How to Conduct Your Job Search with Confidence in Uncertain Times

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When the economy is in turmoil, most companies launch restructuring programs, and lay-offs are among the first measures they implement. In times of economic uncertainty, the fear of not finding a new job can be overwhelming—the need to be employed is even greater in such times, yet jobs are harder to come by. While you shouldn’t expect to find work immediately in a topsy-turvy labor market, you can be confident that the right approach will help you maximize your chances of landing a great job. 

It takes a clear plan and preparation to conduct your job search with confidence. If you need help devising that plan, reach out to our career coaches. For now, read on to see how you can build that confidence.  

Let people know you’re searching

While you may not want your current employer to know you’re searching for a new job, you don’t necessarily want to keep your job search a secret. Letting your family and friends know you’re on the hunt may open up opportunities you wouldn’t have otherwise. 

For example, a friend may tip you off to an opening at a great company in your field, or a relative may recommend you to their employer and snag you a job at their company. Just be discreet about how you share your job search—if you broadcast it on social media, it can easily get back to your current boss and colleagues.

Take full advantage of your network

Your family and friends can help you out, but it’s useful to have a network of professionals as well. Build a network that will help you find a job, even if there don’t seem to be any openings available. 

First, reach out to relevant professionals and talk about possible employment opportunities. Then, apply on job sites for the positions you’ve made connections to. This is a much quicker approach to landing a job than simply scrolling through job boards and applying without any prior connections. 

So, how do you connect with the right people? 

  • Create a LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is a social media platform that focuses on helping professionals connect with employers and other professionals. You can also find job postings on it, as on a regular job site, but it’s so much more than that. The connections you make can lead to new opportunities, including new jobs, so don’t delay reaching out to relevant professionals. Make the relationship mutually beneficial, and you’ll reap the rewards.
  • Identify desired companies. If there are specific companies you want to work for, go to their websites and check if they have job openings. Also, find ways to connect with them. You may already know an employee of the company—if so, strike up a conversation and see if you can develop this relationship. A recommendation from a current employee puts you miles ahead of other candidates. Even if you don’t know anyone at the company, you might be able to arrange a meeting with the manager that will help establish a relationship potentially leading to a job offer. 
  • Join professional groups. You can find groups like this on social media platforms such as Facebook. They are designed to help professionals collaborate and provide career support to each other, whether through skill improvement, additional connections, or even job offers. You can sometimes find in-person networking events that help establish connections, too. Finding a career support group will allow you to build relationships and confidence. 

You can land a job without networking, but having the right connections certainly makes it quicker and easier. Don’t be afraid to join groups filled with people you don’t know (yet) or reach out to professionals you don’t know (yet). The purpose of professional groups is to facilitate support among their members.

Keep track of your achievements

Whether you’re searching for a job or not, you should always keep track of your achievements.  In the past, a resume just listed the applicant’s employment history, briefly detailing their responsibilities at each job, but nowadays, hiring managers want to see whether you add value to the companies you work for. That’s where achievements come in. 

If you’re currently looking for a job but haven’t kept track of what you’ve accomplished, think through your career and take note of any major achievements. Here are a couple of ways in which you can impress hiring managers with them:

  • Quantifiable results: Whether it’s presented in bullet points or the descriptions of previous jobs, hiring managers want to see that your skills have led to measurable results. For example, if you’re applying for a sales position and previously held a similar job, use numbers to show how you helped your former employer. You could say something like Improved overall sales by 15% by incorporating a new sales strategy. The more specific you can be, the better. Just be careful not to reveal another company’s confidential data—that’s why it’s best to work with percentages instead of pure numbers.
  • Interview stories: Prepare stories that demonstrate your skills in a tangible way. Be careful not to just brag—frame it in a way that communicates what you can do for the company you’re interviewing with. 

Whatever your achievements, keep track of them and use them to increase your chances of getting a job. Use quantifiable results and stories that demonstrate how you can benefit the company. After all, hiring managers don’t care what responsibilities you had at other companies—they care about how you performed there.

Update your resume and cover letter

You should tailor your resume to each job you apply for. Yes, it’s tedious, and while job descriptions can be boring, it’s crucial to read them thoroughly and note any keywords or requirements. 

Keywords are generally easy to identify because they’re bolded, italicized, or different in some other way. Then, take the ones that apply to you and include them in your resume. Not only does this highlight your relevance to and qualifications for the job, but it also helps you get past the computerized applicant tracking system (ATS) that automatically filters resumes based on keyword usage. It also shows the hiring manager that you took the time to read the job description and edit your resume. 

You should also tailor your cover letter accordingly. It is not merely a reiteration of your resume—it’s an introductory letter that clearly lays out why you’re a good candidate for the position and then lets the resume speak for itself. If you can capture the hiring manager’s attention with your cover letter, you can get them to read your resume. 

Not all jobs these days require cover letters—in fact, many don’t—but going to the trouble of including a well-written one can help you outshine the competition, so it’s always recommended. Do you need help tailoring your resume and cover letter? Get in touch with our resume experts.

Manage your applications

If you’re sending out multiple applications weekly or even daily, you’ll need to find a way to manage them. You can use a spreadsheet to keep track of when you sent each application, when you heard back from the company, what its answer was, and other data points. You don’t want to accidentally apply for the same job twice—that’ll come off as desperate and disorganized. 

Also, you want to be able to follow up on applications you’ve submitted. You shouldn’t do it too soon (since that can annoy the hiring manager) or too late (after the opportunity has already passed).  Staying organized during your job search will help you manage your applications, which, in turn, will be reflected in your confidence level. 

Do you have doubts about your job search? No matter how uncertain your situation is, following the tips above can help you succeed in finding a job. Whenever you begin to feel overwhelmed during your job search, contact our career coaches to get a confidence boost. 

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