In late June of this year, I found myself on the wrong end of company restructuring. Without notice, I was forced to regroup and calculate my next career move. I set my sights on joining a start-up or small business in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada . Although I heard time and again that the job market in the area was ultra-competitive and lacking in quality employment, I was optimistic that it wouldn’t be that hard. Over the following four months, I learned just how hard it was. Here are some best practices I realized along the way:
Develop a Routine
Without a daily routine, I would probably still be unemployed. I began my search in the heart of the summer; it was easy to drop everything and head to the beach on a nice sunny day (which I did once or twice), but that meant potentially missing out on an opportunity. To develop a routine, it’s important to introduce some structure to your day: I used my girlfriend’s schedule and the gym as anchors to staying on track. I would wake up and drive her to work then head straight to the gym for an hour. It helped me get the juices flowing mentally and also got me out of our apartment. From there, I would come home and get online or go directly to a collaborative workspace (for me this was usually Volta). I would also pick my girlfriend up from work, giving me a particular window of time to get stuff done before spending the evening with her. Long story short, create a sense of urgency by establishing a routine.
Read Industry-related Material
I’m by no means a champion reader, but I read two books over the past four months: Predictable Revenue and Sales Acceleration Formula. Both related to my field of sales and were recommended to me by Ardi Iranmanesh, someone I respect in the tech industry. Reading will help you stay mentally prepared to talk shop during interviews and further hone your craft; in my case, it gave insight into how SaaS companies build highly efficient sales organizations. Also, don’t underestimate blog posts and articles, which can be good lead-generators as they frequently mention companies that might not be on your radar.
First, and foremost, don’t be afraid to use LinkedIn to network: the platform was built for the job-seeker. If a connection can introduce you to a potential employer (or, if that connection can introduce you to someone else who has a connection to that employer), take advantage and reach out! That being said, network in person as much as possible. If you make a connection on LinkedIn and they’re in your area, grab a coffee with them. I had many coffee meets that snowballed into other connections and avenues to explore.
Take Advice but Stick to Your Guns
Most people have some experience with job-hunting, and this lends to everyone telling you how you should look for a job, build your resume, and who you should talk to (kind of like what I’m doing right now). My advice is to hear everyone out, and then take the advice away to think critically about whether or not it makes sense for you. At the end of the day, people are just trying to help, so don’t take it the wrong way and shut down on those around you. Being unemployed can feel like the elephant in the room, and you know questions are coming when you walk into a family dinner or you’re catching up with friends. Be open about what’s going on and it’ll help you stay sane throughout the process.
Remember, all you need is one yes. Don’t be discouraged by the no’s. Keep pushing until you get what you want.
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