Work Smarter – Focus Your Job Search

I often hear the same thing from people who visit my recruiting office:

“I’ve sent out hundreds of applications, done tonnes of interviews and no one will hire me.”

Whenever I hear this, the first question that comes to mind is, “There have really been hundreds of jobs open in your profession, your position, your area – all of which you were actually interested in?”

I usually get a blank stare with that question.

Obviously, the answer is, ‘no’.

What people fail to realise in their panic to find a job is that a mass campaign of sending out that many applications is actually working against you. Whilst you may have a lot more time on your hands, that doesn’t mean you need to devote every minute of your day to job hunting.

What you need to do is work smarter by focusing your job search. Here are four tips to help you conduct a focused, efficient job search that will actually get you results.

1. Know exactly what you want.

This may be the toughest part of the work. Many times, we’ve been in the same position so long, we’ve forgotten how to want anything different. It’s time now to think outside the box. Do you love what you do and wish to find a similar job? Or perhaps it’s time to make a lateral leap into a new industry or a vertical one into a more responsible position. What factors are most important to you? Wages, company values, industry, benefits?

2. Re-evaluate your skills.

Take a look at some of the positions, industries and companies you wish to seek out. What are they looking for? What are the requirements for getting the job? Now, take a look at your current experience, knowledge and skills and ask yourself whether or not you meet those requirements. If not, either cross it off as a mismatch or plan to beef up your skill set with some classes. This may be a good time to get more education.

3. Narrow your search.

Now that you know what you want, have done some research and have evaluated your skills, it’s time to narrow your job search to those positions, industries and companies for which you are a close match. Sending out applications and CVs for positions you don’t fit is a complete waste of time. You are wasting time and effort that could be better spent on jobs for which you do qualify.

4. Set goals.

Yes, setting goals is a part of a successful job search. And you need to be more precise than simply stating, ‘My goal is to get a job this year’. Set specific, measurable goals for the week, the month, and even the year, if necessary. If additional education is one of your goals, use the time to network while you’re learning. Make an internship a part of your education and get connected. Spend time connecting with old friends and business associates that can help you in your search. The point is to hold yourself accountable for achieving goals that will eventually lead to your re-employment.