The internet is filled with websites and articles telling people how to get a job the right way or fast way, but most of them just spout useless platitudes that steer job seekers in the absolutely wrong direction. If things were really that simple, our unemployment rate wouldn’t hover above 6% and the major papers wouldn’t be filled with depressing statistics about the bleak economy. We’re not even going to try and tell you getting a job is easy, but rather give you guidance on what to do in specific situations.
Every job seeker has a beginning point, whether it’s going back to school to brush up on your credentials or coming to the realization that the $10 in your bank account is not a sufficient slush fund. One of the first things you’ll want to do is actually figure out what your career path will be, and what you need to do to travel that trajectory. It’s important to remember that job routes don’t always occur in a straight line, so allow for stops and breaks along the way.
Here’s what to keep in mind when just starting out:
Brush up on your professional side by creating a LinkedIn profile that’s in line with what employers are looking for (i.e. tidy photo, endorsed skills, job history, etc.)
Look at where you’ve been spending your money the last three months and figure out a budget for the future
Get a buddy in the same boat as yourself so you can both be accountable to each other
Learning about Yourself
Just because you love doing one particular thing doesn’t necessarily mean you should be employed in it. What you should be looking for, though, is satisfaction and contentment from your job. Make a list and write down what you’d absolutely love to be doing, and then what you’d be satisfied doing. If you can get those columns to overlap a bit, you’ve narrowed things down to a pretty good list.
Here’s what to keep in mind when learning about yourself:
Take a day or a couple of days to think hard about what kind of career you want to be in
Paint yourself three pictures where you’re doing really, really different kinds of work, just to see how you’d fit
Write a future profile about yourself about where you think you’ll be in the next 30 years
Getting Out of a Rut
Not every single day of your job search will be peaches and creams, and there’ll come a time when you feel stuck. That’s okay, and it’s to be expected. The main thing is to prepare for it — which we alluded to in the first point — and give yourself the tools to get out. Remember that even the most successful people in the world ran into huge speedbumps along the way, and knew that it was how they responded that defined who they were.
Here’s what to keep in mind when getting out of a rut:
Help others to both take your mind off things and prove to yourself that you have what it takes to make a difference
Stew over how unfair things are…but only for a short time — and then promise yourself to move on
Remind yourself that whatever action you’ll take in this mood, it’ll be after a good meal and long night’s sleep first so you can keep things in perspective
Mastering the Networking Game
For people who enjoy working on their social skills, talking to others is an easy process. For the rest of us, it’s something as enjoyable as the middle ground between having ice cream and washing dishes by hand. It’s not bad, but it’s not something we may necessarily get super excited about, either.
Here’s what to keep in mind when networking:
Pump yourself up to go to events where there are people and conversations
Practice introducing yourself in different ways (i.e. casual, formal, from a business angle, from a personal angle, etc.)
Make a dream list of companies you want to work at and actually contact them
There’s no one right way of applying to a job that’d suit everyone, as people are different in their skills, habits, outlooks and approaches. But instead of trying to give you an article that does that, we’d rather offer concrete tips and pointers about what to do in various situations.