Are You a Soon-to-Be Graduate? Now Is The Time To Get Prepared For Your Job Search
Make the most out of university. Do not simply look at university as a means to fulfil academic requirements. Make a point to grow emotionally, culturally, and socially because these will be as important as any professional or technical knowledge you learn. And when it comes to academics, push yourself. Do not settle for the easy course.
Take a demanding course load that will challenge you and prepare you for the multitasking, constantly busy and ‘on-call’ culture that defines many careers. Put yourself in a position to understand what a career really involves. Get an early start with your career-planning skills. Exploit the contacts they offer and network like crazy. This will stand you in good stead later on.
Next time we will look at more skills to help you be well prepared for your job search.