Here’s how to be an effective job hunter

By Hannah Kingston

Monday September 21, 2020


What makes an effective and successful job hunter?

When it comes down to it, it’s perseverance, it’s also changing your strategy when your current method isn’t working. As Einstein says, “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”, if you have come to this article, you may be in the process of trying to nail down a job but are struggling, maybe you want to see if there are tweaks that you can make to your current approach.

As with all things, there is always room for improvement and your job hunt strategy is no different.

Here are 12 ways to be an effective job hunter

  1. Set out a weekly routine
  2. Apply in blocks and take regular breaks
  3. Work smart, not hard
  4. Hope for the best but expect the worst (within reason)
  5. Network and lean on contacts
  6. Write a professional memoir and edit as necessary
  7. Ask peers to offer critical feedback on your current CV
  8. Practice interviews with someone who has done it before
  9. Research and list ideal organisations, not roles
  10. Target potential employers across different channels
  11. Use this time to upskill
  12. Stay positive

Set out a weekly routine

Setting a weekly routine is important, whether you are currently employed or unemployed. Look at your role as a job hunter as a professional one. Set out your goals. Maintain KPIs. Monitor your progress.

It’s hard to move the dial if you are not keeping an eye on your output. If you are currently employed, consider working on compiling applications in the evening, sleeping on it, re-reading in the morning and hitting send when hiring managers are checking their emails in the morning.

If you are currently unemployed, plan out your day, make the job hunt a 9-5 day. Write out a timetable including breaks for exercise, meals and coffees. Enjoy the free time and properly put the head down during the scheduled time.

Ultimately, if you want your applications to land, you need to put the proper time into each application. It’s time-consuming but if you want it, you will work for it. Setting out a weekly routine helps you to maintain your focus.

Apply in blocks and take regular breaks

Everyone at some stage of a job application process has felt an urge to hit send when you know that the application needs more work.

Maybe it’s human nature to want to see a high quantity of applications go out instead of a small volume of high quality ones. If you apply for jobs in blocks and take regular breaks, you will find this urge to decrease. You need to hit the reset button to overcome the feeling of just wanting it out of the way. Work in forty-minute blocks, use a timer if it helps but make sure that you are getting that essential time away from the screen to help keep your mind clear.

Work smart, not hard

On the note of quantity vs quality, only apply for the roles that make you feel excited. It is a fruitless task to apply for jobs that you don’t really want. It’s a waste of time, headspace and energy.

Don’t rush into a job search and start blanket sending generic CVs in the hope that someone shortlists you. You need to work smart, not hard if you want to land the role you really want.

Hope for the best but expect the worst (within reason)

Rejection happens. It doesn’t feel nice but you can’t let it dampen your spirits. Sometimes by the time the sting wears off, you realize that the job probably wasn’t the one for you, the hiring manager was probably doing you a favour!

To help take rejection, you need to look after yourself outside of your job search. Make sure that you are getting enough sleep, exercise and fresh air. The hunt can be stressful at times and you need to make sure that a few negative emails slide off your back as opposed to contributing to a self-doubt spiral.

Network and lean on contacts

Network where you can, and lean on contacts for leads. In saying that, you shouldn’t approach your contacts until you have a very clear idea of what you are looking for or they will be left unsure as to how they can help.

LinkedIn is a great tool for networking, there are plenty of free professional events that you should consider attending. You never know who you could meet that could help propel your career forward.  85% of people find a job through networking and 70% of people find a route into their role through someone who currently works there.

Write a professional memoir and edit as necessary

Write an unfiltered professional memoir outlining every single skill and experience you have attained. This work doesn’t have to be for anyone but yourself, but it can help you to guide and personalize future applications. The effective job hunter has the ability to establish their unique selling points and identify how they could apply to future roles.

As years go by, it’s easy and common to forget projects you have worked on and skills you have developed. If you have your “professional memoir” to revert back to, it will make the process of relating your skills and experiences to your job applications.

Ask peers to offer critical feedback on your current CV

Getting a trusted peer to place a harsh and critical eye on your CV is essential for your success. Get someone who has decent editing skills and industry experience to do their worst and you will benefit from it.

If you are applying across a few different industries, try to build up a panel of people you trust to tell you whether or not your CV variations have the X-factor.

Practice interviews with someone who has done it before

If you have a contact who works in recruitment or HR, now is the time to call them in on a favour. Brief them on the roles you are applying for and ask them to hold a practise interview with you. Take it seriously and pretend it’s the real deal.

Basic errors can lead to missed opportunities so you want to rule them out now rather than later.

Research and list ideal organisations, not roles

If you are working full-time, you will spend one-third of your life at work. You need to make sure that the passion is there. An effective job hunter identifies the industry and sector they want to work in, not the role.

If you have a huge interest in healthcare, you will likely not be the right fit for an industry related to construction, even if the organization has roles that relate to your skillset.

Instead of trying to twist and turn yourself into industries that match your experiences, look out for the ideal places that you would like to work, and then set up job alerts. Going further than that, why not reach out to their recruitment department with a CV? If a position becomes available, you have already made that connection.

Target potential employers across different channels

Between social media, recruitment platforms and agencies, there are so many avenues that you can explore to get your next position.

Take an omnichannel approach and set up job alerts across different platforms, also apply to jobs through different platforms. The more you engage with, the greater the reach you are creating for yourself.

Use this time to upskill

If you are exclusively job hunting and are not currently employed. Use this time to upskill, there are so many ways you can develop and grow new skills without having to break the bank.

Stay positive

Time as a job hunter can be tedious but it can also be extremely exciting and rewarding. Stay positive, this is a great time for growth and development in both your personal and professional life.

The right role may not be in front of you yet, but it’s right around the corner.

Now read: 10 ways to upskill in your current role

Now read: What to do if you have been made redundant | 7 strategies to bounce back 




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