“I love job hunting!”
Now that’s a phrase you don’t hear very often. Just like house-hunting, job-seeking is up there with most people’s least favourite things to do — although at least you get a peek at your potential boss’ house with the latter! Or is it just me who finds that fun?
When you’re in a job you hate, the Sunday Scaries hit you every week like clockwork. Your stomach sinks, and you start to dread the working week before your weekend is even over.
And if you’re on the job search, waiting around for a recruiter’s call or constantly checking your email for responses to your job applications only adds to the anxiety.
It can all feel like one big waiting game.
But who has time for that? Let’s take back control of the process and turn this into a true HUNT instead!
The current job climate
With unemployment figures at an all-time high, the fight over roles is fiercer than ever. The economy may have stopped, but the bills still need to be paid and career ambition isn’t going anywhere. So, people are more motivated to land the job — and they’ll do anything.
Competition is on the rise, too. Pre-pandemic, job advertisements were attracting an average of 240 applicants — and when we’re over this hump, those numbers are likely to double.
Of that group of applicants, 4 to 6 will get called up for an interview, and only 1 will get the job.
But that’s not all. With applications pouring in, the last thing any hiring manager or recruiter wants to do is advertise a role (if they can help it). To save themselves hours sifting through resumes, they’d rather look for potential candidates internally or use LinkedIn to narrow down their search.
The big question is: Where does this leave you if you’re job-hunting?
You’re in control of your career
Let’s cut to the chase. You’re in charge of getting the job and career you want. Not that recruiter you met with once. Not your friend who says they’ll put you in touch with someone at their firm. Not anyone else. YOU.
If you’re limiting your search to job boards, you’ll probably be waiting a long time to find the right job. And if you’re relying on a recruiter’s database to do the “seeking” for you, that wait might stretch even longer.
Remember, hiring managers aren’t advertising their roles as much. It’s too much work for them, and it’s not the most time-effective method.
So, you need to flip this agonisingly slow process on its head — and go hunting!
How to job hunt with purpose
For a successful outcome, here are my top tips for job hunting — and all of these tips apply to the current climate we’re living in.
Develop a hit list
Create a list of the top 5–10 companies you want to work for, and start thinking about why you want to work for them. Because you can bet that’s one of the first questions they’ll ask you!
Identify your target person
Research the most relevant people in these companies — starting with your potential peers or decision-makers.
Head to LinkedIn or the website’s “team” page, and find out who’s in the role you eventually want to land. Then, drop them a line, introduce yourself and throw a bit of flattery their way to get them talking.
By the way, you don’t want to immediately ask for a job when you connect! And you don’t want to pitch them. Ideally, aim to start a conversation by asking a question — this gives the person the opportunity to reply to you.
Keep your messages warm and friendly. Again, think of these interactions as conversations you’d have at a networking event, when you’re chatting one-on-one with another person.
Check out my Connect With Confidence Cheat Sheet for more tips!
Get in position
Before you go out “hunting,” you need to make sure you’re presenting the best possible image:
- Polish your LinkedIn profile. Hiring managers will scrutinise your LinkedIn profile, so make sure it’s up-to-date and reflects your experience and personality.
- Start with your headline (the line under your name). This is the main search function, so include your job title — don’t just write “seeking employment.”
- Then, fill in your “About” section. This needs to captivate the reader and encourage them to keep reading. Just like your resume, you get around 6 seconds to make an impression so pack a punch! Think of your bio as your intro — so be yourself and introduce yourself in the same way you would at an in-person networking event. Add some personality and please don’t write in the third person!.
- For a complete guide, check out my Perfect Your Profile Cheat Sheet.
- Update your resume. Include your most recent role and responsibilities, and delete any irrelevant information. In most countries, the ideal resume is one page long.
- Review your references. If you land an interview, the recruiter will most likely call your references beforehand. Double-check your list of references, and ensure they’re tailored to the job you’re applying for. Remember to ask your references if it’s okay to use them, and give them a heads up when they may be getting a call.
- Add recommendations to your LinkedIn profile. The beauty of LinkedIn is that you can showcase your references using the “Recommendations” section. This offers social proof and backs up what you’re saying about yourself in your bio. Reach out and ask some colleagues and clients to recommend you for the work you’ve done.
Plan your attack
Practice your pitch until it’s perfect. That way, you’ll be ready to open up the conversation about who you are and what you do.
Your pitch needs to be more than your job title and the duties you perform. Speak about your skills and how you use these to perform your role effectively. Make sure your pitch includes the value you bring to your job as well as the problems you solve.
If you’re called for an interview, this isn’t the time for modesty. You need to be able to confidently explain how you stand out from the other candidates. You have to sell yourself!
Sure, your references may confirm what you say, but the self-promotion is all you.
Cast the net!
Now it’s time to start networking! When you’re on the job hunt, it’s crucial that you extend your contact base.
Along with chatting to your existing contacts, start connecting with new people on LinkedIn — and you can learn how to do that with my Connect with Confidence Cheat Sheet I mentioned above.
Reel them in
Once you’ve put out feelers, don’t forget to reel them in. You need to follow up but don’t pester.
People are busy, so give them 5–7 days before following up and ask nicely if they’ve had a chance to view your email.
Keep your finger on the pulse
Show how passionate you are about your chosen industry. Perhaps mention interesting articles you’ve read, or network events you went to where there was a great speaker.
This is another way to follow up and can really help you to stand out in a sea of candidates. It adds value to the conversation and shows how involved you are in the industry, which is a trait employers want to see.
Job boards can be a long shot but it’s worth signing up to relevant daily alerts. Narrow down your search criteria according to your target industry and role.
Now that a lot of companies let you apply straight from LinkedIn, the platform’s job search and alert function are great places to start with. That way, you can save time and show off your new profile all in one go.
On that note, don’t fire your resume out to absolutely everyone. Be selective. If you know big corporate companies aren’t your thing, don’t apply for them.
Future-proof your career
If you’d like to know more about how you can identify the role of your dreams and hunt it down, sign up for my online course, the LinkedIn Launchpad.
In this course, I teach all not only how to create a standout profile on LinkedIn, but how to really leverage it to land your next role and future-proof your career.
And of course, if you have any questions, head over to my Facebook group and join your fellow job-hunters!