How to Revive a Long Job Hunt
Job Search

How to Revive a Long Job Hunt

by Jessie Hunter
December 30, 2015

IF YOU'VE SPENT THE PAST FEW WEEKS (OR MONTHS) HUNTING FOR A NEW CAREER, WE UNDERSTAND THE FRUSTRATION. THE BEST WAY OUT OF THE RUT? SWITCHING UP YOUR PROCESS.

My career has put me on all sides of the hiring equation. Thanks to work as a hiring manager and recruiter, I’ve developed a solid understanding of what successful job seekers do to find stellar jobs. But before all that, shortly after I’d just finished college, it took six months of full-time searching to find my first job. Sometimes, time’s just not on your side. If you’re in the unenviable position of drudging through a long hunt, here’s how to push through it. {Click to Tweet}

STOP LEANING ON YOUR RESUME

One of the most common mistakes job seekers make is blanketing the web with a generalized resume. It’s understandable to feel burnt out when hunting means the frustration of hours spent crafting the perfect resume, then tackling every job post that mentions one of your relevant skills, only to find that few pan out. Many companies receive so many online resume submissions they’re forced to rely on software to scan resumes for keywords, meaning getting called for an interview may not even involve a real pair of eyes on your hard work.  

The fact of the matter is that most great jobs are earned through internal referrals. While some see this as a disheartening indicator that life is only about who you know, it’s actually a fact that nearly anyone can work to their advantage—especially during a job hunt.

THINK LESS ABOUT YOURSELF, MORE ABOUT THE COMPANY...

Take some time to think about not only the job you want, but the kind of company you want to work for. Do they have flexible work hours? Are they known for long hours but unlimited vacations? Are they demanding but ultimately reputation-building?

While titles and responsibilities are certainly important, the company you work for will ultimately determine the degree of fulfillment, amount of money, or level of advancement you will get out of the job. By selecting companies you wish to join rather than jobs you’d like to have, you will refocus your approach in an actionable way.

While some [find it disheartening] that life is only about who you know, it’s actually a fact that nearly anyone can work to their advantage—especially during a job hunt.

...MEANING FOCUS ON THE PEOPLE

SEEK ADVICE FROM THOSE WHO KNOW YOUR INDUSTRY BEST

Once you know what you want from a company, make a list of those that meet your criteria. Then head to LinkedIn.

Search your immediate and secondary networks for contacts who already work at these companies. Let friends know that you’re in the market and are looking for more information about working at Company X. Chances are someone who knows and likes you also knows someone who works there.

When you find a contact, reach out to them with a clear request: you’re interested in working at Company X and would love to get their thoughts on what it’s like to actually work there. When you ask for help warmly but directly, you may be surprised at how often people will be happy to oblige.

DO YOUR RESEARCH

Prior to your conversation, though, do your research. Look up Glassdoor reviews, read Wikipedia pages and newspaper articles about what Company X has been up to. It’s essential that you don’t waste your contact’s time. Once you’re sitting down for coffee or a phone conversation with them, ask them about things you discovered in your research and—here’s the most important piece—really listen to the answers. When you’re in a perpetual job hunt it can be tempting to pounce on the first warm lead you get, but if you land at a company you’re not actually a good fit for, it will become abundantly clear very quickly. {Click to Tweet}

CHECK IN WITH YOURSELF—AND BE HONEST

At the end of your conversation, consider how you’re feeling.  If your talk has got all your professional spidey senses tingling, now’s the great opportunity to bring up job openings. This is another element you should absolutely investigate prior to your chat.

FOLLOW UP. ALWAYS.

Mention to your contact that they’ve made Company X sound great, and you would like to know if they would be willing to give your resume to the hiring manager for a specified opening you found in your research. This process, while seemingly lengthy and involved, gives your Company X contact an opportunity to not only hand your resume to the hiring manager, but shows a thoroughness and thoughtfulness that they can then cite as an endorsement for your candidacy.

REPEAT AS NECESSARY

Congratulations! You successfully went through all the necessary steps to get yourself a glowing referral! The reality is, though, is that process does not guarantee that you will be hired by Company X. As such, you will also have a Company Y, Z, A, B, and C also lined up for which you can run this whole process simultaneously.

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Tell us how you’ve become unstuck after a long job hunt.