On average, it takes someone 43 days to cross the finish line of their job search.1
If you spent those 43 days slaving away on generic cover letters, applying to every job post that sounded vaguely promising you’d soon find yourself drained of energy and unconvinced by the prospects on offer.
The secret to a successful job search? Trading in the effort for efficiency.
Here are the 3 straightforward steps to kickstarting your job search, designed to help you land a career you want rather than the one you’ll settle for:
3 Steps to Kickstart your Job Hunt
1. Create your Job Search Plan of Action
Before your job hunt even begins, you need to decide what it is that you want out of the experience. Developing your Job Search Plan of Action is the only way to help you make sense of the chaos of managing multiple contacts, offers and interviews.
Here’s what you’ve got to consider:
- Write down your mission statement. (Hint: “I want a new job” is not enough.) Think about the ideal role you’d like to play, what the company’s interior looks like, the kind of person you’d like to report to – anything you think is important to your professional happiness.
Example: I want a mid-level copywriting position at an agency that works with non-profit organisations. I want a company culture that allows for flexihours and social engagement opportunities and I don’t want to abide by a dress code.
- Consider everything you think you have to offer the role you initially identified. Write down your strengths, accomplishments and skills that would help you succeed in the mission statement you created. Think about everything that makes you excited, and consider times when you were professionally unhappy: what triggered that?
Example: I’m a media studies graduate with a passion for writing about and identifying with different brands. I care very much about causes like the environment, children and education, and would love to make a difference through my writing. I am not good at working in isolation and am happiest in a space that encourages communication.
- Finally, you need to ensure you know what actions you need to take next to ensure these goals are realised. Write up a list of must-do’s based on the following 2 job hunt steps:
2. Search Engine Optimise your Professional Online Presence
Almost 80% of available jobs are not advertised.2 If they’re not privy to you, how do you make sure you’re still in the running? Make yourself as visible as possible and get headhunted.
Visibility doesn’t translate to quantity: being on every available social media platform doesn’t mean much if you aren’t making the most of what it has to offer. Search Engine Optimise (SEO) your online presence to bring the right people to you.
- Heard of a Chief Happiness Officer? Neither has the HR department at your dream job. Having a trendy, fun job title is certainly creative but it’s not what people search for when looking for promising candidates. When it comes to your job title, keep it simple, relatable and most importantly, searchable.
- LinkedIn is one of the few social media platforms that provides you with the opportunity to talk about your professional self in depth. Make the most of the 2000 word-limit on their summary feature: the more you write about yourself related to your professional abilities and accomplishments, the more people are likely to come across you.
- LinkedIn is not the social media platform to worry about privacy settings. The key to using LinkedIn as a job search tool is to increase your profile visibility. Change your settings to public profile if you want to be found.
- YouTube isn’t reserved for late night comedy show snippets and cat memes – it could be your next job opportunity. Create a professional page for yourself and upload videos of you contributing to your industry. If you’ve given a talk on something work-related or if you have some tips for a tutorial that people interested in your career might find useful, you’re one step closer to being found online. You’ll prove to future employers that you’re passionate about your work and a thought-leader in your field.
- Once someone has finished watching your Youtube tutorial on UX, they’re going to leave the page. Unless you add in a call-to-action. While vloggers ask their audience to subscribe, you have the opportunity to ask your viewers to check out your website or LinkedIn profile. Ensure that once you’ve been found, you’re also contactable.
- Your personal brand means a lot for your professional success. People want to know that the candidate they’re hiring cares about their job and is interested in leading the way in new industry trends. Use social media platforms like Twitter to talk about your career: share articles on changes and developments, and engage with other thought-leaders online.
- Twitter is also your opportunity to see what other people are saying about the job you’re searching for. Follow people in the position you’d soon like to find yourself in and make sure you’re up-to-date and relevant in your industry.
3. Draw Up your Job Hunt Wishlist
If only 29% of candidates ever hear back about next steps for their job application3, what can you do to ensure you’re always top of mind? You can apply to 58 different jobs with a generic cover letter and a standard resume, and the chances are that eventually, you will hear back from someone.
But how do you hear back from the company you were really hoping for? The trick is to trade in quantity for quality.
Create a list of the top 10 jobs or organisations you’d ideally like to see yourself by the end of your job hunt and then work at perfecting those applications rather than aiming in the dark.
- The key to standing out is customisation. Your cover letter should never be replicable and your CV should speak to the position on offer, not about your high school sporting achievements. Talk about what the company has to offer you and what you can give them in return. Nina Mufleh knew she wanted to work at Airbnb but with thousands of applicants being screen every day, she knew she had to go above in her job search. She created a resume customised for Airbnb: following their design style, web layout and addressing a concern their business was having and which she knew she could solve. She simultaneously proved her value to the company and her hunger to work there.
- Another thing Nina got right during her job hunt efforts? Research. Do all the research you can on the jobs on your wishlist. Find out details about the company culture and values, and talk to someone who works there. Nothing puts off a recruiting manager faster than someone who clearly knows very little about the organisation.
- If someone isn’t currently offering a position but you know that’s where you want to be, send in an application anyway. You’ll show initiative, passion for the company’s ideals and even if they really don’t have something to offer you, you’ll remain in their talent pool until something does.
Another sure-fire way to help speed up your job search?
Improving your skills and gaining only the most relevant knowledge for your industry: