by Ken Sundheim, Undercover Recruiter
If you think of your job search like a sport, then it is natural to expect peaks and valleys in your own performance. Still, there is nothing more draining, humbling and dispiriting than consistent rejection and non-responsiveness during a job search.
I’ve learned that when interviewing, challenges or problems will always arise and there are two ways to deal with them: the effective way and the ineffective way. The effective way is to assess where you are, determine where you want to be in your career, identify and implement creative solutions, and remain resilient.
Knowing that, here are some key tactics to deal with a slump in your job search:
1) Understand that setbacks are temporary and work to increase your confidence level:
People who are confident that they will succeed persist longer in the face of difficulty and will ultimately reach their goals. Unfortunately, poor job search performance can fill a job seeker with self doubt and lack of belief in their ability to successfully navigate the open job market.
Prior to tweaking your resume, practicing interviewing or altering your search methods, it’s imperative to restore and increase your confidence levels. One of the most effective ways to do so is to reflect on your past successes. When you find yourself full of self-doubt, take a moment to recall (as vividly as possible) some of the goals you have achieved and the obstacles you overcame to to do it.
2) Analyze the situation from the view point of the recruiter or hiring manager:
Be honest with yourself. If you were the recruiter or hiring manager of the positions you apply to, would you be interested in your resume and cover letter?
Are you truly applying to jobs and tailoring each application? Or are you sending out reams of resumes hoping something will stick? Are you connecting with the right headhunters and hiring managers and bringing something to the table? Or are you simply relying on others to find you your next job?
Because it’s easy to apply for positions via the web, companies and staffing firms receive mass amounts of applications per open position. If you were the hiring manager would you be more interested in the job seekers who took the time to research your website and thoroughly read over the description or the applicants who seemingly put little to no effort in the application process?
3) Have an exact goal in mind and relentlessly pursue that objective
Spell out exactly what you want to achieve. Without firm goals, job seekers are much from prone to wasting valuable time applying to the wrong positions with the wrong resume.
Take some time and spell out what type of position you want, what industry you want that job to be in, what type of company you wish to work for and what date you aim to start the job. Then, begin to tweak your resume, cover letter and LinkedIn profile according to plan.
Only when you get specific about the desired outcome of your search, will you know the proper steps you need to take in order to get there.
4) Diversify your job search avenues:
The average job seeker applies for positions through LinkedIn and on the major job boards, while the successful job seeker diversifies their search.
Diversification means utilizing resources such as niche job boards, jobs posted directly on company websites, industry publications, and social media in order to increase your reach and ability to stand out. Many companies have positions that are dormant. This could be for a myriad of reasons – they’ve unsuccessfully posted the position, couldn’t find an efficient recruiting firm or just have not had the time to actively search lately.
Make both your life and the hiring manager’s job easier by finding those positions. All it takes is basic internet research. Remember that Google is your friend.
In the end:
Life involves setbacks and your job search is unlikely to break that rule. Understand that before success comes in any job search, you may meet with temporary defeat and perhaps some pronounced failure. You can’t change the past, but you can take control of your job search from the present onward and significantly improve the future.