A few months ago I was unemployed, broke and wondering why, oh why did I move halfway up the east coast when I didn’t have a job lined up. Sound familiar? Chances are, you know someone in this situation, or maybe you’re there yourself. Everyone knows finding a job these days is about as tough as catching a mountain lion using only a toothpick and a slinky. You can’t change the job market, but you can control yourself!
After about three months of hunting, I had officially decided that the job gods had slammed their shiny doors on me. It was then that I made major changes to my approach, and two weeks later, I landed a job. These are some of the practices that helped me leave unemployment behind.
Shy? Get over it. Sure, I was reaching out to all of my connections and networking like crazy, but what ultimately helped me get interviews was when I reached out to people who I had no one in common with. This may go against the networking norms that be, but as long as you’re contacting them through a professional channel and are respectful of their time, the worst they can do is brush you off. Find the people who work at your dream company and go for it.
Scrap the stuffy cover letter. This may vary from industry to industry, but in public relations I only received responses when I shared my personality with them in my cover letter. No, I didn’t include my smooshy faced cat obsession or the fact that I only eat macaroni and cheese cold, but I did share what I’m passionate about. Passion makes a good first impression.
Make a name for yourself online. Let’s be honest. As soon as someone gets your resume, they’re going to Google you. It doesn’t matter if you start your own blog, maintain a semi-professional Twitter account or post your best photography online, it’s just important to have good content show up in your search results. And that doesn’t include last night’s picture of you singing Journey into your beer microphone.
Sell yourself. Many times in interviews I got the nagging feeling that I should stop talking so much about myself. This is a normal feeling to have in day-to-day conversation, but I realized after holding back on a few interviews that I wasn’t selling myself to these people the way I should be. Don’t be afraid to give your experience the credit it’s worth, share accomplishments you’re proud of and let the interviewer know why you are the one for job.
Be selective. I know, this seems counter intuitive when you feel like you’d accept a job anywhere, doing anything, for anyone. But I found that when I narrowed down my applications to only the positions that I was really excited about, I was able to invest my best efforts into landing the opportunity. Find what you love and try to stick with it.
If even one of these tips sounds like something you could include in your job hunt, then I’ll know sharing them was worth it. I know I couldn’t have landed my current job without the advice and encouragement of colleagues and friends. Incorporate the tips that make sense for you and go get ‘em tiger.