Is it possible to speed up your job search when the hiring decisions lie in the hands of employers? 

Yes, there are definitely things you can do to increase your odds. 

5 ways to speed up your job search

Taking control over what you can control is what I call a proactive job search. Too often job seekers over-rely on posted jobs to drive their search and as a result, end up feeling discouraged and unmotivated. 

It’s time for you to restart your job search with a purpose and a diversified strategy. 

1.  Invest time upfront in finding your focus

By understanding your strengths you will be much more likely to find the appropriate opportunities, as opposed to randomly applying for anything that looks close. 

Finding your focus means learning about you and learning about what you want to do next. I have seen job seekers waste precious time searching without really knowing where they are going.

Here are some questions to help you find your focus: 

  • What are you good at doing?
  • What skills/knowledge/experiences do you want to continue to use regularly?
  • What value will you deliver to future employers?
  • Why do you do what you do? 
  • What type of company do you want to work for?

When you can answer these questions, you can clearly write and talk about yourself with greater certainty. That makes it easier for everyone to understand. Most importantly, the answers help you create a stronger resume, LinkedIn profile, and a powerful answer to “tell me about yourself.”

2.  Know your values

Finding the right “fit” isn’t just about the perfect skills match. You’ve probably seen a job posting and thought, “This is the perfect job for me”.  But are you really? What do you know about the company, the team, and your potential manager? 

If you begin now to get clear about what’s important to you about your next job (things like workplace attitudes, management style, and communication types) you can more specifically target companies and potentially weed out those that are clearly not a good fit for you. 

For example, if you know you want structure, a clear career path and structured training, you probably would not be happy in a start-up with 15 employees. It’s likely there won’t be a linear career path, clearly identified roles or any training. This isn’t bad or good, it’s just different. 

You will want to discover as much as you can about the company before, during and after the interview phase to ensure that it aligns with your values. 

3.  Manage your time well

Without structure, it is just too easy to get distracted. Don’t get sucked into searching job boards. While applying to jobs feels productive, it doesn’t always result in an interview. There are many actions for you to take that will help move your job search forward.  

You want to block time weekly for important job search tasks. Allocating time on a calendar is a visual way of holding yourself accountable. You probably blocked off time for important activities at work, so it’s time to do it for your job search. 

This is a list of job search activities worthy of blocking time for:

  • Networking:  One on one meetings
  • Email:  Respond to emails and send emails
  • Phone: Make followup calls, return messages
  • LinkedIn: Use LinkedIn to post updates, comment on posts, respond to group conversations, research target companies or people, write recommendations
  • Knowledge Update: Read industry newsletters, take a course
  • Online Application: Apply for jobs online
  • Me Time: Volunteer activities, exercise, hobbies or interests 

Here more information on how to create structure for your job search using time blocks.

4.  Invest in activities with the greatest return on investment

New hires come from a variety of sources according to numerous studies. What this means is that you could be found by any of these, so diversify how you look for opportunities. 

New hires came from referrals, a company’s career site, job boards, or an external recruiter, just to name a few sources. 

Tracking source of hire data from companies is complex. Often there is more than one way a candidate has heard about a job.  

The idea here is to invest your time in a variety of different activities to cover your bases and increase the odds of discovering new opportunities or being discovered.  

Key Activities:

  • Reach out to people you already know and make sure they know exactly the type of role you are looking for next.
  • Create a list of target companies you believe you would like to work for and monitor their company career page, create an alert on their career page, follow their LinkedIn page, connect with company insiders and have a conversation. 
  • Use multiple job boards such as LinkedIn, Indeed, and at least one niche job board that caters to your industry or occupation.
  • Contact several external recruiters to see what jobs they are working on. (Remember, recruiters work for the employer, not you. If you have the exact skills they are looking for, they might be interested in speaking with you.) See how to work with a recruiter to help find a job. 

4.  Don’t “go it alone”

Job search feels isolating and you may feel like you are the only one struggling. Reach out for help. There are job clubs, networking groups, career coaches, and other resources that can help you with your job search.  

This is not the time in your life to be stubborn and refuse help. You need it, everyone does. Statistics prove that those people involved in job clubs or other groups find jobs faster than those working alone. 

REMINDER: if you feel you are sinking into depression, get help. It is quite normal and almost expected that you will feel depressed, however, if you can’t shake it, please do something about it.

5.  Assess what is working and what is not

Job search will take longer than you want. Don’t beat yourself up. Conduct an assessment of what you’ve been doing and what the outcomes have been. 

If you see a decline in interviews despite a high number of applications, it might indicate that your resume or cover letter needs refinement. Or, if you’re getting interviews but not job offers, it may be time to refine your interviewing skills. 

Here are things to evaluate: 

  • Are you getting interviews for jobs you are interested in? If not, re-evaluate your resume.
  • Are you arranging networking meetings? If not, add this to your daily activities. 
  • How many jobs are you applying for jobs? Are you a good fit?
  • Are you active on LinkedIn? Are the right people looking at your profile and contacting you? 
  • Are you getting interviews but not job offers? Work on your interviewing skills.

By looking back over your activities for the past 2-3 weeks or so, where have you been successful and where have you not seen traction?

Finding a job will take longer than you want. But remember, you can only control what you do.


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