If you’re feeling discouraged about your job search, it’s okay! How you’re feeling is normal, but let’s talk about how to make sure those negative feelings don’t stay around and sabotage your future efforts! Whatever your situation is – laid off, moving, changing industries – your reason for looking is the same. We all have a need to be financially stable and feel a sense of value and purpose.
Remember that you are not alone, and it’s okay to be vulnerable. Talking about how you feel with someone you trust is a great way to acknowledge your feelings and be able to move forward. Reach out to someone who has been through a similar situation to ask for their insight and inspiration.
Keep your eye on the end goal – a position that will meet your needs and make you excited to work every day. (Sometimes that means creating it yourself! And there are so many people who have done this – reach out to them for help. It CAN be done!) Staying positive is easier said than done, I know. Here are a few tips to help you portray the best version of yourself every single time you interview, even if you’ve been doing in for a while!
1) Keep track of your job search efforts, and prepare for each one individually. I’ve spoken with job seekers who have told me that they don’t remember what job we are about to talk about because they’ve applied to so many. You may be trying to show how dedicated you are to the search by applying so much, but it will just make you look unorganized. It can also make you look unfocused and appear that you are just applying to any/all jobs. Use an excel sheet and keep track of the date you applied, where you applied (Indeed, company website, etc) the title, the job poster (staffing agency, company directly). If someone contacts you about the position, be sure to add their name, title and email to the spread sheet. Sometimes a few weeks can go by because you hear back from someone, and you want to be able to instantly know who they are and what position they are calling you about. When it comes to preparing for each interview individually, visit the company’s website and understand their mission and vision before your interview. If you don’t know the name of the company, this means you have even extra time to prepare how your experience is a fit for the job description.
2) Even if you had a terrible interview yesterday, do not let that impact the one you have today! Try and clear your head and go into each conversation with a positive outlook. If you feel yourself getting into a negative head space, then take a break! That is okay. Spend a day or two unwinding and doing something you love before going back to the search. I know it seems like common sense not to do this – but I’ve had multiple candidates tell me how they’re having such a hard time job searching and about the negative experiences they’ve recently had. Bashing the interviews you’ve had is a no no, just like bashing your current or previous companies. Keep the interview focused on your skills and experience, as well as engaging with the interviewer. Remember that being selected for a job isn’t always about what you’ve done, but how you’ve done it.
3) Be sincere and consistent with your communication. Send a sincere follow-up! Even for a phone interview. It’s worth going the extra mile to be more memorable. I love getting a thank you for your time email after any type of interview. I also like when a candidate reiterates their interest in the thank you email. If you were told you would hear back in a week, don’t send an email every single day. If you were told you would hear back in a week, and didn’t, send a follow up email or call. If you don’t hear back, DO NOT change your message or tone because you are frustrated. We all know how quickly things change in business and sometimes the decision making process is delayed or takes more time than anticipated. Stay kind and don’t jump to conclusions. Does that message reflect your personal brand? If you are feeling frustrated, take a step back and wait before hitting send.
Here are a few of my tips of what to do outside of the actual interview process, to help yourself stay positive!
1) I talk to a lot of discouraged job seekers who have been sending in resumes everywhere and applying a ton online. Remember that job searching is not just applying online! This is only one aspect, and your resume is only one aspect. If you’re not having a lot of luck with the job boards, change up your methods! Look up local networking or professional association events. Check out your alma mater’s career center and other alumni resources. Remember to engage in volunteering or hobbies outside of your professional industry. Meaningful connections can be made in unlikely places. Expand your network and make it diverse. Use LinkedIn! Spend at least 30 minutes a day sending thoughtful connection requests (to those who you can add value to, and those who will add value to you), commenting on others’ posts or posting something of your own! This goes for everyone even if you’re not job searching – but don’t just scroll and like. ENGAGE! As you post content and comment on content, you show up in others’ newsfeeds. This is important to contribute to your personal brand and show the global community that you are knowledgeable in your field and a resource for others. You’ll notice you start getting as many connection requests as you’re sending out.
2) Make sure your LinkedIn profile is filled out and robust! Why spend so much time on your resume but not on your LinkedIn? Make yourself find-able so recruiters can reach out to YOU about your dream job. Have a head shot that displays your personality and looks approachable, tell a story in your summary that makes you memorable, list a description for each of your experiences, add skills and industry specific keywords to your profile. AND – do not use your entire headline to talk about how you’re unemployed or seeking new opportunities. This is important real estate! If the first thing someone sees about you is that you’re unemployed, that is not memorable! Use your headline to showcase your passions, accomplishments or strengths. Let me know if you want to talk more about this (: I could go on and on!
3) Invest in relationships! Build them because they’re important. The larger your network, the more opportunities there are and the more information you have access to. It’s just a fact. Use your alumni connections, church connections, Linked In connections, or wherever you have connections and add value to them! Each week, talk to at least 2 or 3 people you haven’t talked to before, and don’t forget to check in with those you do know, because landing a new job is all about timing! Offer your expertise, and ask for theirs. Remember that people will be more likely to help you if they have a relationship with you. People remember when their first interaction with you was when you asked them to give you something or help you with something. Don’t connect with someone on LinkedIn with a thoughtful note, and then as soon as they accept send them a paragraph asking for things – whether that be another connection or a job. Unfortunately this happens a lot and it’s a turn off. Plus, think about how the questions you ask someone could change and be more effective if you actually get to know them first.
Good luck! Keep going. When something isn’t working, change up your approach. Meet new people. Ask new questions. Remember you have an identity outside of your job and your job search. Don’t lose yourself during this difficult time. The right next step is out there for you, and sometimes it just takes time to land upon what that is. You got this!