Balancing standards with realistic expectations is a challenge when you're unemployed. As the search drags on, it gets harder to work through daily feelings of stress and desperation to stay focused on finding compatible job opportunities. Instead of giving up or diving into bad situations, follow these steps to manage your fears and achieve your job search goals.
1. Diversify Your Job Search
Searching for job opportunities can turn you into a hermit who spends every day scouring the internet for openings. Stop using the same strategy if you aren't getting results. Vary your search channels to find employers who need help, whether it's freelancing, social networking, temping or volunteering.
Think beyond your immediate business network. If you have marketable skills you can turn into a side gig, look for short-term job opportunities from friends, neighbors and people in your church community. Research key contacts in roles or companies that interest you, and reach out to them for lunch meetings. Don't ask for a job right away. You can get many professionals to open up by showing your passion to learn about the company or career path, rather than pitching your skills.
2. Track Your Progress
Sometimes, having an organized system is enough fuel for your job search. Goal-setting creates structure while providing a realistic picture of your progress. Keep track of the date, submission method and contact person for each application, and update changes in status. Research employers that are a good fit for your skills and cultural values, and send introduction letters to hiring managers to show interest in job opportunities. It's easier to increase your response rate if you commit to contacting a minimum number of hiring managers each week or month.
3. Prepare for Interviews
Don't wing it through interview questions. Use resources such as company websites, press releases, personal contacts and Glassdoor profiles to understand what matters to target employers. Researching the interviewer's role in the company can help you tailor your answers to address key company goals. In most cases, the interviewer is your future boss or teammate, and they want proof you have the right skills to solve problems and be a team asset.
4. Make a Good Impression
The work you put in to land a job interview is wasted if you make a bad impression the moment you arrive. Dress appropriately for the environment, show up on time and be polite to everyone you meet. Everyone is sizing you up, and hiring managers are likely to find out about any negative behavior you display before or after an interview. Avoid distracting behaviors that make you seem less professional, such as taking phone calls, chatting excessively or fidgeting with your clothes.
5. Ace the Interview
Make a list of quality interview questions in advance. Asking in-depth questions about company operations shows your expertise while offering insight about company obstacles and goals. As you learn more about the role, bring up examples of similar challenges and accomplishments you encountered in the past. Inspire confidence in your ability to get results.
Once you start reeling in job opportunities, make sure they align with your professional priorities. Job opportunities that seem great on the surface can turn out to be a nightmare. Defining your priorities makes you less tempted to act out of desperation.
Photo courtesy of WOCinTech Chat at Flickr.com
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