Looking for a job can be stressful and tiring, especially when you are without a job, and still have bills to pay. Having a plan will help you feel confident and on top of things during your job search and it will give you the motivation to keep going.
We have all been there, job-hunting, and I think we can all agree on this: looking for a new job is a full-time job! Job-hunting is exhausting, can sometimes be frustrating, and will test your level of perseverance and patience. Below you have five things you should always do as a job seeker.
1. Stay organized: keep notes
Randomly sending out resumes, and not keeping track of where you sent them, and whom you have been in contact with will definitely not help you in the long run. Keeping notes will avoid you having a recruiter, or hiring employer on the phone talking about a specific job with you not having a clue of which job it is about. Being a recruiter myself, I can tell you that it definitely does not give a good first impression when I am on the phone with a candidate and have to remind them of which job they applied for…
When I was job searching, I used to keep a detailed Excel sheet of my professional search. In a list, and with different columns, I would write down the name of the function I had applied for (by email or through LinkedIn), if it was a permanent contract or temporary mission, the URL link of the job description, the corporate website of the organization (if I had it), the name of the recruitment agency who had advertised the position, and the date when I had sent out my application. In the last column, I would write if I had received an answer to it or not. Whenever someone would call me about a specific job, I could just take my Excel sheet in front of my eyes and know exactly what the call was about.
Be organized, and on top of things: job-hunting is a full-time job, so you should treat your search as a 9-5 job.
2. Let your network know you are looking
I cannot stress this enough: connections and network are as important as ever when you are looking for a new job. Put yourself out there! Make sure it’s visible on your professional profiles that you are actively looking for a new job, don’t forget to activate the “looking for new opportunities” option on LinkedIn, and let as many friends, former colleagues, and recruiters know that you are available on the job market. Put yourself clearly out there so your network also knows exactly what it is that you are looking for. Sometimes you can come across a new opportunity simply by being at the right place, at the right time, or by having the right conversation with the right person.
3. Take a training or online course
Whether you want to switch career or just want to upgrade your current skillset, taking a training or online course will help your resume get noticed. Not only will it improve your resume, but it will also show a great deal of motivation and will to do what it takes to learn, and better yourself. Here in Belgium, there are numerous opportunities to have access to free trainings (and even job/career coaching opportunities) through Actiris, Le Forem, or VDAB: take fully advantage of this! Especially if you feel you could improve your level of French or Dutch, now is the time to work on your language skills. There is no secret about it: being bilingual or trilingual will open up more doors for you!
4. Build your experience
If you are looking for a job but are still able to swing it financially, it might be the opportunity to take up some voluntary work, or low-paid work. This will help build up your resume and diversify your experiences. You could also try to take up as many short interim missions as possible before landing a permanent job: this will also help bolster your resume. Making the best use of your time in this way will also show a great deal of motivation and determination to learn and better yourself when a recruiter or hiring employer will ask you what you have been doing during your job search.
5. Take breaks
While it’s important to keep yourself busy and motivated, it is also important to make times for rest, and relaxation. You will not have a success in your applications if you have to deal with too much stress and negative emotions. Don’t forget to take care of yourself: eat well, go outside, get some exercise, spend time with your friends, the secret to life is to keep everything in balance. Ever had a passion or a hobby and never really made time for it? Always thought of starting a blog, join an NGO, take pictures at a wedding, or organize events? Now is your opportunity to allocate some of your free time for that! Job searching will take a great deal of your energy, so make sure you also have activities that will give you energy and satisfaction. This will help you stay sane and healthy during the process.
What would you add to this list? What are the things you do during your job search that are important to you? I would love to read your comments!
Born to deaf parents, Belgian Sign Language is my mother tongue along with French. I am what we call a CODA (Child of Deaf Adults).
My passion for foreign languages and different cultures inspired me to pursue translation studies in English-Chinese, and obtaining a Master's degree in Communications. I've had multiple academic and professional experiences in Belgium, as well as around the world; where I resided one semester in the US, one semester in Spain and three years in China. After a full and intensive training in coaching, I started to reflect on what would be my next professional step.
After assessing and considering all my transferable skills, I started contemplating a career in recruitment, and therefore contacted Rainbow Resources Group. Learning that the organization’s values are aligned with my own values reassured me in my decision to join the team. I am now a happy member of the team, discovering a real passion for my job as a recruitment consultant!