Today’s job hunting market is competitive. There’s no doubt about that. It almost seems like there are these secrets that no one is telling you. You have a great resume, you paid for a better cover letter, you apply for jobs like a crazy person – yet you still can’t find the job that you really want. What’s up with that? What are the secrets of finding a job you love?
The truth is that there are no secrets.
But there are a few tips that are so ridiculously simple that job coaches and career specialists don’t think they need to say them.
So, I’ll say them instead. Here are 10 simple job hunting tips that are so simple no one thinks they need to say it.
#1 Be consistent
Yes, this means it will take time and effort and more time. Most people don’t find their dream job the first week that they start applying for jobs. I’d say the percent of people that do are less than 1%. When you’re looking for the right job – not just any job because most people could find just any job – you need to be consistent about it. You need to keep applying for jobs. You need to do your research. You need to network. You need to keep your eyes open and your ears listening because that perfect job could be there in the next person you meet or the next business you walk into. If you’re not paying attention though, you could completely miss the opportunity.
You have to believe that you are worthy of that dream job. If you don’t think you can handle it or if you don’t think you have the skills, that shows in your face, the way you hold yourself, the way you talk. You need to believe that THEY need you and that YOU are the only person that could possibly give that company what they deserve and what they need.
How do you get that confidence if you don’t already have it? Practice. Whatever your skills are – if you went to school to get them or you learned them yourself – practice them as often as you can. That might mean volunteering in order to stay on top of your game. It might mean taking online course. But practice those skills until you can do them with your eyes closed.
Wait – how do you get experience if you can’t get a job? Well, you might not be able to get the job you trained for or the job that is your dream job but you can likely get something related, even if it pays less than what you’d like. The thing is that working – no matter what kind of work you do – is invaluable. You get experience in working for an employer. You get connections that might be useful in the future. You learn different skills. You show that you’re motivated to do something. Work experience matters and it shows employers that you’re willing to put in time doing work in order to get what you want. So, if you have to take a job that is below your expectations, do it. Keep looking for that dream job – while you’re working.
#4 It’s Who You Know
Yup – sometimes it really is who you know, not what you know. Well, what you know is important of course, but a lot of the time, it is people you know that help you get a job. And you know what this means right?
Networking – you might not like it but it has to be done. You need to talk to people about what you want to do, what you are doing, your dreams, your vision. Sometimes this can be a casual thing – talking to people at parties, dinners, at coffee shops, etc. – but you’re going to have to do a bit of this on a formal level, too. That can mean joining an industry organization, going to seminars and workshops, or going to job fairs.
You never know who might be able to get your resume in front of the right people so don’t be afraid to put it out there.
#5 Social Media Matters
Wait – aren’t we talking about job hunting? Yep. We are. But bear with me…
Let’s say you’re looking for a job. And one of the places you’ve applied at is about to call you for an interview – or better yet, they are going to hire you. Then that post about your shitty day job and the boss that you think is being unfair shows up on this employer’s news feed because you forgot to make that post friends only or the post is set to friends of friends can see it and your old high school friend commented on it and that high school friend went to college with this employer that was going to call you – and that made the post show up on your potentially new employer’s news feed. And now the new employer is curious about what else you post so he clicks on your name. There’s not much to see but there’s some pictures that friends tagged you in from that party where you got all wasted and drew phallic symbols on your friends face and there are a couple things that raise red flags.
And now he’s changed his mind and doesn’t want you working for his company.
All because you posted something dumb on social media.
So just remember that social media really does matter.
“The clothes make the man.” (or woman) Who said that? I don’t know. It doesn’t matter.
The point is that people WILL judge you on first appearances. You don’t need to be dressed in name brand clothing. You don’t have to have $500 shoes. But you do have to make sure that your clothes are clean, neat, and not wrinkled. You do need to make sure that your clothes fit. If they are too big you look like you’re wearing someone’s hand-me-downs. If their too tight you look like you’re too cheap to buy something that fits. If you’re shoes are scuffed you look like you don’t care enough about the job to put on a decent pair of shoes.
So, make sure you have some interview clothes that make you look put together and professional. Borrow money and buy new ones if you need to. Keep them ironed, clean, and ready to go at a moment’s notice.
And dress for the job you want. Not just the job you’re interviewing for.
Put down your phone. Better yet, turn it off. If you’re going to talk to someone, going on an interview, at a networking event or a job fair, you don’t need to use your phone. Just pretend you don’t even have one.
Walking around and glancing at your phone every 5 minutes, taking selfies, keeping ear buds in your ears – these things don’t make you look like a professional. They make you look like a teenager that can’t pay attention to what is going on around them.
Just put your phone away, turn off the sound, and try to focus on what is going on and who is is front of you at the time.
There are lots of companies that hire almost anyone. But you’re not looking for that kind of job are you? Maybe you are. If you are, you likely aren’t reading this. If you are looking for a serious job with a serious company you can’t go to an interview looking like you were at the latest grunge concert (or whatever it is they call that kind of music now).
Take out any facial piercings (besides ears)
Don’t show off the tattoos
Don’t get high before your interview or smoke a cigarette even (I’m telling you they will smell it!)
Shave your face if you’re a guy
If you’re a girl, wear a bit of makeup but go easy
Sorry, but this is true. As modern as our world is becoming, this stuff still matter in a lot of work places. Unless you’re interviewing for a job at Google or Starbucks, you likely need to succumb to the old professional standards.
#9 You Talk to Much
Seriously, shut up and listen for a minute! No, really, shush!
If you always have something to say, always have something to add, always have a better story – you need to learn to stop talking. No one likes that.
Besides the fact that listening is a skill that employers need to know you have, you’re missing out on a lot. You’re not getting to know people. You’re not finding out who really has the power to promote you. You’re not finding out about the job opening that is coming up. Why? Because you won’t shut up!
#10 You Look Miserable
No one wants to work with that person that looks like they have been sucking on lemons.
No matter how rough your job search experience has been, walk into a job interview with the attitude that this could be your big break. Smile. Look people in the eye. Listen when they talk. Sound excited about the job opportunity that is before you – even if it isn’t your dream job.
And this applies to your every day life, too. Be a person that has a good attitude and people will want to recommend to their uncle, their employer, their neighbor that they give you a chance. If you’re the type of person that focuses on the negative and complains about everything, people won’t suggest to someone that is hiring that you should get the job.
People like positive people. People want to be around positive people.
So start looking like life is worth living.
Better yet, believe that life is worth living.
Sometimes there just doesn’t seem like a good reason for not finding a job yet. Sometimes the dream job takes years to find. If you’re not getting the job offers though, the truth is that it is likely one of these really simple things that is preventing it. It’s not always something obvious.
Look at the little things.
Work on yourself and your attitude.
Be a good person.
Such simple things right? They shouldn’t need to be said. But sometimes they do.
Danielle is a freelance writer, blogger, and social media junkie. She lives in a small town in central Manitoba, Canada where she spends too much time in front of the computer drinking coffee. She has a husband (who is very supportive), two teenagers, a granddaughter and 3 cats.