Take Control of Your Job Search

A job search is inherently stressful, and often, a long one can lead to discouragement. As a result, we tend to cast an even wider net when applying to openings. Let’s put an end to this vicious cycle and take control of your job search.

While it’s important to recognize that we are somewhat at the mercy of those in a position to hire, a lot is in our control when it comes to looking for work. A downward spiral of job search despair can lead to desperately submitting to anything that looks remotely of interest. That’s rarely the best strategy. Instead, take a step back.

Here are 5 things you can do to take control of your job search and eliminate your frustration:

1. Make sure your resume uses the same keywords for the job description you’re submitting to.

When companies are flooded with submissions, they often rely on their applicant tracking system to filter through resumes. Read the job description a few times and keywords should become apparent. Examples include the exact title of the role and the words used to describe what the person will be doing. The more your resume incorporates these keywords, the better chance it has of getting into the right hands.

2. Be specific about your value.

Demonstrate the value you’ve created in previous positions so that potential employers have a true understanding of what you’ll be able to accomplish for them. You can’t be all things to all people. If you try to show employers that you are capable of too many things, you won’t be sending a clear message. Sometimes less is more. Figure out what the job you’re applying for requires and focus on how you can bring value to that role.

3. Go after jobs that aren’t too far out of reach.

It’s natural to want to get ahead and you should absolutely be submitting yourself for jobs that are considered a reasonable next step for you in your career. But be sure that you’re being realistic about what is actually attainable. Are you looking for a next step position, but aren’t hearing back from companies you’ve applied to? Try taking a step back and put yourself in the employer’s shoes. You may be capable of doing the job, but have you done it before? Ask yourself how far a step up this role actually is for you in practical terms. You are probably competing against candidates who have already demonstrated some success doing exactly what the company is looking for.

4. Actively network.

This is one of the biggest things you can do to take control of your job search. It’s also one of the best ways to get the promotion you’re looking for. Target a list of companies you want to work for and network with the intention of gathering information. Information is so valuable to you, but the beauty is that it’s easy for someone to give. Asking someone you don’t know to help get your resume into a hiring manager’s hands is a long shot. However, asking someone a few questions regarding their career path and how they navigated a career transition because you’re thinking of making the same change, immediately creates some commonality between you and puts the other person in a position of easily being able to help.

5. Work with a recruiter.

Recruiters have one of the hardest things to get: access and knowledge.  They are connected to a wide range of hiring managers from various industries and can offer a real understanding of the job market in your area. They’re also in a great position to offer you honest feedback about your resume and if what you’re looking for in your next role is realistic, both in terms of salary expectations and job responsibilities. They will be your advocate and guide. Working with a recruiter doesn’t guarantee a shorter job search, but it will give you invaluable insight, which hopefully brings you less frustration.