Most people have never been taught how to find a job. However, research shows that the average worker only spends 4 years in a job — and you’ll have as many as 12-15 jobs over the course of your career.
Here are 10 things every jobseeker can do to be successful in your job search.
Follow these checklists to learn how to find your new job faster. Remember, you only need one company to hire you. Instead of focusing your efforts on making dozens or hundreds of contacts with prospective employers, be selective!
- Start with the end in mind. Take the time to think about what kind of job you’re targeting. What job title, functional roles, and industry are you interested in? Any specific companies you’d like to work for? If your ideal job was available, how would you describe it?
- Take time to organize your job search. Outline a strategy and then use your plan to create a weekly list of activities.
- Create a schedule each day for your job search activities. Make a list each day of the activities you want to complete. However, if an interview or networking opportunity comes up, of course you will rearrange your schedule to fit it in!
- Set aside a workspace for your job search. Designate a specific area to use when conducting your job search. This should be an area free of distractions.
- Devote sufficient time to your job search. The more time and energy you devote to your job search, and the more aggressively you network, the faster your job search will proceed. If you are not currently working, commit yourself to a minimum of 40 hours per week devoted to your search campaign. If you are currently working, devote 15-20 hours per week at a minimum.
- Recognize that your motivation is going to increase and decrease, depending on the success (or lack of success) you are having in reaching your job search goal. Reward yourself for effort, not for results.
- Get the support of a team to help you. You don’t have to go it alone in your job search. Ask your family and friends to support you. Join a job club. Use the services offered by your city, county, or state employment office. Contact your university alumni association. Hire a résumé writer and/or career coach.
- Enlist an accountability partner. Recruit one person to support, encourage, and motivate you in your job search. This can be a friend, another job seeker, or a coach/counselor. (Choose someone who can be objective with you — and critical of your efforts — when they need to be. That role might be too difficult for a spouse/partner.)
- It can be easier to get a job if you have a job (even if the job isn’t related to the job you want). Employers sometimes see hiring someone who is unemployed as “riskier” than hiring someone who is already working.
- If you are having difficulty finding a job in your area, consider relocation. If you live in an area with high unemployment — especially in your industry — consider whether moving to another city, state, or region would improve your chances of getting hired.
One page? Two page? Red page? Blue page?
OK, apologies to Dr. Seuss for that one, but the truth is everyone seems to be asking about resume length lately so I want to clear it up, once and for all.
The whole one-page rule comes from a time when you went to the store and bought fancy “resume paper” to type out your resume on (yes, type, not wordprocess). And it was more or less just a list of jobs you’d had with some minor description. Times have obviously changed and so has the one-page rule.
Here are five guiding principles about resume length that should set you straight.
- The one-page résumé myth persists, despite significant evidence that most hiring managers have no problem with a two-page (or longer, even) résumé, if appropriate for the candidate’s qualifications. And there is the key. If your qualifications require more space, then by all means, use more pace.
- Don’t put too much weight in what recruiters say about résumé length. Recruiters only place about 25% of candidates in new jobs, and not all recruiters subscribe to the one-page “limit.”
- The one-page format is unique to the printed page, because résumés submitted online aren’t affected by page limits. Approximately 30 percent of résumés are only stored electronically (they are never printed out).
- Traditional college students and those with five years or less of experience should be able to fit their résumés onto one page. Most everyone else, however, can (and should) use one page OR two.
- And finally, what I believe is the most important guidelines of all – make sure everything you include on the résumé — regardless of length — is relevant to your job target and what the hiring manager will want to know about you! Don’t add anything that is not directly related to you landing an interview for this job.
Do what your career requires.
Don’t waste time perseverating, just get to it.
Don’t look over your shoulder to see if someone is watching. You’re not doing this for them. You’re doing it because it’s right.
Don’t wait until you think you can reach Elon Musk level brilliance, just be satisfied with each small step you make in the right direction.
