We have all heard insanity defined as - doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. All of us can agree that this is not a good approach. Yet, people do this all the time when they are looking for a job. They dust off the old resume and cover letter, maybe even make a few updates, and now they’re ready to hit the job trail. After blasting out the same resume and cover letter innumerable times, and not getting a positive response, they are perplexed by the fact that it’s not working. Insanity!
Searching for a job is a daunting task, and I do not mean to diminish the seriousness of this for some people. It can be a scary and overwhelming thing when you are out of work and need to provide for your family. I want this post to be encouraging. Don’t give up! Just try something different. Here are a few practical things you can do.
Don’t give up
Although searching for a job can be discouraging at times, don’t give up. Keep moving forward, but check and adjust often. If what you are doing is not working, continue to look for different ways to approach your search.
Do your research
If you have hit that wall, and do not seem to be getting anywhere in your job search, get on the internet and look for some tips. You might find that there are some ideas that you have not tried yet. There are countless resources out there about effective resume and cover letter writing, networking, and a variety of other job search tactics. Look for things that you have not done, and give em’ a shot. I say this with a small caution. As with anything, not everything that you read on the internet is good advice. Use some common sense and evaluate if the advice makes sense. Then, try it out! These things could range from the format of your resume to the wording tense that you use. If what you are doing is not working, try something different.
Customize your approach
Don’t just use the same resume and cover letter for each job. Sure, the primary content will likely remain the same. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time. But, I highly recommend that you take the time to customize your resume and cover letter for the job that you are applying for.
At the end of the day, you are taking a couple pieces of paper (or electronic documents) and trying to sell yourself. The big question is, “what does the customer want?”. Think about that, then develop your sales pitch. Usually, the job posting will provide insight into the desired skills and competencies. The company’s website will likely give some clues about the culture, mission, and values of the organization. You can use all of this information to your advantage. When someone looks at your resume and cover letter, you want to check off as many boxes as you can. Look at your experience and skills, and figure out how they align to the job and the company. Then, make sure that you are highlighting those things in your sales pitch. Use their terminology to describe your experience. Make sure your resume and cover letter are checking their boxes and telling them why you are the right person for the job.
Obviously, you have to be honest about your experience. Do not embellish to try to match yourself to a job, or you will do more harm than good.
Put yourself out there
Some people are great at getting out there and connecting with people. In contrast, this is very difficult for others to do. If you are that person that has a hard time putting yourself out there, I would encourage you to step outside of your comfort zone. Try to build your network. This can range from getting out there and meeting people to building your social media network. Be willing to reach out to people and try to make connections. You never know which connection is going to be the one that leads to your next position.
Another good option is to connect with different recruiters (Hint: they have a vested interest in helping people find jobs). Reach out to them and let them know what you are looking for. They may already have something in the pipeline that will align with your capabilities.
If you are looking for a job and just not gaining traction, don’t give up! Do your research and try something different. Job hunting is not for the faint of heart. Roll up your sleeves, and be willing to put in the time and effort. If your approach is not working, try something different! Best wishes in your job search!