5 ways to fix a stalled job search
Stalled Job Search? Tips and Tricks to get you out of your rut
So, you've decided that you want to change your job. You have sent off loads of resumes with suitable cover letters; You may even have had a few interviews. But nothing. Either no good news or no news at all. Your efforts are tanking and you have no idea what to do. But don't panic all is not lost. You just need some help to fix a stalled job search.
Here are some tips and tricks to get out of your rut
There are a number of places a job search can go off the tracks and you have to pay close attention to where that happens.
1. Lost in cyber space
If you are not getting any response at all and are lost in the CV black hole, this means dialing back to square one and some ruthless self analysis. Looking for a job is your job especially if you are unemployed. If you are working you have to make sure that you prioritise and devote as much time as you can. Messing around on Facebook doesn't count. Many people convince themselves that they are productive when they are just busy. Start keeping a proper record of your applications to track your progress. You can use Excel or any other resources or a fee paying professional platform such as Jibber Jobber.
It is time to prepare to use Facebook for job search, not just for fun
It also means you have to take stock of your key drivers by doing some inner reflection. Many people actually try to look for a new job without even basic thought.
- What is motivating you to move on? What didn't you like about your old job and what changes are you hoping for in a new one.
- What is your longer term vision and immediate goals?
- What is your strategy and do you have a plan to achieve that?
Now is also the time to be brutally honest about the reasons you are procrastinating or holding back or simply getting it wrong. Check if you are weak in any elements of the job search process. Maybe your CV, LinkedIn profile or interview performance needs a bit of a tweak. People who are in this zone generally need professional help. But if you are struggling in any aspect - invest in getting support.
2. No calls for interview
A weak, inconsistent or confused message can result in no interviews and a stalled job search. Look back with this new lens you now have and mark off how your CV matched the job advert. LinkedIn obligingly do this for you if you applied through LinkedIn. Don't be deterred if you don't meet all of the criteria. That is a gender trap. It is important that you meet at least 50% of the requirements and these should be hard skills.
Your CV and cover letter should be adapted for each specific job application, using language that will resonate with the recruiter or hiring manager, so your commitment to their mission and values is impactful. Use really strong and powerful language in every stage of your application. 3Plus has a Power Word list you can download here.
There is a lot of debate around cover letters. Always address the main pain points in the advert and make sure that you showcase where and how you can add value. You have to demonstrate that you are the right fit for the company and that you are enthusiastic and passionate about what you do.
Download our 3Plus Free Power Coaching Podcast: Why all women need a strong LinkedIn profile
3. Cut after an interview
Looking back on your interview performance can be challenging. Dorothy Dalton Career Coach says: "I always advise anyone who has had an interview to spend 5 minutes in reflection immediately afterwards. You can record a voice note if that's easier or jot down a few remarks either in the old school way or on your phone. Reflect on the rapport you established with the interviewers. Did you convey your key core message well? if not what happened? Were you persuasive about fitting in with the values and mission of the organisation? How convincing were you about your achievements and the potential contribution you could make?"
It's not always easy to discern from body language how the panel received your interview performance but there are tells. If interviewers ask questions around salary and starting date, they can be positive signs. Any penetrating questions to find out what you can offer are also a plus. If your interview ends summarily then that is a good chance you missed the mark.
If you get a reject letter then ask for feedback to find out where your job search stalled. Sometimes the HR contact will be willing to help you especially if they sense you have potential.
4. Low-ball offers
It happens that you jump through all the hoops and when the offer finally comes you are disappointed. It could be that the salary is low or there is some other element which doesn't meet your expectations. Remember do not be afraid to negotiate. Most company have a little bit of negotiation room in terms of financial compensation. But take a look at other benefits which may not add monetary value but which could make life either easier or add value. This could be around better job title, flex or remote working or professional development opportunities. Remember, benefits do not count for pensionable earnings and could impact your longer term financial well being.
If there is no possibility to improve then you need to take a strategic look at the value a stint in this company will give you. It could be a stepping stone to something else, or a signal to move on and keep looking. We are currently in a candidate driven market so there will be other opportunities.
5. Weak network
Looking for a job takes time. The average job search is 6-9 months, so make sure that you maintain momentum and get out there to meet people and find out what's going on in your market. if your job search has stalled make a commitment to redouble your efforts, or perhaps take a more strategic approach. We all think we are networking when what we are really doing is attending an event and having a chat. It is still the case that many jobs are not advertised and the only way to get onto peoples' radar is to reach out. This can be in person or on line. This is a good way to pick up tips and market intel and get some solid introductions. Network referrals count for 31% of all hiring decisions. It's important to follow up.
You can always look for a job search buddy, join a career club if there is one in your area. But most importantly - don't wait and stagnate!
If you need help with your job search and career strategies Contact 3Plus to arrange a career strategy coaching session
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