Improve Your Job Search with Four Simple Changes
Unemployment runs rampant as the effects of COVID-19 continue to affect the professional world, and the job hunt has suddenly become packed. How do you set yourself apart from the crowd and improve your job search? How do you find a job that is perfect for your skillset and sustainable in the long run?
if you are unemployed or underemployed, a sense of panic at this moment is understandable. So are the natural reactions of jumping towards the next available opportunity or casting a wide net by sending out an email blast to your entire contact list hoping for a “hit.” However, those instincts may work against you.
I spent some time with Kris McGuigan, a career strategist and certified coach, who shares with us four ways to improve your job search amidst the fear and seeming lack of opportunities in the post-pandemic market.
What value do you bring to the table, and where?
That’s what Kris McGuigan needs you to answer before you even begin your job search. People will often apply to jobs that they aren’t appropriately matched for due to fear of unemployment. This approach, unfortunately, leads to a lack of focus around one’s career management plan. Knowing your unique value will focus your job search towards opportunities you are best suited for and build a sustainable career.
“Whatever the case is; however you can quickly articulate ‘This is my why buy and ROI; this is why you should bring me on your staff’ and then make sure that you are building your brand, both verbal and written around that ROI. [Then] there’s a clear focus for you about the kind of opportunities you’re going to go after and a very clear value proposition that those hiring agents and potential employers can hold onto when they’re looking at you as a candidate.”
A strong online presence
Activity and presence are two different things. Being online and scrolling, for certain, is activity, but that does not give you a strong presence. Kris explains that a strong online presence is demonstrated through your profile and a strong presence can be reflected in Good online presence doesn’t just mean scrolling through Facebook for most of your day. Kris explains that having a robust online profile entails more strategic and meaningful communication.
One is making sure you’re on the right platform for your job search. Is networking on Facebook good, or are your industry leaders more on LinkedIn? If you are on the right platform, utilize it. Make sure your profile on this platform accurately conveys your brand and story.
“People will tell me, “I don’t have time, or I’m not into that,” but it doesn’t stop them from being on Facebook four hours a day, right? We all fall into that endless vacuum of time-suck. Instead, go onto LinkedIn. Be active and start by just dipping your toe in the water with a like or comment here and there.”
Create real relationships
Networking is key in your job search, but there is a difference between authentically networking and spamming. Kris talks about how forming real-world, human connections is what will push the job search forward. After all, employers need to hire real people and not bots that copy and paste messages.
“People have this determination about their job search that they think, ‘Well, if I just keep emailing people, sooner or later I’ll breakthrough.’ That’s not the kind of connection I want to make with someone. So, I think making real personal connections with people is also about giving credence to the level of relationship you currently have. You have to think about your relationship’s nature in the real world before assuming that you can leverage it in the professional space.”
You might have all the tools in the shed, but do you get to use them? Kris says that the biggest thing that’ll stop you in your job search is failing to take action. An easy way to take action is to increase your visibility by being active in your social networks and by focusing on your top objective.
“What is your top objective right now? Is it to secure a position in a field you want to stay in? Is it to start making money next week? Because those are two different goals. So get really clear about what that immediate goal for you might be, and then what’s the plan of action? It’s one thing to have a goal. It’s an entirely different thing to have a system that’s going to get you to that goal.”
In summary: To improve your job search
To improve your job search, begin with focus. This starts with you – what is your value? As an employee, your unique value should be optimized for the job hunt through a strong online presence. Networking is important, but even more, so is creating real human relationships. Only then will you be able to leverage this relationship in the professional world. And most importantly, take action. The only time all these insights become truly effective is when you put yourself out there and take steps forward.