5 Tips for a Successful Job Search
I recently started my job at Percy, and I’ve been quick to tell my friends and family about how much I am loving everything! However, the piece of the story I never talk about is how I got here. Like so many people, I was laid off at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. I spent months trying to figure out what my next step was going to be. And yes, it was not an easy road. In the end, it paid off. I found a place that will be my home for years to come! These are some of the lessons I learned in the process.
1) Stay Organized
My job search started by clicking every “Easy Apply” or “Quick Apply” button I could find on job boards like Indeed and LinkedIn. It did not take long to realize that this was not going to be efficient. I found myself reviewing the same job in numerous places, and hiring managers not getting back to me. The best thing I could do was create a central spreadsheet to help manage my job search. I started putting together a running document of every job I applied to, keeping track of a few key details (when I applied, the hiring manager). In doing so, I made sure I never forgot about an upcoming interview or assessment due date. I also kept track of all of the active roles I was applying for, so I could follow up with hiring managers. In just a few minutes, this spreadsheet took my job search from a frantic free-for-all, to an organized and successful approach!
2) Don’t Search Alone
Yes, I currently work at a recruiting agency. And yes, I’d be happy to tell you all the benefits of working with Percy (seriously, just send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org for details!). But did you know I also used a recruiter to help in my job search? Looking for a new job, especially after being laid off, is a lot of work – literally a full time job! So why go at it alone? Partnering with a recruiter allows you to be seen by so many more hiring managers. For example, I was applying to about 5 jobs every day. On top of that, the recruiter I was working with submitted me to another 5. That doubled the amount of applications and interviews I had! Additionally, I had someone by my side who was able to give me a sense of the job market. That gave me the confidence I needed, especially in the early days of unemployment.
3) Be Prepared
As a recruiter and a job seeker, I know how uncomfortable an interview is when someone is unprepared. A casual conversation can quickly turn into a tense moment and a waste of time. That is why I always made sure I was ready to interview. I set up a quiet place in my house where I could close the door and have privacy for the call. I also ensured that I was prepared to answer any questions that would come my way. To do this, I kept my resume in front of me, and researched the company ahead of time. This allowed me to be able to answer that “Why Us?” question with a detailed answer. In case you were wondering, this is another place where a recruiter can help you out! At Percy, we always conduct an interview prep with candidates to role play answers and tell you about the position you are interviewing for!
4) Know What You Want
When you are out of a job for 5 months, it can be easy to lower your expectations. I frequently told those close to me that it could be years before I get a new position. I’d say that I was willing to accept something that won’t help progress my career goals. But in the end, if you are financially able to keep searching, it’s worth holding out for what you really want. One of the worst feelings is planning your exit from a company on your first day. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be flexible – some of the best positions are ones that you hadn’t thought about before. It does mean that if you know exactly what your career plans are, you should keep searching. It might create some stress now, but your future self will thank you!
5) Respect Yourself, and Don’t Give Up
Whether you are holding out for that perfect position, or just searching to find something to hold you over, make sure to respect yourself. People (myself included) often compare the job hunt to a full time job. The difference is that in a full time job, you eventually get to clock out. When you are looking for your next opportunity, it’s on your mind 24/7. Make sure to take time and do things that you enjoy. It’s a great idea to make use of your time off by taking professional courses that can help advance your career. It’s also a great idea to lay in bed and take care of yourself, if that’s how you cope with being overwhelmed. If done right, a job search ends with a job – and you don’t want to start day one already burnt out!