It’s not easy being a job seeker. If you’re doing it while you’re employed, you have to worry about doing your job, staying in your boss’s good graces, and not letting on that you’re intending to leave. If you’re unemployed, you’re facing off against the stress of financial instability and the lack of a salary.
Whatever your situation may be, during a job search, there’s a good chance you’re being pulled in a dozen different directions. When this happens, the result is often a series of behaviors and attitudes that slow down your progress towards the next step in your career.
For a swift, successful job search, it’s important to recognize these stumbling blocks and adapt to them appropriately. Here are four ways you might be impeding your job search progress and the things you can do to mitigate them.
Crippled by emotions
One of the hardest things to do in any job search is to cope with the negative emotions that come with the task. Any given job search will involve frustration, whether at the broken online systems companies use to accept resumes or at the lack of good job openings for your desired role. A job search will involve sadness and feelings of futility at the hands of rejection.
You’ll experience dozens of emotions, good and bad, as your job hunt goes on. As humans, we don’t deal with these emotions too efficiently, especially not by ourselves. And as a result, they can cripple us and prevent us from making progress.
Getting rejected can make you feel like there’s no point to applying and make you sloppy with your applications. On the positive side, if you get too excited about an interview opportunity, you may stop applying to other companies and adopt a single-track mindset.
All of these things only serve to slow you down. The key to getting past this emotional barrier is to talk to someone. Whether it’s a friend, family member, career coach, mentor, old professor - you have plenty of options - don’t try to tackle an emotional stumbling block alone.
When you have someone to talk to, someone who will motivate you and help you take a step back to see the bigger picture, you can get over the problem faster and get right back to work. Keep them up to date so they can spot breaks in your patterns and good habits. Celebrate your victories with them and they’ll pick you up when you’re down.
No idea what’s going on
A fast and effective job search requires that you avoid making mistakes and being forgetful. Which is why if you feel like you have no idea what’s going on in your job search, you’re only slowing down your path to success. If you feel disorganized, disoriented, or mistake-prone in your job hunt, it’s your responsibility to make the adjustment needed to get back on track.
A disorganized job search will make you miss out on a lot of great opportunities through silly mistakes like forgetting to send a thank you note or neglecting to follow up on your applications. Luckily, it’s easier than ever to stay organized with the JobHero dashboard. Using JobHero, track your applications throughout the hiring process to make sure you always have a bird’s eye view of your progress.
By staying organized, you’ll be able to send more effective applications that are better catered to each employer and role. Researching companies will become an easy task and keeping your information for future reference will make preparing for interviews a breeze. And you’ll always be on time and on point when you communicate with employers.
The result? You’ll become a smarter job seeker who is better able to capitalize on the opportunities presented to you.
No commitment, no focus
A job search requires a lot of effort on your end. You can’t just apply, sit back, relax, and wait for the interview invitations to pour in. You have to commit yourself to treating the job search as a serious endeavor if you want the process to go by quickly.
This means you need to have focus from the very start. Target the companies whose products you truly admire. Figure out what kind of culture you would best fit into. Understand the size of the team you want to join. And have a clear idea on what you want to do in your next role.
Next, commit to adjusting your resume (even the slightest bit) and writing a fresh and original cover letter for each role. This is the easiest way for you to stand out to an employer. Make the effort to relate with them on a level that shows you care and are doing your research. You’ll be more impressive than a candidate that copy-pasted the exact same cover letter and resume for each application.
Finally, set out a regular schedule that will have you making constant progress in your job search. It doesn’t have to be a strict, hour-by-hour, play-by-play schedule. You can make the tasks and goals as generic or as specific as you need them, depending on your own organizational style. Stick to this schedule every day and you’ll quickly feel a sense of progress.
Failing to iterate
Job seeking is not a talent that is taught in a school or university setting. You’re taught skills and concepts important to your career, but rarely do educational institutions actually focus on the steps and skills needed to actually land a job.
That learning process has to come internally through trial and error. As you conduct your job search, you’ll do a lot of great things and you’ll make a lot of mistakes. It’s important to evolve as a job seeker by digesting the lessons learned from your successes and failures and using them to iterate on your job search approach.
This means that you should adapt your job applications, interviews, and even the roles you apply for based on what’s worked best for you. If you find that a casual cover letter works better than a formal one, stick to that rather than going back. If not, change and test various formats to see their effectiveness. You can do this trial and error adaptation for any aspect of your job hunt.
By doing this, you’ll be able to lead a better, faster job search. And luckily, the skills and habits you you develop while job seeking translate well into the working world. So be proactive and dynamic as a job seeker, and you’ll reach a successful outcome quicker.