Does your job search have you feeling down? Don't give up! I've got 9 tips and tricks to stay inspired during a tough job search! Scroll to the bottom for a handy infographic to refer back to!
Searching for a new job (whether you are in a job or not) is a necessary evil.
You either need a job because you aren’t working or you need one because the one you are in isn’t working. The challenge is that it is a process of constantly putting yourself out there only to be rejected multiple times which makes it tough to keep up a positive attitude.
When you are out of a job, the stress and pressure mounts with each passing day. You find reasons to blame others for you not getting a job – a natural self-defense mechanism that unfortunately doesn’t really help.
Or you start beating yourself up and your self-confidence begins to plummet. What compounds matters is if you had a surprising lay off or termination, and honestly how many aren’t hurtful or surprising!
When you are in a job that you aren’t satisfied in, you start questioning whether this is even worth it! Maybe this job you hate isn’t so bad after all and you go back into stagnation mode because after all it is easier than constantly putting yourself out there. Besides the fact that the job search takes up time you just don’t really have!
It is easy to get into these negative thought patterns and even easier to stay there. What is harder is to break them. It is crucial to your success that you snap out of it.
It may seem hard right now but TRUST ME it is worth it in the end. Don’t forget the goal – to find a fulfilling career, a job that challenges you, an organization that values you and a work/life balance that brings you more freedom to enjoy life outside of the workplace!
In order to do that, you need to focus on staying inspired throughout the job search. You need a plan in place for what that job search looks like and you need a plan in place to enjoy things too.
You need to take care of your emotional and physical wellbeing so that you have the energy and confidence to wake up every day and put yourself out there.
If you aren’t working, you also need to make sure you get out of the house and connect with people. Isolating doesn’t help, no matter how introverted you are!
I know what you are thinking, Sara the last thing I need right now is more work! I get it. Most of the “Life Hacks” I’m going to suggest are easy. Most won’t take much time at all. In fact some will save you time! And others will give you more energy to put into the search.
Here is my list of 9 tips and tricks that you can do RIGHT NOW that will keep you inspired to stay positive and to keep at the job search!
STAY INSPIRED BY BEING HEALTHY:
1. Get 7-9 hours of sleep every night to give you energy.
2. Move Your Body. Every. Single. Day. Improve your mood, reduce stress, increase your energy!
3. Eat a balanced diet. Junk food doesn’t leave you feeling your best am I right?
STAY INSPIRED BY BEING PREPARED
4. Write a Foundational Resume and Cover Letter. These are so easy to tweak and will save you hours in your job search.
5. Plan your week by booking Job Search Time in your calendar. 1-2 hours/day MAX. Don’t forget to book in Networking!
6. ENGAGE with people! Do your job search at a coffee shop, go to networking events or career fairs. Get out of the house!
STAY INSPIRED BY BEING HAPPY
7. Start a Gratitude Practice – what 3 things are you thankful for each day.
8. Find Joy. Every. Single. Day. Do something you LOVE. Bake a cake, garden, go for a hike, anything!
9. Focus on YOU. Think about all the great things you have accomplished and done and all the great things you bring table. Give yourself a high five, every day!
Feeling really at the end of your rope with the job search and want a Pep Talk? That's what I'm here for! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a time to chat and we'll figure out ways to get out of this rut!
Your resume worked and you got an interview. You are a little bit excited and a lot nervous. You go into the room and are anticipating that first crucial question.
“So, why don’t you tell me a little more about yourself?”
You freeze. Running through your head is a jumble of thoughts. What do they want to know? Should I tell them where I grew up? What I’m doing now at work? What I ate for breakfast?
You open your mouth and a flood of words come out, a rambling, run on sentence kind of answer. You don’t know what to do, do you shut up or do you try and dig yourself out of the hole? You keep talking trying to salvage the answer before finally stopping in the middle of a thought.
Does this sound familiar to you? I wouldn’t be surprised since as a recruiter I see the above all the time! I have also had interviewees go on for 10 minutes, describing every little detail of every job. I have had interviewees give a 1 sentence answers, giving me no clarity as to who they are. Honestly, I have seen it all. But sadly the one thing I don’t see too often is a great answer to this seemingly simple question!
The “Tell me about yourself” is a classic ice breaker question, it is a great way to open up an interview allowing a recruiter or hiring manager to get a sense of who you are and evaluate your fit.
Having a great, thought out answer to this question gives an excellent first impression to the interviewer and really sets you up for success in the rest of the interview so investing a short amount of time is worth it in the long run.
The key to success in answering this question is to go from the scattered mess answer you may normally give to a structured and organized answer. Having a good plan guarantees this and my 3 step plan is an easy one to follow.
Step 1: Where you are right now
Tell them a little bit of who you are and what you are doing currently, or in your most recent job. If the role is in the same field highlight your job title and relevant industry related experiences. If you are in the midst of a career change, highlight your skills that are relevant to this job.
Do not get into your life history, focus only on your current/most recent role to start with.
Step 2: What You Have Done
Outline how your mix of experience, skills and education will bring value to this job. Like I wrote about in The Secrets to an Engaging Cover Letter, be sure to summarize talking about patterns of successes with some highlights of hard data (ie my ability to analyze data, recognize inefficiencies and create new process improvements has led to a cost savings of $100k at this job and $500k at this job) rather than listing a ton of accomplishments. If there are 1-2 accomplishments that really line up with this job then definitely highlight them without going into details (the rest of the interview will allow you to do that).
