As a career coach, I help a lot of job seekers find new employment or find meaning in their work.
Here is my no.1 piece of advice:
If you are first starting out to look for another job... understand that you and employers are at the opposite ends of the spectrum. You are both managing risk, but you are managing it differently.
Usually, you are trying to ensure you get more than one job offer. So you apply for enough jobs in the hope this will give you a better chance of getting the best job you can - the best salary, the best conditions and the best work.
You are trying to mitigate the risk of landing the wrong job. Often to do that you will go to job boards and apply for anything that fits your criteria. It’s a common go to job search strategy.
The Employer’s approach
Employers on the other hand, want to employ someone they know has the right skills, the right experience, the right attitude and the right fit. In the effort to reduce the risk of making an employment mistake, more often than not, they will look for people who are the best fit and the lowest risk.
So how to they reduce the risk? Exploring. That is, they will talk to people who they know that might be looking to move. They may even encourage them to apply formally or offer a more flexible arrangement such as a contract.
So how do you bring yourself closer to the way employers approach job searching?
Think like them.
As well as applying through normal channels like job boards, and recruitment agencies, take time to reconnect with your network to let people know you are ready to move and what sort of role you are looking for... (of course return the favour when you can).
If you are looking to change careers, talking to people in the same career is very important. Ask them about the path they have taken to get there; people love to talk about their careers, how they built them and give advice to those looking to do a similar thing. Seek connections via your networks, don’t be afraid to ask your network who they know. This could lead to very insightful conversations.
Finally, if you are finding that it is challenging to get work right, then consider taking up temporary or contract work. The added benefit of doing temporary work is that you will get to experience a wide variety of companies and roles whilst building new relationships and expanding your network.
Be kind on yourself and good luck with your job search!