How to Job Search Successfully

Whether you're looking for that first job; interested in finding a new company to work for; or have become unemployed, you will always find this part of the whole process stressful and time-consuming - especially when you don't feel heard by some (if not most) of the employers you are applying to. 

Let's try to make that process a little easier for you. 

So, back to the drawing board we go. Your first step is to plan. When we say plan, we mean start from the beginning. Plan your day. Plan your week. Plan all the time you will be dedicating to your job search. Structure your time well to ensure that you are fully focused at the time of your job-searching. If you have life commitments (which everybody does), then ensure that you structure your time around those commitments. You won't get maximum focus if you are distracted by your surroundings.

"What is the recommended dose of job-searching hours to apply to my week?"

"What job-searching method should I use?"

"If I walk to businesses in my area and hand out my applications, that could take hours every day."

It is hard to address how many hours to put in every day as everybody is different and everybody's attention span is different. Joseph might be able to focus for four to six hours per day on a computer screen, while Janina can only manage three hours per day before she begins to drift into dreamlandWhat you need from every stage of the application process is attention, dedication, and enthusiasm. If you lose these tools, you won't give your application your complete energy. So, let's say Joseph puts in six hours per day, five days per week, and unfortunately he doesn't receive any call-backs. Would he feel that he is wasting his time? More than likely he would feel disinterested and bored at the thoughts of doing it all over again with the possibility of being unsuccessful. 

Best practice would be to put in a minimum of one hour and a maximum of two hours per day for five days per week. This would keep interest high and allow you to persevere through the unsuccessful applications. You need to keep in mind that a lot of job-searching will very rarely be a one-stop shop where you apply for one job, get a call-back and then an interview is arranged. Perseverance is crucial in every aspect of job-searching and while we appreciate that it can be tough going, you will need to be able to roll with the punches when you don't succeed. As we note in There is No Such Thing as a Failed Interview, you won't get every single job you apply for and that's okay. The reason we fall is to learn how to get up. Take this advice with you if you feel your motivation is taking a hit.

When you are in the midst of your two hours' job-searching, make sure you use the time wisely. Avoid sending generic applications as they will not receive good responses (if any).

So let's say that Joseph and Janina are searching again and they both meet every day to send off some job applications. They both finish their job-searching at the same time and leave their computers. Janina found two vacancies in which she was extremely interested, and she applied; while Joseph made fifteen applications for positions he found. The following week Janina tells Joseph she got two calls for interviews and she asks Joseph how many calls he got. But Joseph hasn't heard anything from any of the fifteen he applied to. How could this have happened?

When Joseph applied for the vacancies he found, he uploaded a generic CV as part of his application. He presumed that because the roles were similar but in different companies that this would be okay. He did this for all fifteen vacancies. Janina, on the other hand, explored the companies in depth and dug up a lot of information to use in her CV and Cover Letter. She spent time and effort creating tailor-made applications, which is why she only applied for two jobs in two hours. She kept her focus and enthusiasm high and used her time extremely well. 

So, when Joseph had been boasting that he made fifteen applications, he actually wasted two hours of his time and, more importantly, he wasted those opportunities as they were not as strong as they should have been and he will not be able to apply again. 

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