applicant shaking hand of interviewer

Your Dad made sure that your insurance policy covered orthodontia. It took many visits to your dentist in Taylorsville before you achieved your sparkling smile, the one you’re wearing now. It reflects your confidence as you wait for your name to be called for the job interview. You thought to yourself, “Your right Dad. The uncomfortable sacrifices all those years is finally paying off. Thank you!”

For many job applicants, attending an in-person interview is still terrifying. For recruiters, it’s the process that ultimately separates the wheat from the chaff.  And before you even get to an interview, you’ve already sent dozens of applications to prospective employers. Job hunting is tough and tedious. Here are some tips to help you along the way:

The Job Market

The number of job openings to curriculum vitae (CV) ratio is 1:250. That’s 250 CVs for every vacancy available. The waiting room for the interview will have four to six candidates. And only one will get the job.

Timing

The timing could be different for every individual and dependent on the stage of your career.

Here’s a basic rule: The best time to look for a job is when you still have a job. If you fought with your boss or a colleague and your impulse is to quit, rethink your decision. You know how competitive it is out there. Weigh everything first against your decision to leave. Perhaps there’s an opportunity for a lateral transfer that you can explore.

The point is, looking for a new opportunity could be more practical while you still have a job.

The Hunt

applicants sitted in the waiting area

Treat job hunting like a full-time job. If you think sending out 20 applications a week is enough, you would be mistaken. Because the next guy who is just as unemployed as you are is sending out hundreds of applications a week.

Explore various online channels from job boards to social media sites. Tap into your network of friends and former colleagues and let them know that you are back in the market.

Most importantly, fix your CV. Hire a professional writer if you can. If you’ve been invited for an interview, then your CV has done its job. Make sure that it’s perfect. But remember that you still need to stand out.

Your Strategy

Your strategy will depend a lot on your state of mind. If there’s clarity in your head, you’re in a good spot. For example, you want to continue working for a bank or an insurance company, but you just want a change of employer. Or you want to continue practicing criminal law, but just in a different city or a different firm.

It’s more difficult if you’re confused. You need to do a lot of self-reflection. Talking to a professional career advisor or life coach might be an option that you can explore.

Here are some key questions that might help you in defining your strategy:

  1. Do I want to stay in the same industry doing the same job but in a different organization?
  2. Do I want to use my knowledge, skills, and expertise in a different industry?
  3. Am I seeking progression from my current role to a higher role regardless of the industry?

There are in-between permutations of these questions, but the important things are finding your focus and exploring all avenues available to you. Talk to a friend or a colleague.  They offer an objective perspective that might help you gain clarity.