6 Tips for Resuscitating a Lifeless Job Hunt

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A job hunt that seems to be going nowhere can be as frustrating as being stuck in a position you hate. Submitting application after application may start to feel like a waste of time when you’re not getting calls back. 

Still, don’t let frustration derail your job hunt! The situation is never hopeless, and there’s always something you can do to improve your chances of landing a great job. For starters, we have six tips that will help you revive your job search. If you’d like to give yourself even more of a competitive edge, consider using our resume writing service

1. Focus your efforts

A common strategy employed by job seekers is applying for any position, no matter how tenuous its connection to their interests or qualifications. 

At first glance, it may seem that this would maximize your chances of finding a job—after all, it doesn’t take much effort to submit a generic resume through a job listing site. However, if you were a hiring manager, would you really hire yourself? The lack of effort in these “just in case” applications is usually immediately apparent to the person reviewing them (if your resume ever gets past the automated computer system designed to filter out unsuitable candidates). Your chances of being invited for an interview with this kind of application are slim to none. 

The more fundamental problem with this strategy is of a psychological rather than a statistical nature: Applying for a lot of jobs and not getting any interviews can make you feel as though you’re spinning your wheels. 

The math is simple: One application with a 50% chance of an interview gives you a far better shot at a new job than 50 applications with a 1% chance of an interview. Each individual application only has a 1% chance, and that doesn’t change if you just submit more of them. Subconsciously, though, you treat them equally, and getting 50 rejections is far more painful than getting one. Over time, this will erode your confidence and kill your motivation to continue.

A better approach is to narrow the scope of jobs you’re willing to apply for. Make a commitment to only submit your resume for openings that match your skills and interests. It may seem as though you’re limiting your options, but focusing on positions that are a good fit is much more likely to yield results. Besides, do you really want all those jobs that you can barely justify a connection to? A job like that will only prompt you to embark on a new search to escape your poor choice.

Not only will you avoid wasting time and energy applying for jobs you’ll never get, but you will end up with a better sense of how to tailor your resume and LinkedIn profile. By focusing solely on jobs you’re qualified for, you’ll learn what employers in your target industry are looking for. Once you’ve gotten to this point, consider incorporating a summary statement (a brief overview of your abilities and motivations) at the top of your resume. This is the first thing the person reviewing your resume will read, so it’s important to make it impactful. 

2. Think like a computer

To increase efficiency, many companies use software to evaluate resumes and cover letters. If you don’t make it past this round of automated evaluation, your application materials will never land on the desk of a human being. You can maximize your chances of getting past the digital gatekeepers by thinking like a computer. 

Much of the software used to screen applications is based on a simple concept: Important keywords appear more frequently in materials submitted by qualified candidates than in those submitted by less qualified ones. The problem is that no matter how advanced the algorithms are, they are no match for the human brain, and computers can easily miss the nuances that make your resume stand out. 

While it’s impossible for you to know the exact words to use, you can get a pretty good idea by carefully reviewing the job descriptions for the positions you’re interested in. Start compiling a list of widely used keywords and consult it when writing or editing your resume and cover letter. Stick to these keywords—this is not the time to go digging into a thesaurus.

It’s important to note that you must be thoughtful as you incorporate keywords: Even though your application may be evaluated by a computer first, it will be reviewed by a human before you’re offered an interview. Make sure your resume and cover letter read well and aren’t just a jumble of buzzwords. The reviewer shouldn’t even be able to tell you optimized these documents for the algorithm.

3. Use a T-format cover letter

Give a T-format cover letter (also called a two-column cover letter) a try! Divide a blank document into two columns. In the right-hand one, compose a cover letter tailored to the position. The main components are the same as in a conventional cover letter. In the first part, you introduce yourself and express interest in the position. The second part presents your qualifications for the job, and the third part conveys your excitement about the position and requests an interview. In the left-hand column, paste or rewrite the job requirements from the listing. Position each item so that it’s adjacent to where it’s discussed in your letter.

This type of letter has two advantages over more traditional cover letters. Firstly, it ensures that you discuss each requirement specified in the job listing. Secondly, this format allows the person reviewing your application to quickly compare your qualifications to those required for the position. This will almost certainly earn you a few brownie points.

4. Brag a little

Your resume should include a summary of your skills and qualifications, but those alone won’t get you an interview. To demonstrate that you know how to use those skills and qualifications, include accomplishments that highlight your track record of success. Anyone can say they’re innovative, but you can prove it if you include the story of how you overhauled your company’s marketing strategy and drove foot traffic up by 40%. 

Many people are uncomfortable with this section because they don’t like to brag about their achievements. However, including yours in your resume can do a lot to improve your chances of success.

It may be helpful to do a bit of brainstorming before you get started. Here are some questions to consider.

  • Reflect on promotions you’ve received. What qualified you for each one? What skills did you demonstrate that may have led to the promotion?
  • Have you overseen any projects in your previous positions or your current job? What was the goal of those projects? Include accomplishments relating to your involvement and provide numbers if possible. For example: Led efforts to develop a loyalty program that resulted in a 35% increase in customer retention.
  • Have you mentored or supervised anyone? Did you help anyone get promoted?
  • What positive feedback have you received from your superiors? What do they love about you and your work?

If you’re the type of person who hates being in the spotlight, drawing attention to your accomplishments may be difficult. If that’s the case, always try to keep in mind that this is one of the best ways to get a recruiter to notice your application. Don’t forget that you’re marketing yourself here. If you don’t give them a reason to hire you, they won’t.

5. Tap your professional network

A recent survey revealed that 85% of jobs are filled as a result of personal or professional connections. This is great news because it means your existing network might be the best resource you have to revive your job hunt! 

Take the time to review your LinkedIn profile and tailor it to the jobs you want. This means integrating keywords that are frequently used in job listings in your industry (see Tip #3). You can also use social media to reach out directly to your peers. Ask them to keep an eye out for opportunities that might suit you. This is also a great time to seek out new connections—if you see a networking opportunity, seize it! That new contact might just be the key to landing your next job.

If you want to make sure your LinkedIn profile is optimized for your job search, consider using our profile review services to receive personalized recommendations.

6. Take good care of yourself

This may be the piece of advice that is easiest to ignore, but it is the most important one! Looking for a new job can be exhausting, especially if you’re balancing it with other professional and personal responsibilities. 

Make sure you’re sticking to the fundamentals: getting enough sleep, eating well, going outside, and spending time with people you love. If you’re feeling depressed, especially when the reason is your job hunt, it’s all the more important to take care of yourself. These practices will give you the strength and energy you need to commit to the search.

Often, the biggest obstacles to success in a job search (and in life) are psychological. Taking care of yourself may feel like a luxury, but it’s not. Think of the time and resources you’ll spend on self-care as an investment in your career. Do this, and you’ll not only be happier, but you may find your dream job much faster than you expect.

If you want to turbocharge your job hunt, reach out to our resume experts!

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