Job seekers: tips to find your ideal job without the struggle
In my line of work, I see a lot of job seekers who’ve become frustrated with the job search process. Often I see them when they’re at breaking point after sending out 100 résumés with nothing to show for it.
What they often don’t realise is that by using just one strategy to find a job (i.e. the advertised market) they’re severely limiting themselves. For many of us, this isn’t the most effective way to find work.
When you want a new job and you’re coming up blank, you’ve got to be willing to throw everything at it and try a different approach.
Here are my top tips for job seekers who want to find their ideal job without the struggle:
Be willing to do what other job seekers are not
This isn’t as scary as it sounds. It’s actually one of my favourite strategies because the easiest way to get a job. Pitching to a hiring manager or picking up the phone to invite someone for coffee, are things that most people simply don’t do. Why? They all involve some degree of discomfort.
I see job seekers spend hours on a job application but they won’t take five minutes to call an employer about a job ad. If you can get past the discomfort, which only lasts a few seconds, you will be one of the very few people who do this.
You also get to find out if the job is actually right for you before applying. Plus you’ll have an opportunity to build rapport with the hiring manager to see if this is someone you want to work for.
True story: I once called an employer about a job ad that had closed. I was kicking myself that I’d missed it. The job had already gone to another candidate but the manager told me about another role that had not yet been advertised (I got the job).
Always, always pick up the phone.
Become a serial coffee dater
I highly recommend you start asking strangers out for coffee. It may feel slightly awkward the first couple of times, but when you’re looking for a new role, you need insights from people in the industry. I also believe that way more job offers are made over cups of frothy latte than at interviews — and for good reason.
If I was going to hire someone, I would much prefer a casual coffee meeting than a formal interview, where it’s sometimes hard to get a sense of what people are really like. If you reach out to a hiring manager, many will take the time to meet with you — if you approach them the right way.
Reaching out to others for advice and insights on their experience is a sure sign that you’re a highly motivated individual, and that’s attractive to employers.
Believe in what you can’t see
One trap that’s easy to fall into when you apply for jobs through the advertised market is the belief that your job search is a zero-sum game. It’s easy to have a scarcity mindset when you’re seeing so few jobs being advertised and you know you’re up against hundreds of applicants.
The competition is real when you’re answering a job ad, but you’re not seeing the full picture. Advertised roles represent only a fraction of the opportunities that are out there.
When you believe in what you can’t see, it’s easier to put yourself in situations where you’re the only candidate under consideration.
Make it into a game
I know job hunting is a long way from being fun. But there are ways to make it more enjoyable and when you loosen up, things seem to flow a little more easily.
I learned a trick from a mentor to help you think more creatively. You come up with three ways you could tackle a goal or challenge. For example: What are three ways I could approach this employer? Prepare for my interview? Or design my résumé? What are three ways I could get this person to say yes to my request? I always come up with a lot of new ideas whenever I do this exercise.
If you do it every day, even practising with mundane things like what to cook for dinner, it helps to build your creative muscle.
Try it and see how you go!