I’m not writing to advise you of the six guaranteed ways to find work in less than three weeks. People who make a promise like this are raising your hopes and making a mockery of the career development field.
However, I will tell you how to make your job search shorter. By how much? That’s up to you – and some timing.
I work at an urban career center, where I’ve helped hundreds of job seekers who’ve struggled with their job searches find rewarding careers. Some of them have struggled less than others, however. Why? Because they followed some very simple procedures, are tenacious, and maintain hope.
1. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask …
The first thing the successful job seeker realizes is that they must solicit help from others. As adults, we have this silly notion that we shouldn’t rely on others when we need help. Psychologists assert that when people help others, it gives them a sense of power and makes them happier.
Asking for help doesn’t mean you approach people whom you think have connections and bluntly ask them if they know of any available jobs. This puts them on the spot, makes them feel uncomfortable, and will probably make them unwilling to help.
2. … But Help Yourself First
Before you seek the help of others, you need to keep the following in mind: You won’t be successful in gaining their help if you’re not willing to help yourself. To help yourself means demonstrating confidence and an upbeat attitude.
This will take emotional intelligence, which means you possess the “ability to manage emotions, including the ability to regulate your own emotions, and the ability to cheer up or calm down another person.”
I’ll be the first to tell you that putting on a front is hard to do. I’ve also been out of work. I know that you may feel despondent or even depressed, but you can’t come across this way. It’s human nature to back people who are positive, not negative.
3. Help Others as Well
As Edythe Richards, a certified emotional intelligence practitioner, explains in one of her posts: “Empathy is your ability and willingness to take notice of and be sensitive toward the needs and feelings of others … Job seekers with frequently engaged empathy are attuned to others, easily take others’ feelings into consideration, and have an accurate ‘emotional read’ on people.”
Also known as “paying it forward,” helping others before expecting help will create good karma. What goes around comes around, meaning you will get the help you need from another person. Just don’t expect reciprocity from the people you help, as they may not be able to offer you the same type of help.
4. Show Value
Of course, your resume and LinkedIn profile need to be powerful. These documents should showcase your value through your relevant accomplishments. Remember, it’s not accomplishments you think employers want to see; it’s accomplishments that match the requirements you see in job posts that matter.
But a great resume and LinkedIn profile are not enough. You’ll need to connect with quality people and engage them in conversations that include your employment status. I warn against mentioning your situation in your first message. Develop relationships with your new connections first.
5. Connect With Others
Your marketing campaign will also involve employing your verbal communication skills, such as connecting with others, telephone correspondences, and the interview itself.
You notice I don’t use the word “networking.” That’s because when job seekers hear that word,they picture large groups gathered in churches or libraries. Get “networking” out of your vocabulary. Connecting can happen in other ways.
An effective way to connect with others is by engaging your former colleagues, people in your community – essentially, everyone. Your superficial connections – those you meet once or twice – may even come through for you. Again, you must come across as confident – as someone that people will want to help.
6. Prepare, Prepare, Prepare
Conduct your diligent research before attending an interview. By researching the position, company, and even the competition, you will be better prepared. And being prepared will give you more confidence.
I tell my job seekers that reading literature online isn’t enough. If they know someone who works at the company where they want to work, they should use said person for inside information. Find out the smaller details of the position and company, such as responsibilities that weren’t mentioned and facts about the culture.
The conclusion of your job search is the follow-up note you send employers thanking them for their time and mentioning interesting points made during the interview. Employers take note of those who don’t send thank-you notes. Don’t let them down.
Oh, and don’t send form notes; make each one unique for everyone who interviewed you.
As I said earlier, don’t fall for posts that claim to help you land a job in a certain number of days or weeks. Everyone is different. For some it may take longer than others. I do guarantee, however, that the harder and smarter you look, the shorter you search will be.