Job hunting! It’s the worst, I know.
I always think of job hunting as its own full-time job. Except that you do it for free, get rejected way more often, and perhaps cry more. But hey! In order to land a job, you most likely need to do some hunting for one. And then you need to put yourself out there in the best way possible.
If you are a millennial and you’re reading this, I will allow you one moment of pity party time to maul over the fact that we’re seeking jobs at a time when low paying internships are the norm, competition is REAL, and the job market is struggling. Woe is us! Okay, pity party ends here.
Let’s get creative with the cards we’ve been dealt and use the technology, smarts, and plethora of opportunity that we have at our fingertips, shall we!?
The good news is that I have a slight obsession with job hunting, crafting CV’s, and teaching people how to network. All to say that if you’re stuck in job hunt hell, my personal coaching can save you. But for now, I’ll give you some tips.
So let’s start with where you plan to sell yo’self.
We’ll get to the CV part – but since you will tailor it to where you apply, there isn’t a need for shaping it perfectly right away. I would suggest that you dive into some juicy research on where you’d like to work, who you’d like to work with, how you’d like your days to look, and the role you see yourself thriving in. This is all to get specific about where you put your time and energy during your job hunt. We don’t need you wasting your time on applying to roles and businesses that you don’t actually care about or see yourself succeeding in. You may have a specific list of companies or a more general idea – either is fine. These are the places where you’re going to make yourself known!
(If you’re like ‘hey girl, this is TOO MUCH.’ Have a peek at this older blog post sure to help you narrow your interests, skills, and job prospects. Then come back here for the next steps.)
The next step is using a few different hunting strategies
Here are my top strategies:
- Online search. SHOCKING, I know. This is an okay place to start but shouldn’t be your sole strategy. Have a look at job listing websites and visit specific company’s websites to see if they’re hiring. Check out LinkedIn’s job posts and set up alerts so that you’re the first to know when new posts go up.
- Call or message companies to ask about job openings. This feels scary sometimes but let’s be real…the worst they’ll say is no or maybe hang up on you. No biggie! Practice picking up the phone – seriously, this is such a dying art. If you have a list of people you know who work in fields or positions that you’d really like to work in, reach out to them to see if they know of anyone hiring.
- Go on Eventbrite or other event sites to stay up to date on networking or job fair events. They happen more often than you think. I will tell you from direct experience that the biggest opportunities have come to me from people or places that I had in-person contact with. We are so stuck behind our screens that this seems foreign but the truth of the matter is that when your name comes in for a job application, they will already trust you a little bit more than the 400 other applicants because they actually spoke to you in person. Go to these events, talk to people, book ‘information interviews,’ and ask people about their journey to where they are today. Collect business cards, follow up with these contacts, and do your best to place focus on interest in getting involved as opposed to scoring a job – let’s avoid desperation and lean more towards genuine interest.
Now for the applying…
Okay, so you may now have a few different roles to apply for. Or maybe you’re just going to shoot off some resumes to a few new connections you’ve made – you can pull one of those ‘Please keep me in mind for the future’ things. When you’re at this stage, think about three things: including as much relevant information as possible about the role/company; staying concise and clear no matter what; and finding one to two things that will make you stand out from everyone else.
When I coordinated hiring as an Operations Manager for an arts organization, my email would overflow with applications. For one role, we posted the job for 4 days and heard from upwards of 200 applicants. It got to the point where I had to nix applications after reading only the first paragraph of the cover letter – there were just too many!
So knowing that, how are you going to stand out?
One thing I looked for was specific reference to our mission and the role’s duties. Writing your CV isn’t that hard when the job posting literally gives you what you need to include – as long as you have experience in those skills. Employers want to know that you’ve done your research.
The other was that out of 200 applicants, only ONE picked up the phone and called us. That applicant got an automatic interview. I thought it was a step beyond what the other folks had done and she deserved a second look. So take that as a hint – call, stop by, send your CV in letter form too. Anything to make you pop out to the person who is going cross eyed scrolling through the endless emails. You can get creative too like tweeting to them or engaging them on social media. Try messaging someone from their company on LinkedIn to flag your name as a recent applicant. I know that a lot of posts will explicitly say not to call or stop by but I think there is always a way to make some other contact to plug your name just a little bit more.
Now that I’ve gotten you this far, I’m going to let you get to work. I’ll publish Part 2 of this post soon where I’ll outline the deets around interviewing, following up, and not losing HOPE!
Sending you happy hunting vibes!