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Many of us are familiar with the hardships involved in being an unemployed job seeker (take a look at I Lost My Job, Now What). Not only is it frustrating and depressing when you can’t find a job, but the feelings become magnified as the length of time unemployed increases and the financial stress takes its toll.
Rather than be depressed over the challenges and pressures of looking for a new job, job seekers should focus on accomplishments along the way. Following are eight tips on how to fast-track your job search by becoming a smarter, more focused job seeker and be better equipped for the future job market.
Review Your Finances and Make a Budget
If you are unemployed, the first thing you need to do is review your finances and make a budget.
- Immediately review your finances to see where you can curb costs and expenses.
- Make an “unemployed” budget.
- apply for unemployment. Although it is not much, it is more than zero.
- If you need to travel for job interviews, try to schedule several events on the same day.
Reevaluate Your Skills and Experience
- Understand your strengths and weaknesses.
- There are a few things you can do, such as Aptitude Tests, Career Tests, IQ Tests, Inventory, and Personality Tests.
- Take a look at What do You Want to be When You Grow Up? Job Search Made Easy
- Take a Free Career Test – The word “free” always gets my attention.
Set Realistic and Achievable Goals
- Make your time count when it comes to finding the right job. Make a specific checklist of the things you want to achieve each day to make sure your job search is productive.
- Set goals such as “I need to make at least five calls today” or “I’m going to reach out / network with four people today.”
- Make your list of companies where you would like to work. Once you have this list, do some research to find competitors and add those companies to your list as well.
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Your Job search is Your Full-Time Job
When you are out of work, finding the right job requires the same commitment as one would commit to a full-time job.
- Set a “work schedule” of at least 9am to 5pm 5 days per week.
- Create your daily “to-do” list (see above) for the next day as the last task of the day.
- Spend part of each day focusing on one key item (networking, job applications, research, recruiters, etc.).
Build and Leverage Your Network
- Make a list of your existing network. This includes every friend, relative, former coworker, current coworker, college or high school acquaintance, your neighbors, your mailman, and the checkout person at the supermarket. All of these individuals are part of your existing network.
- Extend your network by adding people who work or worked at companies where you worked, people who work or worked at companies where you would like to work. Recruiters who cover your industry.
- Attend networking events. These are a great place to build you network. There is a wide range of events, including alumni events and trade group events.
Improve Your Skills (and Learn New Skills)
- Review your existing skills (from above) and make a plan to improve skills that are weak. There are many online courses you can take.
- Improving your reading, writing, and math skills will add confidence and make you a better candidate.
- Improve your computer skills, including applications that are important for your industry.
- If you are currently unemployed, dedicate time during your job search to acquire new skills.
- If needed, hire a professional resume writer who can help with your resume and help you build your job search Marketing Toolkit (see CareerAlley Resources)
- I’m not a fan of “paid” job search professionals (people who you pay to help you find a job), so “buyer beware” on these individuals.
- Recruiters (they get paid by the hiring company) are professionals who can help ensure you have everything you need to succeed in your interviews.
Understand and leverage social media.
- Facebook can be leveraged for your job search. That being said, be careful what is on your Facebook account that may ruin your chances with potential employers.
- Google yourself often. Create a Google alert with your name. Be the first to know if there is anything negative about you on the Internet.
- LinkedIn – Need I say more? Take a look at Creating Your Network on LinkedIn