Job searching can be hard at the best of times, but it is also something we all have to do at one time or another. Sometimes not knowing where to begin is the hardest part; other times it is breaking bad habits that we have from previous job searching experiences. Here are some resolutions to help you with your job search in 2017.
Resolution 1: Have a plan and stick to it!
Make sure you are taking time out of each day to job search. This is the first, and most common mistake that people make when starting to look for a new job. It is a myth that job searching only a couple hours a week is adequate; the reality is that you should treat your job search as if it were a full-time job. Having a set amount of time each day that you are going to dedicate to your search, as well as a list of what you want to accomplish each week, is an excellent way to keep yourself on track. Use a notebook, sticky notes or even reminders on your phone to make sure you are meeting your deadlines.
Resolution 2: Know what you want
The second most common mistake I see individuals make is not knowing exactly what type of job they are seeking. By not having a clear direction, people can start to become lost in the chaos of their job search and may start to develop bad habits when it comes to their plan (see Resolution #1 above!). Define what type of job you want/are qualified to do, and apply for those positions that are the best fit or seek specific training to achieve your goals.
Resolution 3: Have a strong resume
There are a number of different aspects of a resume that should be considered during the writing process. Employers look for a variety of things including good spelling and grammar, but, most notably, they are watching for good content. One of the most important parts of a strong resume that is often overlooked is the “accomplishments” portion. If you are stating on your resume that you increased sales at your last place of employment, place an accurate percentage along with it. For example, “ability to provide exceptional customer service which resulted in a client growth of 10% over 2 years”.
Resolution 4: Stay positive and eliminate negative thoughts or attitudes
More often than not, people are able to identify the negative in a situation before the positive. When a person approaches their job search with a more positive attitude, they can be more successful by a staggering 20%. This approach is especially key during interviews. You never want to speak negatively about a past employer or career as it will only reflect badly on you. When asked to describe a negative experience that you have had, always make sure to highlight how you resolved the situation and the tools that you used to do so. This way you are showcasing your positive attitude, rather than a negative one.
Resolution 5: Always follow up
Make sure that you take the time to follow up with the companies or organizations where you have applied so you will know the status of your application. This should be done approximately 5-7 days after you send in your application. This allows you to make a good first impression, as well as show the employer that you are interested in the position.
Resolution 6: Stay organized
Nothing is worse than having an employer call you back for a position that you have applied to and you have no idea what employment prospect it is for. When recording your job search efforts, as outlined in Resolution 1, also write down information such as the specific position title and any important details that might help distinguish the various positions. This way, when an employer calls, you have all the information necessary to answer every question quickly and accurately. Keep everything together in one folder or notebook so that you can keep track of all the information that you need. If you need a driver’s abstract or vulnerable/criminal records check to get a job in your field, try to get an updated copy prior to applying for positions. This way when you are asked if you possess all components of the application, you can confidently say yes, and provide copies if necessary.
Resolution 7: Access services
If you need to upgrade a skill or certificate to get into your field, try and access services to help with funding or even find a training provider. For example, Employment Ontario offices throughout the province have information about the different training providers available in your area, and can sometimes arrange for financial supports to help you achieve those certifications. Offices such as these are available in most provinces.
Hayley Wheeler is an Employment Consultant working for Job Skills, a nonprofit charitable employment and training agency that assists individuals with gaining access to employment/training opportunities. She has a Bachelors Hons degree in Criminology with a specialization in Criminal Justice and is passionate about working with diverse and disadvantaged populations.