An unexpectedly challenging economy does not prevent you from successfully landing a job. Take stock and jump-start a job search strategically.
Too Busy to Search for a Job?
No doubt, you’ve heard looking for a job is a full-time job in itself. What does that mean if you are overwhelmed with other full-time responsibilities? Especially if you are working at home without the normal supports you typically rely on, it is difficult to make time for job search. The best approach is to be strategic.
Select activities that are most useful in propelling your search forward. Don’t spin your wheels and make forward progress.
Follow these steps, and you’ll save time and effort.
Step One: Decide What You Want To Do
You’re never going to get anywhere if you don’t know where you are going. Knowing you’d like “better hours” or a “different” job are first steps, but those goals are not specific enough to help you make a change. Write down exactly what type of job you want. Include target companies, hours you’d like to work and what you want to do. Don’t be afraid to be very specific. Once you specify your goals, it is much easier to reach them.
Step Two: Assess Your Qualifications
Once you know what you want to do next, be sure you have the skills and qualifications to do it! Carefully review job descriptions that are similar to what you want to do. Copy and paste several job descriptions into a Word file. Highlight the parts of the description that apply to you. If you highlight everything in the description, you’re golden! If there are features of the requirements that do not apply to you, make a list. Determine if you are really qualified for the position, or if you would benefit from additional training or experience.
If you don’t quite qualify for the roles you want, start making plans to boost your credentials. Consider taking courses. Research certifications to earn. If you work at a company that pays for professional development, start to take advantage of that. Alternatively, budget time and money to learn what you need to know to take the next step in your professional career.
If you’re missing skills you could gain in other ways, look for opportunities to build your credentials. Consider volunteering for committee work in a professional organization or association. Speak to your supervisor to identify new opportunities for you to gain skills at work. Your professional development is your responsibility.
Step Three: Create Marketing Materials
Ensure your resume, LinkedIn profile and other social networking streams represent your professional qualifications. Your resume should closely match the content you find in job descriptions. Never assume an employer will know you have a skill you do not list on your resume. Clearly outline your credentials via your skills and accomplishments.
Make sure your LinkedIn profile matches the information on your resume, and take advantage of the opportunity to use LinkedIn to expand on details you want potential employers to know about you. Not every employer will take the time to visit your LinkedIn page, but for those already interested in you, it is a good opportunity to provide extra information that was not applicable to your resume.
Step Four: Network!
Don’t only apply to jobs online. Unless you are a perfect match for those opportunities, you may find yourself frustrated when you do not hear back from employers. So many people apply for positions listed, it’s tough to get your foot in the door. However, if you use your time to network, you may win introductions for opportunities you would not otherwise know about.
Even if you have a busy schedule, you can turn to Google or LinkedIn at any time of the day or night to research people who work in places where you want a job. If you’re already using LinkedIn, see if the companies that interest you have a presence there and determine if you have any contacts who work there or people who may be able to connect you to people who work there. Don’t forget to check out Groups. This is a great place to meet new people, and your busy schedule doesn’t prevent you from connecting with new people who may be able to refer you to job opportunities.
Of course, in-person networking is a great way to meet people. Even if networking is via Zoom, make a point to attend professional organization meetings and go to online or in-person meetups related to topics that interest you personally. Say yes to invitations to interact with friends and family – even if it is online. All of these can be great opportunities to network with new people.
Move Forward Now!
Don’t waste any time moving forward with your career plans! If you don’t take steps now to jump-start your job search, you’ll never make a change. Don’t hesitate to contact me if you need help with your LinkedIn profile or resume.