A regular conversation that crops up, especially with those firmly in the middle of their career, or beyond, is that it’s so hard to find another job.
And, this is often backed up by experience or “proof” – “there’s just nothing out there”, “last time I was looking for a job it took months (or years!)”, or “I’m actively looking and applying, but not getting anywhere”.
Any of this sound familiar? And why is it so hard to find a job?
I was scrolling the socials recently when I bumped into one of those motivational quotes that make you pause and think… perhaps even nod in agreement.
It wasn’t new or groundbreaking… in fact, I’m sure I’ve even mentioned here in the past. Essentially the message was… “there are people less qualified than you, doing the things you want to do, simply because they believed in themselves and took action”.
And, it’s the first and last part of this statement I wanted to dive into today.
The real reasons it’s so hard to find another job
Finding your career stalled or at a crossroads where you want or need to find another job can be daunting. Perhaps you’ve been thinking about it or looking for a while with no success. Or maybe just the thought of getting started is overwhelming and it’s easier to put things off until later.
Ironically, many employers right now are reporting challenges filling roles due to a shortage of talent.
So what’s going on? With jobs available and talent in demand, making a career move could be viewed as a thrilling adventure, rather than a soul-crushing test of endurance.
The truth is, if you’re finding the process of getting your career unstuck difficult, there are typically three factors at play:
- You don’t have a clear plan of action. And before you protest, let me be clear… searching and applying for roles is not an effective plan.
- You’re not clearly articulating your unique professional value. You are a valuable commercial asset and you need to communicate that to others.
- You’re the world’s best kept secret. It’s important you’re able to stand apart from the crowd to engage the attention of hiring managers.
Let’s face it… figuring out and achieving the right next step for your career isn’t a walk in the park. Unfortunately, somewhere along the way, we’ve bought into the myth it’s a simple process – submit a resumé and wait to be called for an interview.
Obvious spoiler alert… it’s just not that easy.
Finding your next role might seem daunting, but it’s not impossible. First, you need to believe you already have everything you need to make it happen. Then, create a proactive action plan to help you find and achieve the right next move for you.
Your action plan to find a new job
1. START WITH SELF-AWARENESS
Before you get started, take the time to understand who you are, your personal and professional priorities, and what gets you out of bed in the morning. When you feel stuck or stalled, it’s easy to lose sight of what you wanted from your career in the first place. Reflect on your strengths, weaknesses, and career goals. Understanding your values, interests, and skills can help you identify the types of roles and companies that are the best fit for you.
2. MINGLE LIKE YOU MEAN IT
This doesn’t mean stalking people, setting up bogus meetings and asking for a job. Building relationships with people or connecting on LinkedIn are invaluable when it comes to finding the best ways into an industry or organisation. Seek out people who already have your dream job and ask if they’d be prepared to chat with you about their experience. If you make a positive impression, they may actively share opportunities with you. And the more people you know, the more opportunities you’ll have.
3. UPDATE YOUR SKILLS & EXPERIENCE
Depending on the magnitude of the career move you want to make, you should consider investing time to polish up your skills. Take courses or attend workshops to develop new skills that are in demand in your industry. Gain “hands on” experience you might not already have, in a volunteer capacity or by getting involved in projects outside your business area. Learning news things and gaining new experience are also well known confidence boosters, setting you up to put your best foot forward.
4. STEP INTO THE SPOTLIGHT
It’s essential to have a clear understanding of the unique professional value you have to offer. Think about how you can position yourself as an asset to potential employers. Don’t wait for a job to pop up in a search. Developing your personal brand helps you stand out from the competition and enables you to reach out to companies that interest you, even if they are not currently hiring. Introduce yourself, express interest in their company, and ask if they would be willing to meet with you.
5. REMAIN POSITIVE
Things might feel tough before and as you get started, but it doesn’t need to stay that way. Job searching can be challenging, and it’s essential to stay positive and optimistic. Surround yourself with your support crew – friends, family and a coach or mentor – and take care of your physical and emotional well-being as you work through the process. Remember you’re not going to be the right fit for every role and that’s ok… missing out is not failing, it’s learning, and sometimes it’s a timely escape.
Finding the right career move takes time and effort. But it’ll be so worth it when you find that perfect role you enjoy and feel proud to talk about.
Ready to take to change up your working life but not sure where to start? I’d love to help! My self-paced online course, Recharge Your Career, is designed to give you the tools you need to transform your professional life.