What do a job search and a road trip have in common? A few things: Doing a little research beforehand will shorten their durations, they both sound much more fun than they actually are, and no matter what, both journeys will contain unexpected roadblocks.
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While we can't help you answer your burning road trip questions (sorry for the tease!), we can offer you advice on getting past the top four job search roadblocks:
Roadblock 1: I Don't Have Time for My Job Search
Embarking on a job search is stressful, especially if you are juggling a full-time job while beginning your search for a new one. Most of your days are jam packed with professional and personal responsibilities already. How are you supposed to find the time for a job search?
Make time. Okay, that doesn't sound very helpful. Whether you are working as you search for a job or not, schedule a time every day to sit down and work on your job search. It can be only 30 minutes if that's all you have, but making time consistently will impact the length of your job search tremendously. You can also save time by choosing the top two or three job search boards for your industry and sticking to those when browsing.
Roadblock 2: Did I Apply for This One Already?
You have committed to your job search and are applying consistently to every interesting job opportunity that comes into sight. But wait – is that the job you spent 20 minutes applying for yesterday? With jobs getting reposted on multiple boards and channels, plus the easy one-click apply methods, it can be hard to keep track of your progress
Get organized. It doesn't have to be anything fancy, but find a way to stay organized that works for you. A spreadsheet, a notebook dedicated to your job search, or a job search dashboard like JobHero are all helpful organizational tools. Log each application and its progress so you don't waste valuable time.
Roadblock 3: I Apply for Tons of Jobs and Rarely Hear Back
Each time you fill out an application, you are sure that you're the perfect match! As the days go by, though, you get few or no responses. Why are your job search efforts going unnoticed?
If you feel invisible to hiring managers, you are not alone. Most job postings get hundreds or thousands of responses, so many companies use applicant tracking systems to help find the top candidates. The thing is, ATSs screen resumes according to keywords. If your resume doesn't contain those exact keywords, the hiring manager won't ever see it. In order to get past an ATS, you need to tailor your resume for it.
Roadblock 4: I Clam Up During Interviews!
You've heard back from a hiring manager about your dream job! She wants you to come in for an interview, but your nerves have a nasty way of getting the best of you during interviews. How will you make the best impression?
Come prepared. Most often, interview nerves are the result of feeling ill-prepared. While interviews are meant to be conversational, you can (and should!) still do your homework for them ahead of time. Use interview question apps to quiz yourself, research the hiring manager to help conversation flow, and be confident in your knowledge of the position and company.
Like most good road trips, the destination to which your job search leads is well worth the time and effort it takes to get there. Start out with a clear mind, anticipate the roadblocks along the way, and you will get there without breaking too much of a sweat.
James Hu is the founder and CEO of Jobscan.