You tailor every resume, follow up on applications, and stay active on the job boards. And here you are -- your job search has stalled.
This can be incredibly stressful and draining, especially if you can’t gain attention in your industry. However, if you focus on staying healthy and investing in yourself during your job search, you will be more competitive. You might even enjoy the process.
There are several ways to take action that are simple and inexpensive. Let’s take a look how you can create a sustainable, efficient job search strategy:
You can’t afford to make yourself sick with stress and anxiety during your job search. If you focus on managing your health, you are better equipped to take action and earn opportunities.
There are several simple ways to stay healthy:
This is more than just a cool trend. Meditation is one of the best ways to manage your health. In fact, a meta-analysis of meditation studies from researchers at Johns Hopkins University found that mindful meditation can help ease psychological stresses like anxiety, depression, and pain.
It’s a simple, free practice that includes deep breathing and focused thinking. However, if you want to learn the basics in a quick way, consider subscribing to meditation apps, like Headspace or Calm. They offer free guided sessions that help you understand how to get the most out of your meditation practice.
This exercise helps you become a better communicator and inspires creativity, but it also builds confidence and teaches you to process and manage emotions.
Develop a journaling routine that works for you. If you want to develop a greater sense of appreciation, start a gratitude journal. If you want to merely get thoughts down, schedule yourself time to sit and freely write. Make it your own, and have fun.
Build Your Skills
While managing your health, you can also invest in learning more and building your skill set. Determine areas you want to grow and pursue open opportunities.
My company, JobsInSports, conducted a survey to determine what niche industry employers look for in their candidates. It revealed that the top soft skills they look for are communication and professionalism.
Here are some ways to grow professionally during your job search:
• Online Courses
You don’t need to spend a fortune on college classes to pursue a topic you’re interested in. Fortunately, there are several online resources that offer free and inexpensive courses.
For example, Coursera offers specialization tracks. So if you want to be competitive in your search for data analyst jobs, earn a specialization in data science through their site. These courses are taught by professors from top universities, like Stanford and Johns Hopkins University.
There are several other similar resources to choose from, including Skillshare, Udemy, and Lynda from LinkedIn. Find what resource fits your budget and offers what you want to learn.
You can’t sit at your computer, applying to jobs all day. Break up your routine and seek out volunteering opportunities.
Find charities you believe in and sign up for events. You can strengthen crucial skills like communication, but also meet people and build your network.
Get Out There
Networking is one of the most valuable techniques you need in your job search. The more people you know, the more opportunities arise.
In fact, companies often prefer hiring people their employees vouch for. My company’s survey found that 60 percent of employers say they give referred candidates more attention and consideration than other candidates.
Let’s take a look at the best ways to expand your network:
• Professional Organizations
My company’s survey also found that 21 percent of employers say that joining these organizations helps candidates stand out, and 29 percent agree that they’re the best way candidates can expand their network.
Some organizations cost very little for a membership, and the benefits far exceed the cost. Typically, you get access to networking events, discounts on certain goods, and access to exclusive educational content, like a quarterly newsletter.
Find groups specific to your industry and consider joining. For example, if you’re looking for a marketing position, research organizations like the American Marketing Association.
• Social Media
The only cost here is your time. First, find blogs and online resources focused on your industry. Then, take time to find articles that are interesting or that you can comment on.
When you find great content, share it on your social media accounts. Also, join conversations. Jump into Twitter chats, start discussions on LinkedIn groups, and attend webinars.
Your ongoing engagement demonstrates your enthusiasm and gives you a platform to share knowledge. It also connects you with colleagues in your industry.
Build Your Brand
As you engage online and in-person at network events, look for your niche. Define what your expertise is and build a personal brand around that.
Here are a couple of tools that will help with your branding:
• New Headshots
When employers research you, do you want them to find your flip phone profile picture from college? You need a current headshot that accurately represents who you are at this moment.
There are several budget friendly ways to do this. Instead of spending hundreds of dollars on a professional photographer, ask a friend to use a high resolution smartphone.
Smartphones have many features that help you edit your photograph in minutes, so capturing a professional image and making it look good takes no time at all. However, be sure to dress professionally and be aware of objects in the background. Also, avoid flashy, unnatural filters and borders, etc.
• Professional Domain
When you’re conducting your job search, give employers a face and a voice to relate to. Share who you are through a your own website.
Buy a domain with your name in it so employers can easily find you. On your website, showcase your work through an online portfolio or write a blog on industry specific topics.
For only a few dollars a month, you can buy your domain and create a strong online presence. Dedicate time to planning and creating interesting content that will provide value to your colleagues and employers in your industry.
When you focus on your health, you can effectively make yourself more competitive by closing skills gaps, expanding your network, and building your personal brand. Your job search is more effective and sustainable when you manage this new strategy.