You’re not alone. After all, many of us feel like no matter what we try, we can’t seem to generate enough interest with an employer to earn that coveted email inviting you to an interview.
So how do you get out of this rut… and get your job search going in the right direction again?
That is exactly the question we asked members of the Young Entrepreneur Council. Here are there helpful answers…
1. Look for Jobs That Incorporate One Activity You’d Like to Do Every Day
Think about one ability or interest that sets you apart, something you’d like to do every day at your next job. Then research people, companies and careers where this activity is central. It could be selling, cooking, travel, programming or anything that fascinates you. If you have multiple interests, you can do this for several activities. You may find jobs that you didn’t think of originally.
2. Break Your Search Down Into Smaller Steps
As with any overwhelming and complex task, the easiest and most productive process is to break it apart into small, independent tasks. You can’t just find a job — you need to build a process and execute on each piece daily: identifying new opportunities, checking for warm connections, submitting applications, etc. So know how many small tasks you can get done. Then feel good about the small wins.
3. Forge Relationships With Targeted Mentors
Instead of networking with dozens or hundreds of people and peddling resumes left and right, focus on building relationships with a handful of mentors in respective career fields. Then double down on these relationships to leverage introductions and connections. I believe building relationships is the key to a long, sustainable career and in life in general. Relationships last a lifetime.
4. Talk to People Who Are Already Doing What You Want to Do
A lot of jobs come through connections, so networking is key. What do you love to do? Find a way to monetize that. Track down people who do what you love. Then ask them how they got where they are. Also , adding skills to your resume is a constant for one’s professional growth. Finally, look to the future to see where your industry is going to understand which skills you need to add to your resume.
5. Build Your Personal Brand on Social Media
Find the social network your targeted industry is hanging out on. Then start networking. For example, if you want a job in graphic design, start designing cool, relevant stuff and post it on Instagram with #graphicdesign. You can do this for just about anything. Finance degree? No problem: Start investing in the stock market and creating YouTube videos on how you find undervalued stocks.
6. Slowly Narrow It Down to a Specific Focus
As an undergraduate, I was very focused on doing child welfare work in Washington, DC. It made it much easier to find my first dream job. You can easily perform the same exercise by narrowing down the industry you wish to be in, where in the world you want to work and only then a position you feel you can bring value to. Narrowing it down slowly allows you to be intentional about your search.
7. Take Advantage of LinkedIn’s Easy Apply Jobs
LinkedIn has made it so much easier to find jobs without feeling overwhelmed. You can browse its job board for Easy Apply jobs for which you don’t need to fill out individual applications. Essentially, your LinkedIn profile becomes your resume. If you feel overwhelmed by the limited amount of jobs in your city, you can also search for remote jobs. Or consider a big move to another city.
8. Create Unique Relationships and First Impressions
Gone are the days when filling out a resume and applying for jobs worked. Now it’s all about first impressions, who you know and building new relationships. So reach out to the right people and let businesses know that you know their stuff. Go the extra mile and do what 99% of applicants are too afraid or too lazy to do. This is how students will secure jobs over their fellow classmates.
9. Attend Networking Events
Students should get out there and start meeting people. Job fairs, meetups and community events are all great ways to make connections and learn more about what it takes to make it. If students can afford it, conferences and festivals are also wonderful opportunities to network and learn about industry-specific companies. Use school as an opportunity to start building a great resume and portfolio.
10. Use Twitter as Your Secret Weapon
I remember when I wanted to land my dream job. I started sending out postcards and numerous emails. Almost nothing was working, and then I realized that the only working method was Twitter. I started by sharing the messages of the key managers at the company. I admired their content and spread it further. Beyond anything else, I wanted to show them how I could make a difference at their company.
11. Look for Referral Opportunities Within Your Existing Network
Somewhere between 70% to 85% of jobs are not listed online, according to Business Insider. By applying through a referral, your friend and the recruiter will do some of the early heavy lifting to find you a position that best suits your skills. Plus, you are more likely to get a job through a warm intro. So network with those you already know at your target companies, and earn a referral.
12. Change Your Mindset About Job Applications
One aspect that tends to overwhelm students at the start of their careers is the number of applications they have to submit. So instead of looking at this phase as a waste of time, think of it as a necessary step in getting to your goal, which is a great job offer. Each application you submit, after all, will get you one step closer. And each provides an opportunity for career growth.
13. Take Time for Reflection
During an overwhelming job search, take the time to understand what truly inspires, challenges and motivates you. Listening to the suggestions of others who believe they know what is right for you is easy to do. But that can lead you astray from the career path you want. Make your own decisions. Then create your own career path.
These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. YEC has also launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.
Also published on Medium.