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  • Writer's pictureSteph

Tips for shortening an extended job search

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Finding hope and strategy along the way

If your job search is taking longer than you'd like, you're not alone. This is an unprecedented job market that can truly feel soul-crushing. First, give yourself some gentleness and self-compassion. There are factors out of our control - and there are also things that can be done to potentially shorten a job search so you can get into that great new job soon! It's very important to be mindful of any strong feelings such as self-blame, shame, self-doubt, despair or hopelessness. These feelings are understandable and deserve heartful attention. Depending on their nature, frequency, intensity, and duration, it may be beneficial to seek help from a career coach, mentor, or trained mental health professional. Tending to our well-being during a job seach, especially a prolonged experience, is vital, self-respecting, and one of the most strategic & compassionate things we can do for our present and our preferred future. If you have been struggling or know someone who has for more than a few weeks or at any point in the process, please reach out for support.

Here are a few tips and ideas to help shorten extended job search:

Refresh your resume and LinkedIn profile, ideally with a skilled career coach.

As someone who has looked at thousands of resumes, there are key things that can be done to strengthen your resume and LinkedIn profile. AI is also a part of the applicant screening process and there are things you can do to create an AI-friendly resume. While securing a job is not 'only' about having a stellar resume, taking a fresh look might help increase your chances of getting more interviews.⁠

You'll want a compelling summary highlighting your expertise and skills that set you apart, while emphasizing the talents you enjoy using. Remember to start each bullet point within your work experience sections with an action verb, and try not to repeat words within a section - screening software likes word variety and scores on that. Keep your resume to 1-2 pages with a clean format for easy readability.

Apply to jobs that match your background 80-90% - and jobs posted within the past week.

This may mean you apply to fewer roles; it also means you're maximizing your time. If you're switching careers, there are ways to highlight your skills and experience, to more closely match the jobs you apply to.⁠

If you spot a job opportunity that you love and don't have all the required skills, you can still apply; customize your resume & cover letter to show how you match the role as best you can. Sometimes those applications can lift our spirits and callbacks are always possible! Just manage your expectations and treat it as a stretch or a wild card.

It's also important to apply to recent job postings, so that you can be included in the first wave of candidates. Applying to opportunities posted within a few days or a week also helps avoid applying to jobs that are already actively interviewing or considering other finalist candidates.

Take time to look up who the potential hiring manager is and address your cover letter to them, using their name.

This extra step is crucial. It's always better to use someone's name in a cover letter than a generic To Whom It May Concern. It shows you took the time to do your research. Then, for opps you love, and after you apply to the role online at the company's career site, use LinkedIn Premium to send a brief message on LinkedIn including a copy of your resume and cover letter. They may or may not respond (sometimes company policy prevents them from doing so) but it can be a way to help get seen. (Send one short note & do not follow up - move on to other opportunities.)⁠

By the way, a hiring manager is the person who will the position will ultimately report to (e.g., your future supervisor). This is different than a recruiter. To identify or make a best guess at who the hiring manager is, for the purpose of addressing your cover letter, read through the job description for who the position reports to (e.g., 'this role will report to the Senior Vice President of Production'). Then, you can type in the name of the role & company and do a reverse look-up on Google or LinkedIn to find out who that person is. If that is not listed, you can also guess who the hiring manager might be by looking up something like 'Vice President of Finance' if it's a managerial finance role, for example. It's about making an extra effort for your best estimation.

Keep talking with people.

Just a friendly reminder, not all positions are posted on job boards, and information gathering and getting introductions can help bypass the traditional process.⁠ Conversations also add humanness to the process and can be incredibly inspiring!

Start with people in your personal network of friends, family, and mentors along with past colleagues and positive supervisors. You can also leverage you alumni network.

Consider your everyday activities, too. Talk up the people in your group fitness classes, at the gym, in your hiking or improv group, as well as parents of your kids' friends while waiting in the carpool line or at PTA meetings. Religious activities or other community volunteering and social events/groups can also be wonderful ways to have organic conversations about the exciting new direction you're heading in.

Be a great listener, sparkling conversationalist, and really make it about connecting, learning about the other person, sharing a little about yourself, and cultivating a positive relationship.

Keep up the self-care!

Make time for sleep, exercise, meditation, time outdoors, and spending time with pets, friends, and people you love. Create and cultivate a sense of community to feel supported during this time. Fuel the tank!⁠ A job search can take a huge toll physically, mentally, soulfully, emotionally, and even spiritually. Doing regular self-care to rest, recharge, and restore sustains our ability and motivation to continuing taking positive steps on a job search.

This clarity of mind and more optimistic outlook colors our view in a valuable way, allowing us to reach out for help and support, brainstorm more efficiently, be open to new ideas with more of a growth mindset, identify multiple possibilities and things to try, and gives us the strength to persevere. Feeling more calm also helps connect us to our intuition and inner wisdom to keep moving in directions that feel authentic to us.

Most importantly, including a regular self-care practice as a core part of your job search, cultivates great energy and mental acuity for when it comes time to interview for positions, negotiate salary, and evaluate job offers.

The tide will turn! Keep going in the direction of your preferred future. A new job awaits.

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