Looking for a job should be exciting. But for many it’s extremely stressful. Particularly if you’ve just lost your job or are desperate to leave a job you hate. I’ve written before about my own experiences of being made redundant and how I dealt with it. It was by no means a fun ride.
What can make looking for a job even more stressful is when the job market is down.
Business expansion plans are put on hold and vacant roles aren’t re-filled. Companies at final stage interviews have to suddenly freeze roles or remove them completely. Recruitment agencies, under pressure to hit targets, post fake jobs in the hope they will attract talent to sell into companies. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Unfortunately, none of these actions make it any easier for those looking for a job. Many of whom, themselves, are desperate. With their job search success seemingly out of their control, job seekers can feel powerless. Having a negative impact on their motivation and confidence levels.
In times of uncertainty, the only thing we can ever do is focus on the things we CAN control. Namely our thoughts, our emotions and most importantly – our actions.
You can’t control what is happening in the market. But you can control how you react to it. You could choose to perceive looking for a job as hopeless. To give up, not take any action and stay stuck. You could choose to perceive it as the end of the world. And take desperate decisions and actions based on fear, which ultimately will be bad decisions. Or you could choose to perceive it as an exciting opportunity. An opportunity to see what you’re really made of. To rise to the challenge and build an effective strategy to make progress towards changing your circumstances.
As I’ve said many times before “Action breeds confidence and courage.” Any action is better than no action. But the right actions will help you make progress faster. Here is a list of effective actions you can take, starting today, to help you regain control and motivation while looking for a job:
1) Get into the right mindset
Your thoughts determine how you feel. How you feel will determine the quality of the actions you take. Your actions will then determine the results you get.
Feelings of demotivation and depression will stop you from taking action. What’s the point of looking for a job when you’re never going to find one, right? And feelings of stress will result in either paralysis or poor performance (e.g. in job interviews). So, it’s really important you do everything you can to stay feeling confident and motivated.
Base your successes not on the outcomes of your job search, but on what actions you take towards making progress. Seeing yourself take control of the things within your control will help you maintain motivation levels and regain a sense of certainty. At the end of each day, make a note of every action you took that day that was good for you both personally and professionally.
For further tips on how to cope with job loss as well as get into a positive mindset read:
2) Get clear on your UVP (Unique Value Proposition)
If you want to be able to sell yourself, you have to be clear on what you are selling! Get super clear on your Unique Value Proposition – your unique combination of technical skills, knowledge, experience, industry and company exposure, achievements, values, attitudes and behavioural competencies that will add value to an organisation. Make lists of each and link them to the jobs and companies you are applying to.
3) Perfect your marketing tools
Your CV, LinkedIn profile and general online and offline platforms and publications are all marketing tools to increase your visibility to potential employers. They are tools to market your UVP. To effectively market your UVP, you must first understand the needs of the employer and company. What are their pain points? Their obstacles and challenges? Their goals and objectives? And how does your UVP match their needs? Once you’ve got clarity on this – use your CV and LinkedIn profile to effectively communicate that match. For more information on how to perfect your marketing tools read:
4) Build an effective job search strategy
Applying for jobs online you are not 100% matched to is a poor job search strategy. Recruiters and HR Managers will reject any CV that does not match the job requirements fully. Stop wasting your time and theirs. Think about which companies would really benefit from your UVP and create a target list of companies. Then think of the best ways to get your face and name in front of them – exhibitions, conferences, writing content on social media, networking etc. For more detail on how to build an effective job search strategy read:
Not sure if using a recruitment agency is the best job search strategy for you? Then read:
5) Focus on building your network
80% of jobs are filled via networking. My advice? Instead of spending 8 hours a day behind a computer applying for job online – spend that time meeting people. Make friends and nurture those relationships as much as you can. They might not be able to hire you directly, but they will know someone, who knows someone, who knows someone. Not sure where to start? Read:
6) Increase your online/offline presence
I spend a lot of my time writing for online and offline publications. This allows me to 1) add value to an audience I might not reach through my own social media/website and 2) increase awareness to who I am and the value I can add to companies and individuals. Writing content, creating discussion or master mind groups, commenting on forums or other people’s social media can help you build your reputation. Some companies have been known to interview on reputation alone! And this can be something fun and interesting to do while you’re looking for a job.
Social media generally is a great way to 1) identify potential jobs and 2) increase your visibility to potential employers. Read my previous articles on how best to use social media to land your dream job.
7) Practice your interview skills
If you have time on your hands, use it to perfect your interview skills! Confidence in interviews comes from preparation and practice. Collect a list of the most common interview questions and figure out how to answer each one in a way that clearly shows how your UVP matches the employer’s need. For further tips on how to perfect your interview skills, read:
8) Focus on professional and personal development
The more skills you have, both technical and “soft”, the more valuable you are as an employee. There is so much free content out there – use it and abuse it! But if you can afford to invest in yourself, I would highly recommend it. As Warren Buffet said, “The best investment you can make is in yourself.” As long as you believe in your potential to change and create change, the rate of return is guaranteed.
Focus on developing your emotional intelligence and self-awareness, your communication skills, leadership and management skills – anything you feel you need to develop that will add even more value to your Unique Value Proposition. Get a coach. Go to trainings and workshops. Invest in a new qualification or certification if you know if will benefit your career. Equip yourself with as many relevant skills and tools as you can, and you will thrive – personally and professionally.
How have you found the jobs you have had? Through your network or online? What job search strategies have been most effective for you when looking for a job? Please feel free to leave your comments and advice below!
For further information on how to maximise your job search efforts, please visit www.zetayarwood.com or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Author
Zeta Yarwood is recognised as a leading Career Coach and NLP Life Coach in Dubai, helping individuals across the world to achieve success in all areas of their lives. With a degree in Psychology and over 10 years’ experience in coaching, management and recruitment – working for multinational companies and award-winning recruitment firms – Zeta is an expert in unlocking human potential. Passionate about helping people discover their strengths, talents and motivation, Zeta lives to inspire others to dream big and create the life and career they really want.