There's more to a job hunt than scrolling through websites like Seek and clicking on every job that catches your eye. Before you even look at what's on offer in the big wide world, there's a few things you need to do.
Not only do your resume and cover letter have to be proofread, polished up and ready to send off as soon as you see your dream job advertised, you need to be clear on exactly what it is you're looking for in a career. Here are a few tips to make sure your job search doesn't send you running around in circles.
Before you send a bulk email with your application to every advertised position that is even vaguely related to your industry or experience – STOP! Take time to think about what you want and narrow your focus so you don't waste both your time and the employer's.
Make a list of what you are looking for (both personally and professionally) and only apply for jobs that match your priorities, talents and experience.
Job opportunities can be found anywhere and everywhere. Don't limit your search to traditional methods – it's about opening your eyes, extending your networks and putting yourself out there. Job search websites, trade magazines, social media, recruitment companies, your own network contacts and industry workshops are all at your disposal.
Don't put all your eggs in one basket, but divide your time between looking through advertisements, networking both in person and online, and touching base with recruitment companies.
Treat your hunt for a job as if it's a job in itself. Your next brilliant career isn't going to land in your lap if you aren't actively on the lookout for it. Set aside time to seek out opportunities, put in applications and attend interviews. It will also pay to use your excess spare time to bump up your employability rating by attending courses to brush up on old skills or learn new ones. Doing temporary work will build work experience, keep your bills paid and may even turn into a permanent position.
Don't expect to find your dream career in a week or even a matter of months – it can sometimes be a long war of attrition. You'll have to be prepared to tough it out and that means being able to deal with rejection. It's perfectly normal to feel disgruntled or demoralised at some point during your job search, and to have to deal with rejection. So, stay focused and tell yourself that the right one is just around the corner.
Seek support from family and friends, remind yourself of the positive efforts you are making and look after yourself by eating good food and keeping yourself physically fit. It's also important to separate your 'leisure' time from your 'job hunting' time so you don't get an attack of the guilts if you indulge in a bit of down time.
The job market is dynamic and very quick – it's not the place to 'um', 'ah' or bide your time. Respond to job advertisements promptly (within five days of it being posted) and if you hear of an opportunity, grab the phone and give the company a call. Lots of employers will jump on the first decent candidate they see, so get into gear quickly.
It's important to keep good notes of jobs you apply for, application requirements, job interviews, contact people and their details, and your impressions before and after an interview.
Effective job-hunting is not just about getting as many offers as possible, but knowing which is the right offer. After weeks or even months of furious job-hunting and countless rejections you'll probably be cheering all the way to the bank when you get the call letting you know you can start on Monday.
Think back to what you initially wanted when you started hunting – seemingly endless weeks of trying to track down your dream job may have skewed your perspective slightly. Ask yourself whether the salary is fair, whether you will enjoy the day-to-day work, whether you are willing to make the required lifestyle changes and if you are suited to the company's values. If the answer is no to any of these, then let the hunt continue!