What to do when job searching isn’t working

5 Strategies for When Job Searching Feels Hopeless

According to the latest research, finding a job right now is the hardest it’s been since 2022 - or earlier. For example, we recently worked a senior copywriting job that received over 600 applications. There are so many reasons that contribute to this issue, from decreased budgets to higher competition to the decreased demand for workers—even though new jobs have been added to the labor market each year! If you’re frustrated, feeling hopeless, or just straight-up burnt out on job searching, it’s no wonder. Today, we're focusing on some actionable steps you can take when the classic job searching and applying online isn’t working.

Tip 1: Change your Mindset: There will Always be More Jobs

As we write this, the US added over 300,000 jobs in March alone. There is no shortage of jobs, period. There may be a shortage in the exact job you're looking for, but it’s time to shift your mindset from believing there is “only one job” for you and remember that the job market is abundant with new positions posted every day. Relax into that realization and notice that you are not stuck or that you’ll never find a job—you’re merely just between things right now. You will find a way to make money through your network, even if you find something short-term, as a freelancer or part-timer. If you’re worried about money, look into ways you can budget and save. Stop mindlessly clicking and scrolling and instead go for a walk or reach out to someone, like a therapist, if you need extra help. When you feel recharged and ready, take better control of your time with the next few tips.

Tip 2: Reassess your Career Direction

Perhaps you’ve already done this (if that’s you, feel free to skip to the next tip). But in situations where you can’t control what’s going on out there (like this one), it’s always helpful to come back to what you can control—your thoughts, your goals, and leaning into your desires. Start by answering a few questions:

Inspiration can come from job descriptions, but only after you’ve done some soul-searching and discovered what you truly want to do. After you’ve done that and perhaps brushed up on some skills, update your website, resume, portfolio, and socials to reflect your new, highly specific career direction and newly acquired skills.

Tip 3: Stop Mass Applying and Get Specific with your Search

Look, we’ve all been there: rage applying to 100+ jobs we’ve found on Linkedin every day, just praying for someone, anyone to take notice. This is not a productive use of your time, nor is it helpful to any hiring manager who needs to sift through applications. Stop clicking and start creating a very specific outline of your desired job. A few specific questions to consider:

  • Which industries need your expertise?
  • What does the “right” company look like for you? How big is the company? What are their values? 
  • What are your responsibilities?
  • What are your non-negotiables around responsibilities, salary, and benefits?
  • What qualities does your dream manager have?

It takes work up front to figure out what your dream job is first before you reach out or apply. Because once you get specific, you will know immediately which jobs and companies are right for you and which ones to skip. You will be visibly confident in yourself and your search, too, once you have set your target requirements for a job and stick to them.

Tip 4: Create What You Want To See In The World

You might already know exactly what you want to do, but you haven’t seen the dream job description yet or have found the path that leads you there. If this is where you are, you need to get off the internet and make something! This is a great opportunity to get inspired and create the projects you wish existed in the world. Tune into your curiosity and make the intangible tangible. From designing a new, helpful app to writing poignant blog articles about a particular interest, these dream projects are perfect for adding to your portfolio. They will showcase your expertise and your passion, helping you stand out amidst others in your field. They also provide you with a cold pitch once you do find a company that supports the work you do! After you’ve created a project or two that you’re especially proud of, share it far and wide, especially with influential people in your field on business social media websites like LinkedIn or Alignable. Anyone interested will take notice and you’ll be a lot closer to finding collaborators (aka, future coworkers). 

Tip 5: Meet Up In Person

Due to the pandemic and remote work, it's been tough getting together in recent years. Many of us aren't used to meeting up in person—but if you want your circumstances to change, you need to get back out there and meet new people. Getting face-to-face contact and conversation ensures that people are more likely to remember you. Think of it as your guaranteed interview before a job interview. Networking is never easy, but you can find ways to make it fun and beneficial for both of you. Offer to buy a coffee or lunch for their time. Think bigger than one-on-ones, too: conventions are back. So are job fairs and educational events, like book talks. Grab your wingperson if you’re shy and get back out there, dressed to impress with a digital portfolio and plenty of business cards in your pocket.  

We hope these tips are helpful during this frustrating time. Know that every day brings new opportunities and there are steps (like the above) that you can take every day to change your circumstances. We are here for you, whether you’re looking for a job or want to chat about current hiring trends with a recruiter. If that’s you, we’d love to hear from you.

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