Step 3: Where Are You Going
In your final section of this answer, you want to outline how where you are right now and what you have done has lead you to this job, this team and this company. Focus on what you are moving towards with this role instead of leaving behind (bad boss, long commute, etc) and showcase your enthusiasm and excitement!
Depending the company and the interviewer, you may want to throw in at the end – “in my spare time…” As a recruiter, I like to see someone who has a whole life, not just a work life. Especially if some of your side hobbies are relevant to the job at hand.
The “Tell me about yourself’ is generally considered to be one of two dreaded questions – dreaded because they are almost always asked. The other one is “Why do you want to work here?” – if you have an interview coming up read that article and you will WOW the interviewer within the first couple of questions giving them a great first impression.
Have an interview coming up but not sure if you can create the connection you need to get that job? I can help with that with my customized Master the Interview coaching.
If you were a hiring manager and read your cover letter, would you want to interview you? Read on for my secrets to engaging cover letters guaranteed to get you noticed!
Most people assume that cover letters aren’t read which means they either don’t include one, they write a boring monotonous one or they write it for the wrong audience.
Let me tell you a secret, you are right but also oh so wrong. Recruiters most of the time do not read cover letters – we just do not have the time. We receive on average 250 applicants per job posting (I’ve had up to 1000 before!) so we need to focus on the hard skills – do you have what it takes to do the job.
BUT, and this is a big but, a lot of hiring managers read the cover letter. They typically only see the top 10-25 candidates and they not only want to see if you could do the job but also do they think you have what it takes to be a member of their team. So if you are going to take the time to write a cover letter make it engaging and dynamic!
And even if the hiring manager doesn’t read it, just having one shows that you are willing to go above and beyond for this job so even for those industries where the likelihood of it being read is slim, I still recommend sending one in. It doesn’t hurt to spend an extra 10-15 minutes on a job you really want does it?
Most cover letters that I have read throughout my 15 years of experience are boring and monotonous that is essentially a sentence based regurgitation of the candidate’s resume. I don’t learn anything new about the individual.
When I write cover letters for my clients I have two main focuses: get their personality in it and summarize who they are and what they bring. Today I am going to share with you the ideal format of the cover letter with the secrets of how to get a hiring manager really excited to meet with you.
To start, the cover letter should be addressed to someone! Look at the posting, is there any instruction or a name included? If so, use that. If not, we want to address it to the Hiring Manager – do some digging and LinkedIn research to try and find out who that is! It also wouldn’t hurt to engage with them some way.
This paragraph’s focus is on Who You Are and Why You Are Applying. It is your hook, we want the reader (the hiring manager) to be intrigued with you and looking forward to reading more. This should be tailored to their needs as outlined in the job posting but you can lean on work you have already done in your Modern Resume and your LinkedIn profile by examining your resume objective, your LinkedIn Headline and Summary which all comes from your personal brand as developed through my free email course, the Job Search Roadmap.
Some things that this paragraph must include are:
The focus on this paragraph is Why this Job and Company and How you would benefit. This is a great place to compliment the company, ideally the hiring manager if you can. Talk about their reputation, what they have done right, some recent wins or future projects. Show that you have done your work and that this isn’t just some throw away job application for you.
Then move into what you bring to the table, how you would benefit the company, team and hiring manager in this role. There are a few things you can include in this section. You can talk about your story, or your call to action to this career and job. I always include a summary of how a client can benefit instead of specifics. This is done by taking a look at your accomplishments and seeing a common thread or pattern. For example, do you have a history of analyzing data, noticing areas for improvement and coming up with new processes that makes a team more efficient or productive? If so, write that!
This paragraph could/should include are:
Then move into some specific examples of accomplishments and results that you want to highlight. Ideally these will provide examples to the benefits you listed above. This can be formatted in a three different ways (I use all three depending on who my client is and what they are applying for).
My typical go to is the Bullet Points, what I like about it is that if someone is going to skim over your cover letter they will probably read your opening sentence and your bullet points and the closing sentence so by having the accomplishments that you are most proud of and of great relevance to the hiring manager highlighted then they will definitely pick those up.
I recommend three accomplishments with an added Education bullet point if the job, company and/or industry value education, training and certifications.
I lean on the table format for roles that are heavily skilled based – IT, Engineering, etc. Roles that require a lot of technology. Especially since hiring managers in these industries don’t typically read cover letters and if they do then chances are they are skimming it, so having a table making it clear that you are a perfect fit in terms of your technical skill set is key.
I use the paragraph format sparingly. I do love to use it when writing is a key part of a job since the cover letter is a great place to showcase your writing ability. It also works for roles where you may not have accomplishments that can be backed up by hard data.
Third Paragraph summary:
This is your lasting impression, keep it short and sweet with about two sentences. Open with the three reasons why they need you on their team. Close with a call to action – meeting with them, interviewing for the job, discussing your fit – be confident! Then sign off with your name.
Must haves for the closing paragraph:
The last thing I want you to do is go through your cover letter – is it conversational and does it showcase your personality? Pick word choices and sentence structure that gets a little bit of you in there. We want the Hiring Manager to finish reading this knowing three things
So now you have the knowledge of how to write a great cover letter, well you need a great resume to go with it don’t you? Download my resume checklist to help guide you writing one and if you need more register for The Ultimate Resume Workshop to learn all the ins and outs to writing a resume that gets you noticed!
Sara Curto, Career Management Specialist. Working with you towards Career and Job Search Success.
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