11 NO-NONSENSE TIPS YOU NEED TO READ NOW
Struggling to regain your focus after the Christmas break? Know you need to get going, but can’t work out how? Or have you started — and run out of steam already? Whether you’re at home all day, every day or doing a stop-gap job and looking for something better, these 10 tips from Tanya de Grunwald — Graduate Fog founder and author of How to Get a Graduate Job in a Recession — will give you the jump-start you need…
DON’T just start
First, prepare a proper plan. I don’t care what it looks like, that’s up to you — just design something you know you’ll actually use. Remember, it should include clear, actionable steps. And nothing is set in stone. This thing is your plan, so it’s up to you to constantly assess what’s working and what isn’t, so you can tweak and refine it as you go.
DO expect your mojo to come and go
“Treat your job hunt like a job!” say annoying people who have forgotten what it feels like to be unemployed. The reality is you’ll have good days and bad days. Accept it — that’s fine. Having said that, there are lots of things you can do to maximise your output (see below). One bad day is fine. A week of bad days isn’t. Nip it in the bud before you lose motivation completely.
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DO chart your progress
Planning what you will do is great — but make sure you note the results you’ve had too. Why bother logging all the employers who never got back to you? Because it’s encouraging to see how far you’ve come and how many applications you’ve made (even the ones that didn’t go your way). When you feel your job-hunting stamina flagging, check the chart to see all the hard work you’ve put in. Be proud of yourself. Take a deep breath and press on.
DON’T be sentimental
If you haven’t heard back about a vacancy for a month, consider the application dead. Grieve for 60 seconds, then suck it up and move on.
DO ditch what’s not working
The biggest mistake job-hunting graduates make is to repeat again and again (and again!) strategies that aren’t working. Seriously people, STOP. There is more than one way to job hunt — applying to advertised vacancies is just one. You should never, ever get to a situation where you’ve sent out 100 CVs and not had a single interview. Either you’re applying to the wrong jobs, using the wrong techniques, or your applications need more work. Work out what’s going wrong, then fix it.
DO repeat what IS working
Yes, okay — clearly nothing worked that well (or you wouldn’t still be job-hunting). But if you’ve been searching for a while, I bet there are some job boards that you noticed yielded more responses than others. Likewise, in different industries you’ll find different job-hunting tactics are more effective than others (attending networking events and sending speculative applications may be more effective than applying to advertised vacancies for example). Look back and analyse any successes you’ve had, however small. What can you learn from these mini-triumphs? And can you repeat that strategy again?
If you’re doing a stop-gap job while you look for something better…
DO ring-fence two nights a week for job hunting
It’s January. Nothing is happening. You’re skint — and it’s raining. If you’re temping, block out two evenings a week to knuckle down and get on with your job hunt when you get home. I don’t want to hear that you don’t feel like it, or that you’re tired after a day at work. Nobody is going to do it for you. JFDI.
If you’re not working at all…
DO have a word with yourself
Spending endless days job hunting on your own isn’t easy (I know, I’ve done it). However, there are loads of ways to boost your productivity — so if you know you have a tendency to slack off, get tough with yourself. Get up at 8am to be at your desk (or kitchen table) at 9am. Don’t take long lunch breaks. Do switch off Facebook. If you’re not a mornings person, buy some nice breakfast treats and strong coffee to lure you out of your pit — and get outside as soon as possible to soak up some light (experts say this wakes up your brain).
DON’T be mean to your parents
They’re trying help — and if you’re living at home, they’re doing you a big favour. Resist the temptation to slide into stroppy (or sad) teenager mode — or they’ll respond by slipping into nagging parent mode. Once you’ve prepared your job hunt plan, give them the edited highlights and say you’ll keep them updated once a week with progress. Knowing you’re on the case will instantly ease a lot of their worry (which is what is making them annoying right now).
DO be mindful
Had a good day? Don’t just call it a fluke — work out why so you can repeat the formula. Likewise, if it was a dud, take a few minutes to work out what went wrong so you can do things differently tomorrow.
*Product placement alert!*
DO borrow a tenner from your mum
Sorry for the sales pitch… but my book “How to Get a Graduate Job in a Recession” is still only £9.99 — and most parents we’ve spoken to say they’d be happy to fork out a tenner to help their struggling graduate offspring, so if funds are running low ask them for a loan. And don’t forget, I’m so confident it will work that I’ll give you your money back if you don’t find a job after you’ve bought it (no questions asked). I still haven’t returned a single copy (Yes really!) Click here to buy it now on Amazon