Being stuck in a job search rut is mentally exhausting, but before you fall into passive mode and start applying for any opening you can find on the job boards, take a step back. There are plenty of proactive ways you can dig yourself out of a rut and increase your chances of finding a job. Here are nine ways to start turning your job search around.
1. Improve Your Social Media Presence
Professional social media platforms, such as LinkedIn, can be a powerful tool during your job search. If you haven't updated your profile in a while, do so right away, and make sure your profile is complete. Add a recent professional head shot to your profile, include a short bio and update your work and education history.
2. Improve Your Communication Skills
Communication skills are important when it comes to scoring a job. Take a public speaking class or a writing course to hone your skills and increase your chances of impressing potential employers.
3. Network Continuously
While a job search rut can sap your motivation, resist the urge to wall yourself off. Attend networking events, reach out to industry contacts, and make an appearance at social outings to meet new business professionals. Be sure to bring a big smile and a welcoming, friendly attitude.
4. Find Your Strengths
To add greater focus to your job search, identify your greatest strengths, and look for positions that are the most likely to be a good fit. If you need help identifying your strengths, consider using a strength assessment tool.
5. Learn New Skills
Utilize free resources, such as podcasts, free e-books, blogs and videos, to learn something new or hone a current skill that directly relates to your industry. You might even create a side project using your new skills that you can include in your portfolio.
6. Volunteer Your Time
Volunteering for a cause you believe in is a great way to find purpose and avoid the job search blues. Plus, you can make valuable contacts, and the experience helps to fill the employment gap on your resume.
7. Complete Informational Interviews
Holding an informational interview with a company that interests you is a great way to gauge the requirements, expectations and responsibilities of your desired role. Set up the interview, and remember to prepare a list of questions for the person you are interviewing.
8. Work on Your Interview Skills
Don't wait until you have an interview coming up to sharpen your interview skills. Brainstorm and practice answers to common questions, and conduct mock interviews with a friend to practice body language and other nonverbal cues.
During your job search, pay extra attention to your finances to ensure you stay afloat when money is tight. Examine your budget to see if you can cut out any unnecessary costs, such as expensive cable packages and magazine subscriptions.
Being stuck in a job search rut can be disheartening, but hope is not lost. With a few simple practices, you can get your search moving again and get closer to finding a fulfilling job.
Photo courtesy of Gualberto107 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net