What's holding you back from your job search?


sign what's holding you backIf you’ve been actively looking for a new role for a while now and you feel like your job search is stalling, read the latest advice from Renovo Careers to find out what might be holding you back.

Looking for a new role is often described as a full time job. For those entering the current job market it can be a shock how competitive it is for each and every vacancy. Identifying a relevant and appealing opportunity in itself might take a while, never mind the process of competing against a plethora of star quality candidates. So how do you make sure you’re approaching it in the right way and not limiting your chances of securing your dream job? Here we look at some of the common barriers to job search success and how to overcome them.

Do you really know what you want?

One of the first things we would ask is whether you are clear about what you are trying to achieve. Jobseekers with clear goals are more likely to succeed than those with no plans at all, because goals drive you forward, reinforce what you truly want and help you focus and commit. Knowing what you want allows for a more targeted approach and will suppress the urge to just apply for anything.

It’s important that you don’t rush in and fall into the trap of just looking for the same job elsewhere. Be honest with yourself and take some time to step back and consider whether this is actually what you want to pursue or whether you should take the opportunity to consider your options and the different directions your career could take going forward. This may involve undertaking a process of self-evaluation, looking at your ambitions, priorities, long term goals, skills, experience and values. It may be that this is an ideal time to make a change and to pursue a new career direction.

If you feel positive and passionate about your future direction, it will give your job search focus and momentum. If you are not entirely bought in to the process, or are disengaged in any way, you won’t be truly committed to finding that next role. This will help when talking to recruiters, they are more likely to be able to help you if you have a clear idea of what you want to pursue.

Knowing your aspirations is the first step towards identifying how you are going to reach them. It’s important that you maintain focus throughout the entire process.

Are you in control?

If you have been made redundant, or have been out of work for a while, you may feel like you are not in control of your current situation or that it is beyond your control. As part of this process there are many things that you are going to have to accept are going to be out of your control. This includes things like the job market itself, the fact you may have been made redundant, how quickly a recruiter or employer will respond to you, what you are going to be asked in an interview, why the employer chose to hire another candidate etc. Focusing on these will keep holding you back; focus on the things you can control and that includes commitment to the job search, consistency, attention to detail, being proactive, keeping positive, looking after yourself, setting small goals like updating your LinkedIn profile and aiming to connect with ex colleagues and associates. All of these things will make you feel more positive and in control.

Set aside time for your job search. Follow a schedule and set yourself achievable targets. By completing small attainable tasks in an allocated timeframe, it will minimize the feeling of being overwhelmed. It’s unrealistic and unproductive to spend all day, every day searching for jobs online.

Is your routine holding you back? When are you most productive? Are you more energised in the morning? Concentrate your efforts when you are in the zone! It will maximise efficiency and you’ll feel more positive about your job search.

Are you being unrealistic?

We’ve all been there, you see a job and think ‘I can do that’ and you fire off a CV and wait, and wait and then you feel pretty disheartened when you receive a rejection email or don’t hear back at all.

Be honest with yourself and ask if you have the right skills and experience for the job, do you meet all or just some of the criteria? Does your CV reflect the experience required? Would a recruiter be able to see that you are good match?

If you are not sure if you have the right skills and experience for an advertised role, pick up the phone and speak to the recruiter or employer handling the position to find out more information.

Don’t waste time applying for roles that you are not equipped to do. Concentrate your efforts on roles that are a better fit and more suited to your priorities and goals.

Are you starting to feel negative about your job search?

Job searching can be an emotional rollercoaster. One minute you feel excited by the prospect of applying for a job you know you’d love, the next you can feel demotivated and defeated. Successful jobseekers do what they can to maintain a positive attitude.

Being unemployed is daunting and if you allow yourself to harbour a negative attitude, it could adversely affect your job search. As hard as it might be to feel optimistic at this point in time, try and be positive when making applications, attending interviews, when setting goals etc., as this will shine through. Remember first impressions count and recruiters and employers will look more favourably at those with a positive enthusiastic candidate more favourably than a candidate who appears defeated and lacks energy. Surround yourself with positive people who encourage and support you.

Do you feel de-motivated?

Finding your ideal next job could take some time, so you must have realistic expectations and a plan. You will undoubtedly experience times of frustration and feel that it’s taking forever to find your next role – but you if you have a focussed approach and a positive attitude it should be easier to keep persisting with your search.

Handling rejection can be hard, it can make you feel disheartened and this impacts how motivated you feel. Don’t allow your feelings to take over, take a deep breath and move on. Learn from each encounter and use it to your advantage in your next job application.

It’s hard not to take rejection personally, if you have prepared fully and you did your best, there is nothing more you can do. It’s always useful to try and get feedback, which can provide reassurance of what you are doing right and also advice as to how you could to improve your performance next time.

Keep setting yourself small objectives and targets and reward yourself when you achieve them. No matter what, keep going – you will get there.

Do you need to try a different approach?

The current job market is fiercely competitive. It’s particularly daunting to those who have not had to look for work in the new digital age, or in a market with less opportunities and more competition.

A successful job seeker is adaptable and open to new approaches such as networking and using social media as part of their job search. 70% of jobs are now filled through networking or word of mouth referrals. You must think about the current financial climate and understand that employers are looking to save money in all areas which includes the recruitment process.

The techniques you have used in the past may not now work so be open to trying a new approach, embrace new technology and step outside your comfort zone.

Are you just being re-active?

Jobseekers need to actively seek out opportunities not just by visiting online job boards, but by utilising a variety of proactive methods including contacting friends, colleagues and calling upon their professional network as well as by making direct approaches to target organisations.

Successful jobseekers are also proactive when they are responding to advertised vacancies. Calling the recruiter and having a discussion with them about the role allows you to introduce yourself, build rapport and it’s more likely that the recruiter will remember you when you send your CV over.

You could try speculatively approaching companies that you want to work for and networking through LinkedIn. Finding roles that aren’t advertised takes time and effort, however, it is one of the most effective methods that can result in you finding a role faster than if you were just responding to adverts.

Are you under-prepared?

It’s no good finding the ideal role and then failing to even make it to interview. You need to spend time tailoring your CV so that you have a better chance of making the shortlist. Making an impact at interview is crucial; employers are looking for candidates who can have a positive impact on their company. Successful candidates will do their homework on the organisation, the key staff, their business plans and analyse the job description and person specification thoroughly. They will have considered the questions they might be asked and have practised their responses (out loud). They know what they want to ask the interview and feel confidently prepared before they set foot through the door.

Being able to sell yourself effectively is a skill in its own right. It requires confidence and self-assurance. Successful job seekers ensure that they are full prepared in advance, which makes them automatically feel more confident, in control and they then have more chance of standing out at interview and making it to the next stage or securing the role.

Don’t under-estimate the level of commitment required in order to secure your next job. With a clear understanding of what you want to achieve, a positive outlook, dedication and a flexible approach – you can and will find what you are looking for. Securing the job requires thorough preparation and an ability to sell yourself effectively. Don’t let anything keep holding you back from getting your dream job.

Renovo is one of the UK’s leading providers of outplacement and career transition support. We work with both organisations and individuals to support all their career transition requirements. If you would like to understand how Renovo can help you please call 0800 612 2011 or email info@renovo.co.uk

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