August 10, 2011
Going the Distance in Your Job Search (This Is Not a "Pep Talk"!)
As a job search stretches out, week upon week (and as the economy remains, shall we say, turbulent), it can be all too easy to give up -- to think, "There are no jobs out there, so why bother. There's nothing I can do to find a job."
Here at Monster, we hear this sentiment frequently from job seekers -- and we understand that many of the people giving voice to it are facing desperate times and very difficult circumstances.
But at the same time, we also know that we have more than a million jobs posted on our site at any given time -- and we talk to employers every day who are searching for people to hire.
So what's the disconnect?
Get Past "Positive Thinking"
Sure, positive thinking works -- to a point. For one thing, people with a positive, can-do attitude are more attractive to employers. But a larger reason that positive thinking works is that it inspires action.
Thinking that "it's hopeless" and that you'll "never find a job" are self-fulfilling notions -- because if you think that there's no use in trying, then you don't try.
The Secret Is Positive Doing
So that's the key: trying. Personal pep talks are helpful (and for tips on positive thinking, read "Reframe Six Career-Limiting Beliefs"), but it's also important to act.
Just to help you be sure, here are a few ideas: ways you can keep your job search going (as an added bonus, positive doing causes positive thinking -- and vice versa). Try one of these things when you feel as though you've "tried everything."
>> Read a book on your industry or on job-search techniques.
In a 2010 HotJobs poll, site visitors were asked, "In the past year, how many career- or professional-development books have you read (not mandated by an employer)?" For 60 percent of respondents, the answer was zero. That's a lot of job seekers who aren't keeping up on the latest job-search tactics and on developments and new ideas in their industries. Give yourself a leg up on this slacking competition.
(And after you read a book, think about reviewing it in a blog post, recommending the book to someone in your network, asking the author a question via his or her website, or hosting a seminar on it for a professional organization.)
No time for a book? What about an article or blog post?
>> Ask someone in your field or at a target employer to do a five-minute review of your resume.
You're regularly updating your resume, right -- and customizing it for each job you apply for? (For tips, read "Creative Ways to Customize Your Resume.") If so, you're already better off than most of your competition: when we ask job seekers whether they're customizing their resumes for each job they apply for, more than half say no -- and that means their resumes are far less likely to make it past front-line resume readers (human ones and digital ones).
Here's a great way to get resume advice and put yourself in someone's mind as an active job seeker: Ask for a five-minute resume review (specify "five minutes," so it feels like a do-able favor -- but many people will go above and beyond) from someone whose opinion matters (someone in your industry or at a company you want to work at). Look not only to your contacts but also to second-degree contacts. Be sure to say thank you, and add this person to your network if you can.
>> Build profiles on professional networking sites.
A majority of workers say that networking played a role in their getting hired at their current or most recent job. Whom you know matters. Make sure you're active in the online communities specific to your industry, and that you're using all the networking tools available to you -- such as Monster's BeKnown Facebook app.
But building a profile is just the beginning -- you also have to maintain that profile. One way to do this is to add connections (think of your former colleagues, former clients, former classmates, and so on). Then spend some time each day (even if it's just a few minutes) thinking about how you can reach out to your contacts in a positive (and professional) way. Write recommendations, share information, introduce people, and so on. Don't be a spammer -- online communication is more effective when it's personal and targeted. (For more tips, read "Online Professional Networking for Beginners.")
When you need to ask a contact for a favor, the attention you've paid your network will really pay off.
>> Look to self-improvement and self-marketing activities.
Remember, you are your own "brand" and your own "product" -- and just like a successful company, you should continuously be making improvements to both. For brand tips, read "Build Your Brand." And for more self-improvement tips, read "Fun Ways to Beef Up Your Resume."
>> Don't stop here.
There are just some ideas to get you started. If you've already done everything on this list, great -- it's definitely time to start going through the list again. If you're saying to yourself, "This stuff won't help me," you're partially right: because it won't help you if you don't try it.
Find something new to try in your job search today.
(What are your creative ideas for keeping your job search going? Share your thoughts in the Comments section.)
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Here's what I did. Took my time to consolidate, review skills, take up training etc and also reach out to colleagues and friends to make sure the network is aware of your search.
Posted by: Charles | Aug 11, 2011 5:27:55 AM
Thank you for sharing your advice, Charles -- taking up training and making sure that your network knows your situation are very important.
Posted by: Charles Purdy | Aug 11, 2011 9:30:25 AM
Thanks for sharing this helpful information. Keep good work.
Posted by: Jobs In India | Aug 30, 2011 8:20:01 AM
Inspirational advice on positive thinking, thank you. We have many job-seekers who think looking a job is a few click task. The reality of finding a job requires, mental grinding of will until sparks comes out and a winning attitude as you described.
Posted by: Jobs in South Africa | Sep 1, 2011 10:29:11 AM
The power of positive thinking will do you well in life genrally not just when looking to change jobs...
Posted by: cv service | Sep 14, 2011 11:40:09 AM
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