We’ve all been there before, and if you’re reading this, chances are you’re there now. By ‘there,’ we mean the dreaded JOB HUNT. Job hunting can be so stressful, in fact, that people often find themselves stuck in dead-end jobs just to avoid it!
But guess what? The process of looking for a new job doesn’t have to be so painstaking! In my 6+ years as a Corporate Recruiter, I’ve picked up enough tricks of the trade to know what it takes to have a more productive and positive job hunt. When I saw how many people were leading unhappy lives because they lacked the confidence or know-how to find better opportunities, I knew I had to do something.
One of the hardest lessons I’ve ever had to learn was that looking for a full-time job is a full-time job. If you are going to spend hours and hours of your valuable time looking for a job, we at Optimized Career Solutions want you to be looking for the right job.
That’s why I’m here today to spill my secrets and share the top 3 goals you should set RIGHT NOW to help you land a new job:
1) Decide What You Really Want
The first and most important goal you need to set to land a new job is the toughest: Decide what you really want. You cannot skip this goal—no shortcuts! If you don’t know what you want, how will you know what to look for? It’s simple: you won’t, and that’s part of what makes the job hunt so stressful.
Narrowing down what you really want can be confusing and intimidating, but it doesn’t have to turn into an existential crisis. If you’re having trouble, try my three-step exercise below to help determine the right job for you.
A) Determine where you are in the job hunt. What is motivating you to begin the job searching process? Ask yourself:
- Are you looking to escape a job you hate?
- Are you looking for your dream client? What does your dream client look like?
- Are you trying to take your career to the next level? What does the next level look like to you?
B) Determine any non-negotiables. What would make you tell a recruiter, “Thanks, but no thanks?” Identify the absolute minimum requirements for your next job by asking yourself:
- Do you have a minimum salary requirement?
- Are there any benefits, including PTO, that you can’t live without?
- Do you need to work from home?
- Do you need to have your own office or do you prefer an open-floor concept?
- Do you need a clear path for growth?
C) Determine if are qualified for the job you really want.
- Do you meet the minimum requirements?
- What can you do to become qualified?
- How long will it take?
- Will you fit in with the company culture?
- What are the company’s mission and values?
- Do you align with what they stand for?
It is okay if you need to go through this exercise a few times. I often advise people to print out a few copies of the questionnaire and try out several drafts. By doing so, you will walk away with a clear answer to the question, ‘What do I really want?’ and feel more empowered to go out and find it.
2) Create a Strategy
The second goal you should set to land a new job is to create a strategy. Yogi Berra said wisely: “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.”
By knowing what you want and building a map to get there, you will be more focused and can get ahead of job search fatigue.
Your strategy should include the following:
- Research companies and positions
- Network by connecting with people in your field or niche
- Evaluate and optimize your ‘marketing’ materials:
- Cover Letter
- LinkedIn Profile
- A schedule to follow-up on jobs you’ve applied for and the connections you’ve made
One of our many mottos here at Optimized Career Solutions is, Do not reinvent the wheel every time you apply for a job! By making sure you have a strategy, you create for yourself a standard operating procedure. This will eliminate unnecessary stress by eliminating unnecessary decisions.
3) Make a Plan to Stay Positive & Motivated
Let’s be realistic. Even when you know what you want and have a strategy to get there, you may still experience a few defeating days during your job hunt. Maybe you were ghosted by your dream job, or maybe you were rejected twice in one day. Whatever the cause, make a plan NOW for when those days inevitably happen.
Be sure you are scheduling regular breaks throughout the day. There is no rule that says you have to sit and apply all day long to deserve of a new job. That negative mindset will always create job search fatigue. Start by telling yourself you deserve a new job AND a break!
Go outside and breathe in the fresh air. Do some stretches or exercises to activate other muscles that aren’t just your typing muscles. Keep a journal. Record factual, truthful statements about who you are and what you deserve. The purpose of this journal should be to motivate you and keep you in a positive mindset. Negativity does not belong!
If you’re not sure what to write about, here are some prompts:
- Daily affirmations – Choose a positive, action-oriented statement for each day. Repeat the affirmation several times throughout the day. Here are some suggestions to get you started:
- I am qualified for my dream job.
- I allow myself to feel the emotions associated with my situation.
- I am headed in the right direction.
- Gratitude – What are you grateful for? Consider your personal life and your career experiences.
- Do you have more time to spend with your kids?
- Are you able to prepare healthy meals at home with your extra time?
- What experiences have you had in your life that have allowed you to develop your skills and qualifications?
The boldest method of self-care? Take a day off from sending in applications and fine-tuning your resume. Allow your mind to focus on something else for 24 hours.
By this point, you should know what you really want, have a strategy to help you get there, and have a plan to keep yourself positive and motivated. In other words, you are ready to take the next step and optimize your career.
If at any point during this process you find yourself struggling, stop wasting time and hire a professional. Even if you’re not sure if career coaching is for you, we offer a free 30-minute consultation.
We are ready to help you create a killer resume and optimize your LinkedIn profile. We also make really great cheerleaders! Whatever it is you need to land your dream job, Optimized Career Solutions is here for you.