How to be strategic in your job search

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Are you the kind of jobseeker who sends a CV to any job opening? Are you only relying on online job postings? Are you alone in this job search journey? Are you relying on luck to get your dream job? Are you in control of your job search process? Many job seekers go about the process without a plan. This often leaves them tired, frustrated, and even cost them time and money.  Job searching is more than just applying for a job and being invited for an interview. It is a process that requires time management, organization, dedication, and commitment for it to yield fulfilling results. Currently. The job market is tough and as a result, HR is only picking the Crème de la crème.

How do you ensure you are not lost in this crowd of job seekers? By being strategic in your job search. Whether currently unemployed, looking to change jobs or careers, effective strategies are crucial for your job search. It makes the process seamless and less intimidating. Ultimately it makes the process rewarding. Here are a few ways you can be strategic in your job search:

1.Have a strategic job search plan: Before embarking on this journey, it is advisable to have a strategic plan to determine your goals and establish how to achieve them. It is by identifying your career goals both short and long term, will you know the roles you best suited for. Career goals vary among individuals. There are people who find fulfillment in helping others, others want to gain experience in a given field, and others to increase their earning. Your career goals should be tied to your values, experiences, skills, and capabilities to better understand your talent and also further narrow down to your most suitable roles.

2. Build on job search items: After developing the plan you should then build on your job search items. This includes your CV, cover letter, portfolio showcasing your work, and social media presence. By the time you are building on your portfolio, you should already be having an idea of the companies you would like to work for. This helps in customizing your portfolio based on the value you would add to these companies and also helps showcase your qualifications and accomplishments in a unique way that is aligned to these companies’ mission and vision.

3. Use relevant networks to make your search easier;  Do not limit yourself when it comes to resources needed to help in your job search efforts. Participate in job fairs, visit preferred companies websites, Subscribe to the various job boards, send your portfolio to headhunters, engage hiring managers, etc. There are many ways you can meet your future employer. Using your networks to connect with a future employer is also how most people have found jobs. The more valuable personal and professional relationships you keep are, the better your chance of being referred to a desired role in the future. Remember at times it’s not what you know but who you know.

4. Have a job application strategy: When applying for a job, most candidates apply for as many jobs as they can find. Job search is not a number game. Take time to read and understand the job advertisement. Evaluate if you have the required skills, if not, don’t waste time applying instead look for a more suitable role to apply. Also, evaluate the Salary and work type in relation to your career goals. Be selective in your application and only spend time applying for roles that are in line with your career goals and where there is a greater chance of proceeding to the next level of the recruitment process.

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5. Be Organised. Create a list of companies you’ve sent applications to and the level you are at in the hiring process. This gives you control of the process and helps develop perspective and visualize every action. Areas that need improvement are traceable and expectations are well managed.

6. Reskill and Upskill: Be in control of your career journey by learning a new skill. Don’t be comfortable with your accomplishments, experience, and skills. Continue to increase your knowledge and skills bank through learning. This will make you more competitive and help you get noticed by potential employers. It also boosts your self-esteem which is much needed in the job search process

7. Add a personal touch: In order to stand out from other job seekers, add a personal touch to better market yourself. For instance in a networking event and you get an opportunity to introduce yourself to potential employers, let your elevator pitch be unique enough for them to remember you long after the event. Aim to stand out in your CV, cover letter, email, and in your professional connections both online and offline.

8. Follow up with potential employers: Always inquire about your application status after applying for a job or after an interview.  This keeps you present in the recruiter’s mind as well as keeps you in control of your application process. Even as you follow up, remember to remind the recruiter of your passion and desire to work for their company. 

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