Most people don’t consider a job search a fun activity. That could be one of the reasons most of us don’t do it very often. And when we do, we dread it for six months, procrastinate for six more, complain about it every day during the process and then pray we never have to do it again.
Except, guess what. The era of lifetime jobs has long passed. You’re likely to need to conduct a job search several times during your career. You can read elsewhere in my blog for how to get down to serious work on your search. Here is a good place to start. Today, we’re going to look at ways you can make the search more fun. That way, you might persist a bit longer, make a more concerted effort, and give yourself a better chance of success.
Start a blog
An important part of your job search is being considered an expert in your field. However, it’s the old “If a tree falls in a forest” question. If no one knows you’re an expert, how will they find you to hire you?
A blog is a good way to be found. I’m not going to get into the technical aspects of blogging. The main thing you need to do is find a platform that is straightforward enough that you know you will continue to use it.
What does a jobseeker blog about? Hint: Not your job search. That’s your private business. You don’t want to broadcast the fact that you’re job hunting, first because your current employer would likely frown on your efforts, and second because there is a huge bias against active job seekers.
So, you write about news in your industry, how you would approach problems inherent in your field, and answer questions posed by others who do what you do. You may find you enjoy the blog enough that you’ll keep up with it even after you start your new job.
Jobseekers often feel lost in the crowd during their search, and in some ways they are correct. We hear recruiters and hiring managers talk about the volume of responses their online postings elicit and wonder how anyone ever survives that trial by fire.
One way is to let your individuality shine. I’m not talking about chicken suits or billboards here. If you wouldn’t do it at work (or in front of your grandmother), don’t add it to your job search strategy. I’m talking about a little imagination. What could you do a bit differently?
I wouldn’t suggest a gift for the interviewer because that could be seen as a bribe. Instead, what if you brought flowers for the front desk admin before your interview? Sign the card with your name and Candidate, Marketing Manager, for example. Word will get around.
One candidate performed a magic trick at the interview. I don’t think that would go over well if it’s a distraction, but what if it were part of a presentation? Say you were demonstrating how you would make a certain company problem disappear? A sleight of hand would be a memorable introduction to your presentation. Who doesn’t like magic?
Scramble the process
When you get to the interview stage, an employer is likely to call your references. What if you beat them to it? You could ask a reference to call the hiring manager to put in a good word for you. It saves the employer time and shows your influence on someone important to your process.
Tell a story
Turn your elevator pitch into a 30-second story. How did you get into your profession? What keeps you interested in it? What is your most amazing professional moment? Is there a story in there that beats the boring way most of us have learned to give an elevator pitch? Use it!
Some of us need that carrot out in front of us to keep us heading toward the goal. In a job search, the ultimate reward, of course, is a job you love and want to keep forever. When that goal seems far off, and you feel your attitude slipping, it helps to encourage and motivate yourself with rewards for incremental victories:
- If I make these five phone calls, I can take a half-hour bike ride. (That’s my favorite.)
- When I finish this revision to my cover letter, I can play one game of solitaire.
- When I land an interview, I’m going to celebrate by going to a movie.
Just remember that food and alcohol are not recommended as rewards.
Sometimes, the trick to maintaining your job search mojo is keeping it interesting. Don’t give up; just use your imagination.
If you’re fresh out of imagination, contact me right away. One of the rules at Workwrite is that job searches are fun. Let me help you find ways to reinvigorate your search.
Image credit: Taymaz Valley