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How to stay motivated when your job hunt is taking a while

13 October 2020 by Lauren Pierce and Georgia Bate
Nordwood Themes K Rn Zi G Ktz48 Unsplash (1)

Looking for a new job can be painful. When you have no objective sense of why you’re not getting to where you want to be, it’s easy to lose confidence, motivation and momentum. But just when you feel like giving up, you have to stick with it because you can't live without a job! Skillfinder recruitment consultants Lauren Pierce and Georgia Bate have some advice for you if you’re frustrated with a long-winded job hunt.

Think about your long-term direction and goals

Georgia: When you’re at the point of looking for a job, it can all seem a bit immediate and urgent. It’s always a good time to take a step back and think about whether your job hunt is in tune with the direction you want to take your career (and your life) in. Are you working towards the job you really want? Have you even taken the time to consider where you want to be in five years? Working out where you want to be eventually can help you refocus your job hunt now and make sure you’re applying for the right kind of roles. Thinking like this will even help your performance in interviews.

Keep a journal or log of your job hunt

Lauren: Make a simple record of all the applications you have made and the feedback you have received. It’s easy to get lost in the process and one application can easily blur into another when it’s all in your head. When you have it written in front of you it doesn't seem as dire as you might initially think. Remember to keep this up to date.

Don’t rule out jobs that you’re not a perfect match for

Georgia: If you have the majority ofthe experience they are looking for, minus one or two points, you should still apply. For example, if you only have four years’ experience rather than the specified six years. Other skills and aspects of your experience could make up for the two years difference, like a certain technical qualification. If a job advert specifies a degree, your relevant experience may outweigh the fact that you don’t have a degree.

Rewrite your CV from scratch

Lauren: The way people traditionally update CVs can clutter them up, so take some time to declutter your CV.  When you declutter a wardrobe, the best way to do it is to take everything out first then carefully put back the stuff you definitely need to be there.  The same goes for your CV. Instead of editing and topping up your go-to CV file, create a new document and write a CV that reflects you as a professional today. You will find that you’ve cleared out some of the stuff you were hanging on to because you agonised over writing it five years ago, even though it didn’t sound right. This process can refocus your search and motivate you, especially if you are in a slump.

Go back to recruiters you’ve already spoken to

​​Georgia: Don’t assume that just because a recruiter didn’t have something relevant when you spoke two months ago, that they won’t have something for you now. Give them a nudge to tell them you are still looking. Also, don’t assume that if you don’t see a job on a recruiter’s site, they don’t have anything relevant for you. We’re always talking to clients and sometimes working on briefs that we won’t necessarily advertise in public. You may be the perfect candidate for one of these roles, you just need to remind recruiters that you’re on the market.

Get free professional help with your CV

Lauren: Recruitment consultants deal with thousands of candidates and their CVs every year. One of the things we do is help candidates improve their CVs because it helps the candidate, the recruiter and the employer! Ask a recruiter for feedback on your CV and they’ll give you advice based on what they see working or not working in the current market. ​​

Work out what makes you stand out

Georgia: It's time for an exercise in personal branding. Understanding what makes you stand out to an employer will really help you in your search. Look at your CV to see if there is anything that makes you stand out from the rest, if not, it's time to find something to add. Start by creating a 30-60 second "elevator pitch" that sums up your skills and work experience. Think about the value you can bring to a company, rather than just using this pitch to explain what you do for a living. Marketers talk about a 'Unique Selling Proposition' - a list of points that make something unique. Work out what yours are as an employee.​​

Do a bit of networking

Lauren: It's time to reconnect with old contacts and let people know you're looking for a job. Set up some Zoom coffee meetings and prepare specific questions for the person to help you with. It's a great time to ask for constructive criticism from people you trust - stick with the supportive ones, not the old boss you used to hate.

Write and publish blogs to build your profile

Georgia: If you’ve got a LinkedIn profile, you’ve got a blog, so get writing! There’s no better way to prove your expertise than demonstrate it, but talking about it openly is the next best thing. Discussing current issues related to your industry, your current job and the job you want are likely to help you attract the attention of the right people. Seeing your thoughtful articles online will definitely play a part in a potential employer’s decision when they’re researching you.  ​​

Diversify your skills

Lauren: Take some time out of the job search to develop the skills that will help you get the job you want. Look into some courses related to the job - you can easily update your CV with new skills and training in a matter of weeks. Make sure you’reconsideringsoft skills, not just technical abilities as these are often what set candidates apart.

Review and update your social profiles

Georgia: Have you kept your LinkedIn profile up to date? There’s a lot more you can do besides listing your jobs and skills. Have a look at LinkedIn’s profile strength meter for some suggestions. A lot of people often have the bare minimum when it comes to profile information, but LinkedIn lets you add all sorts of sections. Have you included courses you’ve taken? Languages? Got (and given) some recommendations?

While you’re updating your profile, take a look at what your social media feeds say about you to strangers. Potential employers will look you up on social media early in the process, so make sure they're not seeing anything sketchy. Start by Googling yourself, because that's what they'regoingto do!

Speak to your recruiter about how you feel

Lauren: If you’re frustrated or demotivated by the process, speak openly with your consultant about how you are feeling, they are there to help you, not just their clients. Consultants can give you a realistic timeline because they know the ins and outs of the process in your sector and what the market’s really like at the moment.

Take time off

Georgia: Whether you’re already employed or not, looking for a new job is a job in itself, so you need breaks to keep you motivated and sane Don’t feel guilty if you’re not spending all your waking hours working towards getting a new job. Instead, schedule productive job seeking activities and times then take time off. 

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