By Tony MorrisonEveryday it seems like I meet another frustrated job seeker. They come from everywhere, every industry, and every career level.
Job search frustration can stop the most optimistic of people dead in their tracks. Nothing is more irritating than the feeling of spinning your wheels without making any progress.
I bet you have heard the cliche, “work smarter, not harder.” I never liked hearing it. I still don’t like hearing it. I don’t even like writing it. However, that is the best advice I can offer you at this moment.
Working smarter isn’t nearly as difficult as some make it out to be. The key is to step back and look at everything you are doing, and then consider adopting these six habits of smart job seekers: Keep it balanced
The smart job seeker doesn’t stick to just one job search method. Instead, they divide their time between research, networking, and applying. They also do not focus entirely on online job hunting activities. They typically follow the 80/20 rule, spending 80% of their time involved in offline job search and networking activities and only 20% online.
You never know where an employer is going to reach out. Balancing your job search across the board allows you to take advantage of many different opportunities.
Thinking for themselves
A common pitfall many job seekers run into is the “well, so-and-so is doing this, so I should too” pattern. When this happens, you lose part of your identity as a job seeker. What works for one person might not work for another. Your situation will dictate the best approach for you and the type of job you want. Moreover, most employers don’t want to deal with a dozen job seekers doing the exact same thing. They are looking for the one or two people who stand out from the crowd.
The smart job seeker always thinks for himself (or herself!). They offer their thoughts and insights in networking situations and job interviews. They might not fit in every situation, but a job seeker who thinks for his or herself will more often than not put themselves in situations where they are a good fit, and where great opportunities can find them.
Knowing their friends
Everyone knows that networking is valuable in the job search. Unfortunately, with social media, job seekers become avid collectors of “friends.” On Facebook, you can easily collect 500 “friends” without knowing a single person well enough to ask for advice.
The smart job seeker knows who their friends are. Additionally, they also know who their colleagues, acquaintances, competitors, mentors, and networking contacts are. When you know what role a person plays in your life, you will be able to use them the right way.
Making new connections
The smart job seeker is always making new connection, online and off. Introductions are the bread and butter of a networking-savvy job seeker. Making new connections and maintaining relationships is paramount for any job seeker. You never know who your next boss knows!
For many job seekers, the only way to get hired seems like the same sequence of steps that everyone takes. Unfortunately, many people are finding that these steps aren’t working as well as they hoped.
The smart job seeker uses creativity in their job search. If one method doesn’t work, try tweaking it before completely ditching the idea, but don’t just keep doing the same thing that doesn’t work. If your dream boss loves bocce ball, why not stray from LinkedIn and join him on the court?
The job market is anything but stagnant. So, don’t let your job search stagnate. Our communication tools have changed dramatically making everything we do that much more efficient and effective. While traditional tactics and tools (like resumes, manners, and thank you notes) have staying power, and can help you seal the deal on your dream job, nobody should follow the job search playbook from 20, 10, or even 1 year ago.
The smart job seeker is always growing. They adopt new strategies and tools early on and always strive to keep their skills and capabilities up-to-date with their industry.
What do you think? What would you say is the seventh habit of smart job seekers? Share your thoughts in the comments below! Tony Morrison is the Vice President of Business Development at Cachinko, a unique professional community where social networking and job opportunities come together. His roles include sales, marketing, and customer relationships. He focuses much of his time on helping job seekers to find their ideal job and employers to find, attract, and engage their next rock star candidates. Find him on Twitter and Talent Connection, and, connect with Cachinko on Facebook or Twitter.
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