“If the game is designed for you to lose, don’t play that game. Play a different one.”- Seth Godin-Linchpin Book
Looking for a job can be a tedious and time-consuming task. Especially for active job seekers or those who’ve lost their jobs abruptly. As recruiters, we meet people who have been searching for jobs for a month to even years. And yes, while looking for a job is in itself a fulltime job, here are a few things you can do to keep yourself productive, prevent you from getting frustrated and stressed, increase your employability chances and also develop some of your other work-related or non-work-related skills that could improve the quality of your life. It’s also important to remember that this is a sales play. Just like businesses who have to work hard to get consumers to pay attention to their products, you are your best marketer & have to set yourself apart in a world where millions of people are looking for jobs. While we also advise recruiters to ‘Get out of the building’ to seek exceptional talent, we advise you to do the same too. Here’s how;
Internships are short-term training opportunities provided by employers to ongoing students or fresh graduates. This is with the aim of giving them real-life job experience. While most internships are unpaid, some companies offer a small stipend or salary. Even if you’re on the lookout for a full-time position, interning somewhere can be beneficial in helping you build networks, learn job-related skills and sometimes even get hired fully since most companies prefer hiring internally than externally. Check our latest piece on how to get the most out of this opportunity.
Volunteering for free or paid work can prove worthy if you show your interviewer how it has helped you grow and gain certain skills or networks that are relevant to the employer. It can also help answer certain questions about employment gaps. It also shows your employer that you are a selfless human being who can dedicate time to a charity or things that don’t necessarily have a monetary value. This is a great quality to have as an applicant and will increase your chances of selection while building your network as well.
Start a business
There are high chances your money is running out very fast when you’re jobless. Why not start something that can pay you? Do you have any skills that someone would be willing to pay for? If so, try it out. Use the resources we have shared before on personal awareness using tools like Ikigai to show you what your key strengths are & what you can offer the world. You may discover you don’t need a full-time job after all! It’s as simple as posting out a message on social media or letting friends and family know you’re available for XYZ such kind of business. The internet is also filled with many free resources on how to start a business & get you started. Consider starting up consultancy and tap into your previous work networks or new contacts to dig into your professional competencies & offer better services to clients who may need them. Use the 3 FS- Friends, family & fools. A lot of successful companies have been formed by former colleagues or schoolmates. This brings us to the next opportunity.
“Projects are the new resumes”- Seth Godin
Talking of opportunities, millennials & Gen Z are giving rise to the gig economy. Everything in our generation now is tokenized and broken into bits. And so is work. This is one of the HR trends predicted for the next 10 years. Google here is literally your best friend for anything. Just look up freelance platforms such as Kuhustle or Upwork to get started. Taking freelance jobs can help you gain more skills and references than you would get at just one company doing one thing. It will also serve as a money generator. Some people have even gotten full-time gigs this way. Including many consultants who work remotely for companies, they’ve never seen. You work on your own terms and have the freedom to do other things as well such as…
Instead of waiting on recruiters, package yourself as an undeniable product they just can’t refuse & CREATE DEMAND.
Attend or Speak at Events
Opportunities are connected to people! Your network really is your net worth. Remember also that not all jobs are advertised online. And you may meet a person who will connect you to a job that’s not even existent yet. Meeting someone in person gives you a better chance to sell yourself as a candidate without the bias of interviews and the nerves! Tools such as Eventbrite or Facebook or Meetup.com contain a wide range of activities daily that suits your interests. Instead of lounging all day, take some time to go attend events, tradeshows, conferences, or seminars. You will learn new things and meet potential colleagues or employers. Go further than just attend, to organize & speak at these events. You’ll be setting yourself as an industry expert & you just never know who could be in the audience. Technology also allows you to do this online for free now with tools such as Facebook Live.
Use Social Media
A 2017 CareerBuilder survey found that 70% of employers now use social media to screen potential hires. Though this trend is picking up slowly in Africa, it can still serve as a way to get noticed easily. Recruiters are people too contrary to popular belief. While browsing on the latest WorldCup trends, your post on how to reduce machine learning bias could just pop up on their feed! If you’re going to spend over 50% of your day online, be sure to use it wisely. You may just never know who’s online. Be intentional about your online brand and presence. Make every post work for you. In addition, social media contains tonnes of info on specific areas depending on who you follow or the topics you follow. Twitter, for instance, has valuable networks and info that sometimes is just too much to absorb! Ask yourself which tools are most people using to connect & share and how are the successful ones doing it. Youtube could work for some topics like beauty while others like Instagram work for photographers & entertainment. But you have to be willing to put in the work with regard to content creation & engagement for it to work. Check out our earlier article on the changing face of professional networking. You can also use social media to get more info about companies you’re applying to as well as networking with former alumni for referrals & their reviews.
Join a community
Communities, online & offline, provide you with an easy way to meet new people & get access to valuable job information. So, find out what communities exist within your area of interest. Is there a professional association or Whatsapp Group? Maybe there’s a monthly meetup event or conference. Facebook groups and Whatsapp groups, as well as other online community tools like Slack, can be an easier way for you to find out what’s going on within your profession and connect with like-minded individuals. And don’t just be a silent observer. Participate actively as well.
Blog, Vlog or Write & Podcast
While you’re learning and absorbing this new info as you job search, a recruiter may come upon you on Medium, Youtube or a newsletter! Become an expert in your field by reading extensively and also sharing on your subject matter. Podcasting is also an upcoming trend to share your knowledge & expertise with a wide audience. Recruiters know that 75% of hires are passive candidates, meaning they are not the ones applying for 10 jobs a day. Go for offline publications as well such as newspapers and magazines. While relaxing at home in the evening or during traffic, a person can be impressed by your piece on sales tactics and just decide to reach out about a job opening! Video has also become popular over the years as a way to share. Do try it out using free tools to get started. And while you’re at it…
Get a hobby
No one wants to hire a robot. Show the recruiter that you have a wide range of activities that keep you busy and your brain toned. Hobbies can also keep you busy and out of trouble. They are also a great way to network. Your new band member for your weekend shows may just be Head of Coca-Cola Africa! Some people have even turned their hobbies into full-time businesses when people wanted to pay them for it. So if you like baking, take some Instagram pictures next time. Get your phone out and start a Youtube Channel. A new business may just come your way and you may not need that job after all.
Most of the interview questions you will be asked these days are personal and require you to know yourself well in order to sell yourself. Your time off work can be a good time to create new friendships, take personality tests, meditate, do yoga, read, travel & explore and get a deeper understanding of yourself. This will reveal new things about you while also helping you sell yourself better. We’ve talked about the importance of stillness in helping you succeed in your career here & here.
Learn new skills
Learning & development is now one of the biggest business opportunities for startups. According to the new Linkedin Learning Report, most people prefer to learn at their own time and pace. Online learning tools offer such freedom. Some are free while some are paid. Some great tools for learning online include Founder Institute, Hubspot Academy, Codecademy, Linkedin Learning, Slideshare, Khan Academy, Udemy, Coursera, etc. There are even some that are specialized for just management or technical skills. If you are more visual, Youtube contains loads of videos and tutorials that are absolutely free! Combine these with offline training events & seminars to reskill & upskill yourself and keep yourself top of the talent pipeline lists.
All in all, there are numerous things you can do while still looking for jobs. The key is to keep yourself busy & productive, positive-minded, networked, on top of new trends, and maybe rich as well. What other things would you recommend? Let us know in the comments below! All the best.
Don’t forget to check out our article on https://medium.com/jobonics/reasons-why-you-may-not-have-been-picked-for-that-job-that-are-not-your-fault-ea0382636e90