Job search often becomes extremely monotonous. It's comfortable to zone in on one job board that you like and just constantly apply to roles online. I’m going to give you a new way to think about it that both feels better, and works better.
How Can You Think about Your Job Search Differently?
Rather than considering yourself in a phase of “job search,” consider yourself being in a phase of “career development.” What if you were simply trying to gain exposure, learnings, connections, skills, and insights into your target roles and industries? What if you were simply trying to grow and advance? For those who are job searching and are not currently working, imagine the times when you were at a company, and you were spending time and effort outside of your day-to-day job in order to get ahead. What would be the variety of things you might consider doing?
Switching Up Job Search Activities will Improve your Mindset
Not only do we need this variety of activities for our mental health to avoid a sense of dread and boredom with the job search, but we also need to create new avenues to meet people and for them to meet us, so that you can stand out as a candidate and not solely rely on the online job boards. As we know, most people land jobs through networking.
The other key benefit to approaching job search this way is that your brain isn’t constantly in “I need” mode, where you’re constantly asking others for their help or time. Rather, by taking advantage of career development activities, you’ll be reminding yourself of your immense value and skills and what you can offer to others. This helps our mindset to be more positive, productive, and creative. This is the type of energy you want to have when you show up to networking calls and interviews. All too often, our stressful or nervous self is the person who shows up to those critical job search moments.
Approach your Time Wisely in Your Job Search
While job searching clearly has the opportunity for a lot of multitasking and a variety of activities that we’ll discuss, you want to ensure that you have an accountability plan so you can balance, plan, and prioritize your time. One of the main reasons people fall into constantly applying to jobs online is because it's one of the easiest, most familiar, and comfortable things to do. But that may not mean it's the most fruitful or productive use of time.
Try using a Google Calendar or any mechanism where you can visually document your plan for the day or the week. This goes hand in hand with setting goals for which activities you want to do, for how much time or volume, and when. The act of doing this exercise will prompt you to be intentional with your decisions and priorities, and to reduce the overwhelm.
While it’s great to have a lot of creative ideas for your job search activities, the key is prioritizing. There is no need to burn out in your job search; having balance will serve you so that you can operate at your best.
You want to be wary of “checking the box” and just doing activities to feel like you got something done. Instead, remain goal-oriented to track whether you are doing things that help you to meet the right people, identify open roles, and move through interview processes.
What are the Various Job Search Activities?
A fun hint to get your ideas flowing is to go to LinkedIn, take a look at all the filters you can use, and use each of these as ideas for what type of activities or resources are available to you.
Start by typing in keywords to the search bar that represents your target role(s) or target industries. Then, you can click on one of the filters below to see what LinkedIn can offer.
Of course, keep in mind that there’s a lot you can do to optimize your profile itself, but here we’ll explore other ways to use LinkedIn to your advantage. Also, remember that you can follow all of these tips outside of LinkedIn itself, but the filter shown here is a great anchor to remind you of the possibilities of where you can devote time.
The “People” Filter: Connect Directly with Individuals
- Of course, this filter is a great way of finding networking connections.
- Remember to search for people who relate to your target roles, target industries, and target companies.
- You can find “mutual connections” who could introduce you to people you want to meet.
- If you attended an undergraduate university, checkout your alma mater’s page, hit “Alumni,” and find warm connections who relate to your target fields.
- Set up informational calls that are purely meant to learn and build relationships, and once you’re on a networking call, you can uncover whether they know of relevant job openings or other introductions they can make for you.
- While we’re zooming into LinkedIn for this blog, don’t forget that you can also find people’s email addresses or connect via other platforms, as sometimes LinkedIn messages can get saturated, or your target connections may not always log into LinkedIn. Remember that LinkedIn is a fabulous research tool, but you may find other ways to reachout to these individuals.
- When you do connect with professionals in your target fields, always ask them which groups, communities, events, email newsletters, Slack groups, or other helpful tools they use, so you can learn about resources that way too. This is one of the best ways to learn where else to get involved, to see what people recommend and are actively utilizing, and to learn where professionals in your field are coalescing.
The “Jobs” Filter
- LinkedIn’s job board has numerous filters you can use to your advantage and of course, it is a reputable job board to utilize. Just remember, online applications are not the only way to succeed in your job search, read on to the other filters and activities that you can do to get ahead.
The “Companies” Filter: Reflect and Research Your Target Fields
- Research is an often forgotten part of one’s job search.
- Reflect deeply and clarify which types of industries and companies you care about, based on what problems you’d want to contribute to solving. What do you find interesting or intriguing? What causes do you connect to?
- Within these industries, uncover new companies or existing ones that excite you. Learn about industry trends and learn what innovative things are going on in that industry.
- Rather than getting stuck in only passively reviewing the job postings that are being shown to you, proactively, intentionally identify 10+ companies that you would be excited to work for, and go network with people who work there!
The “Products” Filter
- Try typing into the search bar any keywords that relate to your target industries or even target roles. What you may learn here is about new companies that you have never known about before. The benefit to this research is that you will identify products or companies that may align with your interests, and of course you will stay on top of new industry trends to be aware of.
