3 pro tips to kick-start your job search
Having a hard time finding a job? You’re not alone. Searching for a job can be a long, frustrating process – especially when you hear that the Canadian economy added 35,000 new jobs in the month of October.
Instead of getting down, though, take it as a sign of encouragement. Jobs are out there, you just need to be proactive.
Here are three tips that can help you take your job search to the next level.
1) Be extremely open-minded (and ready to learn)
You likely have transferable skills that appeal to companies and industries outside your field. Focusing on these skills will not only help you secure a new position, they could also propel you down a rewarding career path you hadn’t previously considered. Be open minded, and look out for jobs and industries that might be a good fit.
You should also be considering additional education and certifications. Not only can this open up new career paths, it might also provide you with new contacts and networking opportunities. If you’re more of a homebody, there are many free and low-cost courses available online. MOOC platforms such as Udemy and Canvas Network offer free insight and information on a variety of topics through webinars. Others offer professional certifications for nominal fees, like Lynda.com.
If you go this route, don’t be shy telling prospective employers that you plan on developing your skills within a certain time frame. This can work well during the application and interview process, as it makes you seem both ambitious and committed.
Finally, don’t limit your job search by geography. Moving is rarely fun or easy, but if you’ve been out of work for some time, and are not getting interviews, you should consider relocating to an area where your skills are in higher demand. As the latest jobs report made clear, some provinces are doing better than others when it comes to new full-time jobs. Relocation doesn’t have to be forever, but it just might be your ticket to a rewarding career.
2) Think long term, but act short term
It’s essential that you have realistic goals for your job search and career. This means setting both short- and long-term objectives.
You should be continually assessing your current work situation, and all current job opportunities. Are they addressing your short-term goals? Once you answer that question, look at the bigger picture. Do they provide you necessary skills, experience, or contacts that can help you achieve long-term goals? The key idea to remember here is that it’s sometimes okay to take a step back – provided it gets you closer to your ultimate goal.
You shouldn’t, for example, disregard entry-level jobs or internships if there is potential for growth. It might feel like a step back, but these opportunities can prove you’re willing to do what’s necessary to move ahead, and add valuable hands-on experience to your resume.
Exploring the “gig economy” is another option. Freelance work in your specialty maintain your work routine, and show you can take initiative.
Another idea to explore is starting your own small business. This can be as simple as turning your hobby into an Etsy shop or becoming a handyman in your neighborhood. Owning and operating your own side business demonstrates essential skills and qualities, such as:
- Time management;
- Project management;
- Customer service;
- Web development;
- And more.
Continually assessing your situation can help you make key career decisions. Be honest with yourself and don’t fear change.
3) Start networking
It’s easy to rely on Workopolis and job alerts, but to really kick start your job search, you’ll need to also keep in-person networking part of your arsenal.
To get started, seek out professional workshops, seminars, and presentations. These can help you brush up on skills and current issues, and get to know local industry leaders.
Another approach is to use informational interviews to find out about other companies and industries. Unlike an interview for a job, informational interviews turn the tables and allow you to connect with other professionals and ask your questions. This is a great networking opportunity and allows you to earn referrals, as well as industry knowledge.
Volunteering can be another excellent way to network. Not only does this demonstrate your personal values in action, but you will meet like-minded people. In addition, volunteering can help you discover new interests and abilities – both of which can help your job search.
Val Matta is the vice president of business development at CareerShift, a comprehensive job hunting and career management solution that gives job seekers complete control over their job search. It’s available for individual users, university and military career services centers, libraries, and corporations seeking to offer outplacement assistance to former employees. Connect with Val and CareerShift on LinkedIn.
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