It’s a tough time to look for a job. The economic recession forced a lot of people out of the job market, with companies laying off parts of their workforce. Because of this, the competition between people looking for jobs is steep and it’s taking a lot of people longer than expected to reenter the workforce. It can feel defeating waiting for months for an opportunity while sending out so many applications. If you’ve yet to receive a positive response from your job search, there are things you can do between interviews to increase your chances of success and make you feel empowered while waiting for the right opportunity.
Here’s a surprising statistic: According to LinkedIn, 85 percent of jobs are filled through networking, not job postings. While you’re waiting for the jobs you applied for to pan out, spend time strengthening your network. Reach out to your contacts – old colleagues, supervisors, and even friends – and let them know that you’re looking for work. These people are going to fall into two categories: people you’ve kept in touch with and contacts you’ve neglected. It’s okay to ask contacts that you’ve nurtured if they know of any open positions or if they wouldn’t mind giving a recommendation. However, you shouldn’t approach contacts you haven’t reached out to in a while with an ask, because the worst thing you can have is a one-sided relationship with the people in your network.
IAW Regional Networking Summits are free to attend! Register for one of our upcoming events and you’ll get to spend time networking with women from your local area in a virtual breakout room!
2. Working on your portfolio
The best way to stand out in your job search is to show rather than tell. That’s exactly what a portfolio does. If you’re a retail manager, you may not have much need for a portfolio, but you certainly would in a field like marketing. Wondering where to start? Websites such as Behance and Journo Portfolio, for example, provide websites where you can showcase your work by simply clicking upload. There is a long list of portfolio websites out there (free and paid), so take the time to figure out which one is the best fit for you, considering price and functionality. Once you have your portfolio up, send it to a friend in your network and ask them for feedback.
3. Building your personal brand
Building your personal brand is a broad topic, which we cover in more depth in this blog post on practical tips. What you need to know is that personal branding is how you stand out in a crowd of other job applicants. It’s what makes you unique and what you can offer that your competitors cannot. There are many ways to approach your personal brand, but keeping your digital presence up to date when you’re in between jobs is crucial.
4. Learn new skills
If you have a career development plan (which you should), then you likely know what your skill gaps are. While job searching, you may have seen a job posting that listed required skills you don’t have, keeping you from applying. Now’s a good time to try to fill those gaps. Websites such as Udemy, Coursera, LinkedIn Learning, and many others provide practical skills in a variety of subjects. Whether it’s software or concepts, learning new skills can empower you during your job search and make you more competitive.
Job searching can be tough, especially when you are doing the work and not getting the responses you’re hoping for. It can feel like your future is in someone else’s hands. Following these tips will help you focus on the things you can control and make you more competitive while waiting for your dream job.