If you're on the job hunt, you may be wondering what skills to highlight in…
Originally published September 25, 2019 and revised October 15, 2020.
As a job seeker, you know that searching for a new role is tough. Sprucing up your resume, writing multiple cover letters, and scheduling interviews can feel like a full-time gig. Between multi-step application processes, waiting for responses from the employer, and receiving the dreaded rejection email, the hiring process can fray even the strongest of nerves.
If you’re feeling stuck or unmotivated, it’s time to reinvigorate your job hunt! Think of this time as a chance for a fresh start. You have the unique opportunity to decide how you want your career to progress from this moment forward. Jumpstart your job search and keep up the positive momentum with these recruiter-approved tips:
Break Up The Day With Other Activities
Even though it seems like your new full-time job is job hunting, be sure to take breaks. Stepping away allows your brain to switch over to something different for a while so you can return to your job-hunting activities with fresh eyes and a clear mindset. A break could be a few hours or even a few days. Choose something constructive like working on a personal project, going on a hike or drive, or even checking in with a colleague from your network.
Maybe your confidence is waning and a few days away from job searching activities is necessary. That’s OK! Take time to change up your scenery, quiet your mind and gain perspective on your goals. This will improve your search and revive your motivation when sending out that next resume and cover letter.
Never Stop Making Connections
Whether you’re looking for a role in your current field or you’re open to exploring opportunities in a new industry, continue building your network! Start online by searching sites like LinkedIn for people who work in the job you’re seeking or who have made the jump from your current industry to the one you’re interested in. Invite them to connect and ask if they’d be open for an informational interview over coffee (you can even do this virtually). What did their career journey look like? What skills did they need to land the role they’re in now? What trainings or resources do they recommend to help you prepare for the future? Think about how their experience applies to your situation and what learnings or insights you can glean for your career change. (Plus, word of mouth is huge. Let your new connections know you’re looking for a role—most companies have referral programs in place to incentivize their staff to bring in fresh talent!)
Level Up Your Skills
Advance your skill set by taking a course on a subject you’ve been dying to learn. Pick out a new book or explore a new blog to expand your ways of thinking or learn about a new topic in between job applications. Even if your job search takes a while, you’ll have a new skill to add to your resume at the end. And don’t forget to tap into your local network—your nearby Meetups, recruiting companies, and even community colleges can be great resources for interesting lectures, career advancement courses, networking events, or job fairs. Now’s the time to use them!
Practice Makes Perfect
Interviewing, just like any other on-the-job skill, takes practice. Put your skills to the test by scheduling mock interviews with other professionals either in or outside of your industry. These could be people you’ve networked with, past colleagues, or even family friends. In the interview process, most people get tripped up when asked to give an example of a skill they had to use, so focus on rehearsing your specific stories, experiences, and examples. Your friend’s feedback will be invaluable to help you continue to grow and improve. Every interview (both real and fake!) is a chance to do better than the last.
Identify Personal Requirements Before Applying
What do you want out of your new job? Do you need to work close to home or are you OK with traveling an hour if it’s the job of your dreams? Do you prefer to work independently, or do you thrive in a collaborative working environment? Do you dream of feeling connected to an organization that deeply values their company culture or would you prefer to focus your efforts on your independent job tasks? Before starting on your job hunt, think about the office and the work environment that best suits you and your goals. When looking at job descriptions, use your personal needs as your North Star to guide which roles and companies you apply for. Doing this self-discovery and company research even before you apply to will set you up for long-term success in a new role, on a new team, and in a new organization.
Look Outside of Your Comfort Zone
Maybe you started your career as a professional in a specific industry. You worked your way up and gained some industry specific experience, but you’re looking for a change. Today, companies need employees with varied experiences to keep up with the world’s changing environment. By opening your job search up to related industries you can stay within your career field but find a world of new possibilities. Look for industries where your knowledge could be an asset. Don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone—there may new opportunities you might not have noticed before! Worried about your qualifications for a role in a new industry? Don’t be. Companies are just as interested in diversifying their talent pool and, with the right fit, will give you the tools necessary to be successful.
Having trouble with your job search? VanderHouwen can help! Contact us and work with a recruiter to help find the right job for you.