Be active. It never fails to surprise us the amount of people who are simply not doing enough on the job-searching front. We are not advocating wild and unfocused activity, but, yes, we do feel you should be doing something every day to advance your campaign to get a job.
• Treat it like a campaign. Imagine that you were asked to devise a job-searching strategy or campaign for someone else. What would you recommend them to do? We are often better at advising others than ourselves. Make a list of actions you will do – update your CV, contact former colleagues, investigate training opportunities. Put targets in place so that you will stay focused. It can be very easy to lose heart or direction when searching for jobs, but if you have a campaign plan in place, you know that every little thing you do is contributing to something bigger. Having things to do, specific actions to take, also reduces the possibility of your morale dipping dangerously low.
• Avoid negative people who can drag you down. If you are the kind of person who absorbs or internalises bad news, stay away from sources of bad news. It sounds simplistic, but it’s true – don’t let yourself become overly influenced by negativity in the environment. This might also mean avoiding certain types of stories in the media.
• The converse is also true: seek out positive people. We all know people whose arrival in a room has the effect of turning on – rather than off – a light. Seek them out. Live off their energy. Ask them for tips. Use them to motivate yourself: their attitude can be infectious and could be just the thing to keep you going during times of doubt or difficulty.
• Know your CV. It may be a year since you wrote CV, but you should read it thoroughly before going to the interview so you remember what emphasis you placed on various aspects of your career. The slightest hint of uncertainty will be picked up by the employer, and might lead them – even incorrectly – to wonder if the CV contains some elements of fiction.
• Use spare time to tweak your CV so that it speaks to different jobs. No CV can speak to every job, so you should build up a bank of CVs that can serve you – one for retail jobs, one for production line, one for administration. In each case, highlight the skills, achievements and work experience that are most relevant to the job at hand.
• Seek out networks that offer useful support – jobs clubs, business networks, anywhere people fraternise with the express intention of supporting each other in their disparate quests. You will find that there are many others out there in the same boat as you. And, also, you will get a boost when someone asks you for YOUR opinion or insight – just because you are currently unemployed doesn’t mean you haven’t something to offer. These networks are all about keeping your self-worth intact as you are trying to propel yourself into gainful employment again.