Essential Advice For Struggling Job-Seekers

April 29, 2016

As most job seekers know, searching for employment using online tools usually feels futile, soul-crushing, and altogether hopeless.


That’s probably because most recruiters and hiring directors take about ten seconds to look over a resume before they make a final decision about a candidate. So no, you aren’t just being paranoid when you feel like your applications are hardly being considered.


“Online job applications are the moral equivalent of blind want ads,” explained Brad Whitworth, senior communications and marketing manager at Cisco. They are generic and mass-produced, but unfortunately, they are the first barrier to entry for most occupations these days.


So how can you work around this irritating but necessary system?


Keep Your Business Cards Handy

One thing that any savvy business coach will tell you is to make the right connections. Attend events and go to talks in the industry you’re interested in, address the speakers after the talks, and don’t throw away business cards! Email the people you meet and ask for an informational interview or an informal coffee date to better get to know each other as working peers.


If that sounds like it’s time-consuming and like it’s a lot of work, you’re right. It is. But don’t be put off. Start slowly, by attending a single event a month to get the hang of it. Introduce yourself to only one person at each event to become more comfortable with the process. Take notes and focus on learning, not on “networking”.


Increase Your Digital Footprint

In between events, focus on improving your LinkedIn profile.


“While your resume looks backwards and recounts your past accomplishments, LinkedIn gives you the chance to be aspirational and tell others who you are,” advises Rene Shimada Siegel, founder and president of the consulting firm High Tech Connect.


SEO experts may suggest stuffing your profile with industry-specific keywords, but you will make a greater impression on potential employers if you offer a personal account of your goals and experiences. Think of LinkedIn as your informal, personalized, public cover letter.


Do A Little Side Hustle

If networking and LinkedIn are still not bringing you the results you desire, venture off the beaten path. Take up a temporary freelance gig to gain experience and bolster your resume.


Don’t get discouraged as you search for a new career. As Brad Whitworth reminds us, a job isn’t your full life but just a part of it—so keep living your life fully in the meantime.

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