Then, once you have made that step, do it again and again and don’t stop to congratulate yourself. Just keep doing what you have to do.
*This post was inspired by equal parts Nike and Marcus Aurelius. Wisdom comes in all places.
The average careerist changes jobs every 5-7 years, but deciding whether or not the time is right for you can be fraught with self-imposed obstacles. When you contemplate looking for a new job or switching careers, do you find yourself focusing on more than 3 of these?
- Consider the cost of switching before you consider the benefits?
- Highlight the work of jobsearching over the benefits of a fresh start?
- Exaggerate how good things are now in order to reduce your fear of change?
- Grab onto the rare thing that could go wrong instead of all the likely things that could go right?
- Focus on short-term costs instead of long-term benefits?
- Worry about losing status earned only through tenure and longevity?
- Imagine that your competition is going to be better positioned than you and therefore more likely to get the job?
- Compare the best of what you have now with the possible worst of what a change might bring?
If you answered yes then you may be sabotaging your own success. Take a fresh look at those above statements, but this time, turn them around.
- Consider the benefits of switching rather than the shrt term costs.
- Highlight the excitement of jobsearching over the work.
- Remind yourself why you are thinking about a change in the first place.
- Think of all the things that could go right with this possible decision.
- Focus on long-term benefits instead of short-term costs?
- Think about the new experiences you will gain that will add to your resume.
- Know that you are highly skilled and experienced and that any employer would be lucky to have you on their team.
- Compare the worst of what you have now with the possible best of what a change might bring?
A change in mindset like this can help you decide whether or not now is the time for a move.
Do you know the secret value of writing your branding statement on LinkedIn? Short version: It has nothing to do with keywords and search value.
Of course your headline/branding statement is important in terms of SEO value on your profile, but it has a second, even more important, function. It is how you chose to define yourself, and as such it has an aspirational element.
I’ll use myself as an example. I used to call myself an “Executive resume writer crafting job-winning resumes for job seekers.” But this was actually limiting. Because what I really wanted to do was be more of a job search coach helping people beyond simply writing the resume. But as long as I defined myself as just a resume writer that was all I did.
That changed when I chose to change how I defined myself. I now consider myself a “Job search coach helping leaders on the rise.” By just rewording what I consider myself to be, I began attracting a different type of client and I started working differently with them.
So your branding statement is also a bit of positive psychology. Tell the world what you want to be, and then go be it.
But you have to tell yourself first.
So what do you really want to be?
If you are going to spend the money to hire a professional executive resume writer (me) then you’ll want to follow these guidelines to get the most out of our relationship.
- Be honest! Never lie on your résumé (and don’t give me false information, either!) The better the information you share the better your new résumé will be.
- The clearer you are about where you’re going in your career, the more effective your résumé will be. Targeting makes all the difference.
- Invest in yourself! Plan to spend 1-3% of your annual salary on your career, including additional training, clothing for a job search, and career documents.
- Look forward, not backwards. I can’t nclude every detail of your life and work history on your résumé. These details are important to who you are, but not necessarily important for this résumé for a particular job target.
- Don’t wait until the last minute to update your résumé. After you’ve landed a new position — and you’re sure you’re going to stay — get back in touch to add the new position. And keep an accomplishments journal so you can track your achievements in your new role.
If you don’t start looking for a new position, then you can’t fail.
If this sounds like ridiculous logic, that’s because it is. Yet this fear-of-failure actually holds a lot of people back from either making a career push up the ladder, or taking a leap and making a complete career switch.
They know they want to, but they convince themselves they are happier where they are. Or that they just need to-
-Pay off student loan debt.
-Wait for their kids to enter school.
-Buy a house.
But you know what? This sounds a little tough-love, but if you never put yourself out there, then you already have failed. There’s really no doubt about that.
Not starting and failing both bring you to the same place.
Right. Where. You. Are. Now. Are you sure you want to be there?