Tips for a Successful Job Search

Successful job search requires hard work and persistence. In this endeavour, some of you will land a job right away and some will go through a longer struggle. Ever wondered if it’s only “luck” that makes the difference! The truth is that luck rarely has anything to do with it.

The key to success is laying out an effective strategy focused towards your career goals. In this post, we have listed a few tips that might help you in planning a successful job search campaign.

1. Have a positive frame of mind

The hardest part of being unemployed is to keep a positive mind-set, especially when the job hunt extends from a few weeks to a few months. Although this is easier said than done, it’s crucial that you maintain an optimistic outlook to ensure your emotional well-being and to provide a positive impression to potential employers. Here are some tips:

  • Surround yourself with positive, up-beat people to stay motivated and the feelings of rejection will slowly faint away.
  • Believe in yourself and have confidence in the knowledge and skills you have learnt at school and/ or at previous jobs.
  • Try to do things you enjoy doing, but never had time while you were working – watch movies, take on household chores, spend time with friends and family.

2. Strategic Planning

Strategic planning is essential for a successful job search and therefore it’s important that you list the critical tasks, activities and make sure you complete them within a reasonable time frame.  If required, then take advice from a professional career counsellor to get “your ducks in a row.” Here are some examples of typical activities:

  • Complete your job search tools – resume, cover letter, reference list and a sales pitch (name, background and what you are looking for).
  • Create a list of 20-25 potential employers in your industry
  • Find out who makes hiring decisions, call them, and give them your sales pitch
  • Follow up with a customized cover letter and copy of your resume
  • Research about the company and review job description before going for an interview
  • After the interview, send a thank you note to express your interest in the position and thank the interviewer for their time.

3. An interview is not a friendly chat, take it seriously

Nonverbal communication or body language is extremely important during an interview session. The gestures we make, sitting posture, facial expressions, eye contact are all forms of nonverbal communication. Many interviews fail due to lack of proper nonverbal signals, which often speak the loudest. Few things to consider:

  • Have proper eye contact since the visual sense is dominant among most people. Don’t just assume you have good eye contact – ask, watch and then practice.
  • Maintain cheerful facial expression – Look at yourself in the mirror and eliminate any negative characteristics that might exist.
  • Body posture – When you are seated, sit towards the front of the chair leaning slightly forward. Don’t slouch backwards when you are seated – it usually shows a casual, careless attitude.
  • Limit your gestures – Gestures are part of our daily life as we move our hands, wave and beckon while arguing on a subject or in an informal chat. The meaning of gestures can be different across cultures and regions. When using gestures, make sure they are natural and meaningful to avoid misinterpretation.
  • Keep appropriate physical space – We all have a need for physical space (PS) and feel uncomfortable if someone were to invade it. Avoid standing too close to someone who may possess larger PS than yourself and be prepared to keep your ground and stand firm if someone with smaller PS were to intimidate you.

4. Networking is instrumental in getting to the right place at the right time

Career experts estimate that a large number of job opportunities are never publicly advertised and are filled through word-of-mouth or networking. Here are few areas to consider:

  • Develop a list of contacts through friends, family, neighbours and co-workers.
  • Talk to industry professionals in conferences and trade shows and make acquaintances.
  • Join professional organizations, sign up for job search newsletters, e-mail blasts, social networking sites like LinkedIn, Twitter and participate in Internet discussion boards.
  • Conduct informational interviews to obtain information about an occupation/ industry

5. Learn from your experiences, at least don’t make the same mistakes

Try to learn from your experiences and fine tune your approach wherever you find any misalignment with your career goals.

  • If you find any gaps in knowledge, skills or experience, try to fill them proactively by either taking appropriate training course and/ or volunteering to gain some hands on experience.
  • It is possible that your resume does not highlight your strengths, knowledge and skills – make updates as necessary.
  • Look for a mentor in your industry or join a job mentoring program to learn more about your preferred job requirements and gauge your adaptability for the same.
  • If you have a communication barrier, join a suitable ESL course in your area, toastmasters, etc so gain confidence and command in the language.

We wish you all the best in your job search.