The “Groups” Filter
- While I have found that not all LinkedIn groups are super active, it is worth finding a few large or reputable ones that relate to your target roles and also target industries. This is just one of many ways to build your thought leadership, build your network, and stay up to date to learn about what’s going on in your industry.
The “Posts” Filter
- Beyond job postings, sometimes people make a “post” about their open role, so you should browse daily to see what people are talking about related to your target fields.
- Another thing you can do here is engage as a thought leader. If other folks are writing about your target fields or areas that you have expertise in, chime in with a comment and share your thoughts. Or, create a post with your own thoughts to start a conversation!
- I have seen people meet other recruiters or hiring managers in conversations on the LinkedIn newsfeed. Remember, these are real people interacting where you can meet people and show your expertise.
The “Services” Filter
- This is going to populate with people who are offering services and help to other people. If you’re considering freelancing, you could browse to see how other people brand themselves.
- Or, if you feel you could use more formal job search support, checkout who may offer career coaching.
- This may be a less active place for you to look, but it's good to keep in mind.
The “Events” Filter
- This is one of my favorites! I’d suggest any job seeker join at least one event per week.
- You could join events that have to do with job searching or networking (career fairs), or you can find events that relate to your target roles or industries.
- In joining events, you can both meet people (whether its participants or panelists) and also expand your learning about companies of interest.
The “Courses” Filter
- Upskilling is a great way to learn, grow, develop, and keep a sense of productivity during your search.
- Consider if you have skill gaps based on your background and your target roles. What have you heard asked about in interviews that you feel you could use some better answers for?
- It also helps if you are pivoting to a new role or industry to show that you’ve invested time towards pursuing your new path. This proves to recruiters that you’re committed and truly interested in that particular path.
- Keep in mind that upskilling may or may not be the ticket to help you pivot, and you always want to be sure you’re going after fitting roles, though it can be the glue if you’re just missing a few areas.
The “Schools” Filter
- If you want more intense learning, checkout the schools filter.
- If you’re debating any further education that may cost you time or money, be sure to pursue researching, networking, and reflection to adequately put time into determining which program is the most reputable and worthwhile, depending on your career goals.
- You want to learn deeply what type of learning is valued by hiring managers, so you know where to focus your time and energy (i.e. hands on projects versus formal courses or training).
Your LinkedIn Newsfeed: Hashtags and Key Accounts
- Beef up your newsfeed by following certain hashtags, leaders, and companies of interest to you. This will ensure that when there are posts relevant to your professional interests, that your newsfeed will alert you to them!
- Whether you’re working currently or not, your newsfeed is hopefully the curation of your professional areas of interest so that you can stay in the know and in the conversation.
Non-LinkedIn Activities to Consider:
Slack has become a powerful, modern way for groups of people to connect. Talk with those in your network to find out which slack groups are active that may relate to who you are as a person, or your target roles or industries. Most slack groups also don a “jobs” channel where you can see peoples’ posts about open roles.
Leverage Google, Chatgpt, or even networking to find out whether there are meetups or associations that are active, relevant to your fields of interest.
Demographics-Focused Sites or Communities
Whether it's where you live or how you identify as a person, find groups and communities to meet new people. You never know who people may be able to introduce you to, even if it comes from a personal setting.
Once you identify your target roles and industries, you want to get subscribed to the right sources of information to stay in the know. There are a ton of communities out there today where their business is entirely meant to help you connect with others, learn about upcoming events, and sometimes these email blasts may even mention open roles. When you subscribe to emails that are meant for your target role, career path, or industry, you’ll be in the loop with the right information.
While this can take time and money, about once per month this is a great way to get out of your own environment, meet new people, and learn something new.
Volunteering / Pro Bono work
Especially if you’re making a career pivot, build hands-on experience that can beef up your resume to prove that you’ve already done the work you’re hoping to move into. Find a startup or early stage company that could use your help for a few hours per week. If you structure the project, then they can easily set a scope and a goal for you to accomplish in a few months time, so both parties win.
If you’re new to working in a certain area, you can charge a lower rate than other experts may charge. This will allow you to build up experience by learning while you work. Check out Upwork for this!
Facebook groups can be super powerful, large, and active – checkout groups that may relate to your areas of interest. TikTok is a great way to see videos of folks in jobs that you’re curious about, to learn more and try to clarify your path forward.
Before any interview arises, find genuine answers to interview questions. Do this without thinking of what you think the interviewer wants to hear from you, but rather to answer it just for yourself. You may find that it's a healthy challenge to ensure you’re going after the most fitting roles.
Be sure you’re learning deeply about your target roles and industries to clarify your best fit direction. This is an underrated strategic tool in your search. Don’t be fooled: having too many options for target roles doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll move faster in your job search. Be sure to quantitatively and qualitatively review what you’re doing and how you’re doing. If something isn’t working, make small adjustments every week.
To stay nimble, efficient, and effective in your job search, it requires radical open-mindedness, discipline, and self-awareness so you can determine where you need support to strengthen your efforts and thus, improve your job search results. If you’d like further support, click here to book a demo call to chat with a career coach!