As the job hunt drags on, it can become a tedious and unsatisfying activity. You might start to feel like you’re putting in a ton of effort with nothing in return, despite understanding that it takes time and a bit of luck to reach your goals.
The time you spend despairing over the state of your job search can be a big stumbling block towards finding a new job. It’s totally valid to feel the pressure and effort take its toll on you, but there are important steps you can take to mitigate your job search blues. It all starts with a turning to a proactive approach to the search.
Work to be a better you
The most important part of a proactive job search is internal to you: do you do enough on a daily basis to improve your resume or skills, learn something new, or expand your knowledge base?
There are tons of online resources that can help you with this. Want to learn how to code? Hit up Codecademy. Looking to brush up on your economics, math, or any academic material? Khan Academy is your place to go. Want to be a better marketer? Check out the various guides on Moz and Hubspot. Want a full career 180? Programs like General Assembly and Startup Institute can help you out. Need a boost to the resume? Volunteer at a non-profit or take on an internship.
All these resources are available to you for free or at a reasonable price, and the only thing you need to do is decide to take that first step. Go a step further and use your learnings to get relevant certifications in your field. You’ll show hiring managers that you’re being proactive in your time of unemployment (or employed-but-searching) and are constantly striving to be a better worker and a dedicated, career-minded professional.
The search has become impersonal - you don’t have to be
A participant in a study on technology and job seeking stated that “the most difficult issue is not having human contact. The human interface has absolutely vanished from the searching process. You’re at the mercy of a piece of paper or the right tag words on your resume.”
This sentiment mirrors what many job seekers feel about the search. Applicant tracking systems, resume scores, automated rejection messages, and 6 second resume glances have made the job search feel like it’s you against a computer.
You can do something in response - make the job search personal for yourself. Take care to cater all your applications to the job description and the company. Take the time to research the hiring manager, and use that information to directly relate to them in your correspondence. And most importantly, unless the job description explicitly tells you not to, find the recruiters or hiring managers in charge and follow up on your applications with direct emails.
And keep track of your progress with each application. It’s crucial to make sure you don’t skip a beat in your search. Using JobHero, you can easily update the status of all of your applications, as well as save your notes, upload application documents, and set due dates. JobHero is fully optimized for mobile browsers, so you can take your job search with you wherever you go.
Take your job search offline
Corporations have job information sessions. Independent organizations run job fairs. Startups and smaller companies have happy hours. Opportunities for an offline, in-person job search are abundant, and part of being proactive is attending these kinds of events and expanding your network.
Meet people. Have valuable conversations with them about their business and learn about them as individuals. Learn about their needs and their hiring plans. Get their contact information, hand them your resume, and when you get home, send them a follow up email. Remind them of who you are and what you talked about, and add some interesting insights that you have gathered since then to continue the conversation.
This way, you’ll stay fresh in their minds and will begin to form a relationship with them.
What’s the endgame?
Finding a job is obviously the desired outcome of any job search. But a proactive job search has a secondary outcome that happens earlier in the process. That outcome is a feeling that your search is active and moving rather than stagnant. Taking the steps outlined in this article will allow you to take your job search into your own hands rather than sit back and wait on unreliable and unfriendly online systems.