Entering a job search is definitely not for the faint of heart. If you’ve ever had to look for a job, then you understand the emotional roller coaster that happens during this process. The highs of applying to potential dream gigs and getting called in for interviews will make you feel like you’re walking on cloud nine – invincible, almost. However, the lows of not getting the job are enough to bruise even the strongest and most resilient of egos. To help you make the most of your job-search journey, here are three tips that will boost your candidacy and marketability so that you can land the job of your wildest dreams.
(Photo Credit: Ethan/Flickr)
1. Be Patient and Strategic, Not Impulsive and Desperate
Heading into your job search without clear intentions is like going grocery shopping parched and famished – and, as we all know, nothing good ever comes from shopping on an empty stomach. (If you don’t know, now you know.) Instead, first construct a plan that incorporates your skills, your expectations, and your short- and long-term career goals.
Be sure to take a day or two mapping out a career plan that reflects what you’re good at and where you want to be. This is the time to be realistic about your qualifications, experience, and future. By doing so, you are less likely to make the all-too-common mistake of being a desperate, needy candidate who will take any old job that’s thrown his way. Instead, focus on finding a career that aligns with your wants and needs, both professionally and personally, and head into your job hunt with the mentality that you’re searching for a dream career, not a paycheck. (But don’t forget that paycheck: PayScale’s Salary Survey can help you figure out a salary range that’s appropriate for your skills and experience.)
2. Focus on Quality Over Quantity
Feeding off of the whole “don’t be desperate and impulsive” thing, it’s crucial to value quality over quantity when it comes to finding a lasting and fulfilling career. Far too many candidates make the mistake of assuming that casting a wide net when applying for any and all available jobs is the way to go; however, this mentality couldn’t be more incorrect. Applying to tons of jobs blindly because you figure you’re bound to land one is reckless and a great way to wind up back in the job-hunting world before you know it. It’s easy to fall into the trap of wanting an employer – any employer, really – to call you back for a job interview because any job is better than no job, right? Well, not really.
Sometimes in life, beggars can’t be choosers. Of course, if you’re in a situation where you need to earn a paycheck to keep a roof over your family’s head and food in their bellies, then, by all means, go out and earn a living – there’s no shame in that whatsoever. But focus your long-term plans on building the career you want, and targeting opportunities appropriately.
3. Be the Talk of the Town, Not the Butt of the Joke
Your objective should be to woo recruiters and hiring managers, not give them another reason to trash a generic, boring resume. Start by giving your resume a much-needed update with these proven tips and tricks, and then work on creating a knock-out LinkedIn profile that elaborates on your experience, accomplishments, and referrals. While you’re at it, be sure to clean up all of your social media profiles so that your personal life doesn’t accidentally cause you to lose out on a dream career opportunity.
Last, but not least, one of the best way to get more hits than misses during your job search is to tap into your existing network and connect with as many professionals as possible – give them something good to talk about. In today’s competitive job market, a personal referral seems to be the only way to get your foot in the door during a job search, so be tenacious in your networking. A great way to get the right people buzzing about you is to get word out that you’re actively seeking “greener pastures” and humbly market your accomplishments, experience, and career expectations (unless, of course, you’re conducting your job search undercover because you’re employed).
Above all else, try to remain positive and be kind to yourself through this arduous and trying process. Job hunting is not easy or fun, and it’s crucial to roll with the punches along the way. If, for whatever reason, you don’t get chosen for a position you had your heart set on, then understand that it simply wasn’t meant to be and move on. The worst thing you can do is get down and out about rejection and send yourself on a downward spiral of self-pity and negativity. Rejection is, unfortunately, a part of the game.
I will leave you with these pearls of wisdom as you embark on your job hunt: One door closes, another door opens, and what’s meant to be, will be. Best of luck!
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