Patience and Determination: Getting into Job Hunting Mode

After a vacation or holiday, it can be difficult to get back into the groove of things; it’s common to feel lethargic and unmotivated after a week or two of freedom. The Christmas season is a prime example of how we can be thrown off our natural rhythm. Of course, buying gifts for the whole family and racing around from one social gathering to the next is exhausting, and this makes the “holidays” markedly less relaxing than a beach vacation in Cuba.

Whether starting a new semester of university or getting back to work, most of us have spent the last two weeks trying to regain some semblance of normalcy. But what about those of us that are unemployed (or underemployed, for that matter)? I’ve discussed perfecting your resumé and creating a perfect cover letter. Now I’d like to talk about the job hunt itself, and some things to keep in mind when getting out there and selling yourself.

If you’re looking for a retail job to tide you over until something more substantial comes along, you may choose to take the old-school approach: print a stack of resumés and distribute them as you walk from place to place. In this case, you’ll need to:

  • Dress to impress: wear business attire; no running shoes or hats; and don’t wear too much perfume or cologne.
  • Get an early start—managers tend to leave earlier than their employees. Although you’ll have a better chance of encountering a manager on a Friday, use every day to your advantage.
  • Be fully awake and alert. Drink a coffee if you need one.
  • Be friendly, yet professional. Give a firm handshake, maintain eye contact and be polite. However, don’t be overenthusiastic.
  • Learn the manager’s name and write it down so you can recall it later.
  • If you don’t receive a call within a week or two, follow up by phone with the potential employer (if you wait longer you will only hurt your chances of landing a position).

If you’re looking for a job in a specific field, you may choose to search job boards or other online resources for opportunities that meet your criteria. If this is your method, keep these tips in mind:

  • Double-check that your resumé is up to date, and be prepared to write some top-notch cover letters. Draft a cover letter outline that you can adapt to each position.
  • Cover as much ground as possible. Let your LinkedIn connections know that you’re looking for a job, and let friends, family, and other contacts know as well—you never know what can surface from a quick email or a two-minute phone call.
  • Project confidence, but never self-entitlement.
  • Try not to be too picky if you can help it. It’s never wise to put all your eggs into one basket.
  • Make follow-up phone calls or write follow-up emails a week or two later. This not only reminds a potential employer of who you are, but it also sets you apart from the masses and shows that you are enthusiastic and committed.
  • Don’t get discouraged! You may not land a job right away, but if you dedicate a generous amount of time and effort to the job hunt, it will all pay off eventually.

Since wrapping up my latest freelance gig, I find myself in need of a new source of income to tide me over until more work is sent my way, so I’ll be applying many of these tips to my own situation. Job hunting requires a little bit of patience and a lot of determination, but if you treat it as a full-time, Monday-to-Friday job, you’re bound to land work sooner or later!

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