Looking for a job is a job in and of itself. After all, like a full-time job, there are deadlines, items to prepare and even presentations (some might call them interviews...) to be made. And on top of all that, it takes a long time to actually land the role, so those performative actions tend to stretch on and on, increasing the mental load.
Wouldn't it be nice if you could reduce the panic and administrative headaches that job seeking inspires? You can!
Conducting a proactive job search, even if you're happy in your current role is a strategy that can minimize stress, improve skills, increase happiness and even help you advance your career. Let's get into why..
1. You'll be ready for if (when) economic or personal changes happen
As the Greek philosopher Heraclitus once noted, "Change is the only constant in life." One day you might love your job and the next ... you might be considering a change.
Downsizing and industry contractions are not predictable. If you are always conducting a job search, the likelihood is that you'll find something faster if you're affected.
While changes in the economy are a major motivator, there are also new, positive opportunities to consider. For example, artificial intelligence (AI) has opened many doors to job seekers and someday you might want to grab one. If you aren't performing a regular passive job search, you could miss out on an exciting role that didn't exist before.
And of course, priorities change. When you grow your family, relocate or experience any other major life shift, there may be a better fit waiting in the job market. Better pay, benefits and work-life balance are all on the table for those who are willing to seek them out.
2. Your application materials will always be ready
There are lots of articles out there about the best time of year to look for a job and the best places to look for a job, but a better idea is to be always searching, just in case! New job requisitions open up for all kinds of reasons and while there are better times of the year and prime spots to find roles, they might not apply to you specifically.
Recently, we wrote about how you can thaw out your candidate toolbox. In that article, we talked about updating your materials, working on your online profiles, obtaining fresh references and more. However, if you maintain at least a light level of job search activity constantly, all of that will happen naturally.
There are a host of items that you need to keep updated, but small, ongoing changes are a lot easier than ones that have to happen under tight deadlines. Here are some useful tools that will help you make sure that yours are top-notch:
Pro-tip: Proof is the name of the game in some industries. In addition to the standard items like profiles, resumes, cover letters and references,take the time to refresh your online portfolio or website if it's applicable to the job you're hoping to earn.
3. You can diagnose your own skill gaps (and fill them!)
Skill gaps can be a barrier to employment. In some cases, employers need people who can hit the ground running and if you don't have the key skills to do so, it might mean you won't get the job. While some jobs will train you, others can't or won't, but that doesn't mean you can't get the job you want.
After all job interviews where you don't earn a role, try to ask the recruiter or hiring manager why. If you start seeing a pattern in any missing skills, make an effort to fill them by taking on additional training outside of work.
According to BambooHR, finance and business, manufacturing, technology and telecommunications are fields where skills gaps are widespread. If you're interested in one of those fields, consider connecting with a recruiter who can advise you on training that might make you more competitive.
Even if you aren't in those industries listed above, ongoing professional improvement is important. To do that, take advantage of these five ways to upskill:
- Take online courses - There's no shortage of them and some are free!
- Attend virtual events - Conferences, product updates, networking events and more can be experienced in the comfort of your own home.
- Find a mentor - One way to learn more about your industry is to regularly engage with someone who knows the kind of work you do (or want to do).
- Build your professional network - You can do this in person or online! Just make sure to focus on forging a connection, as opposed to selling yourself.
- Read books on topics related to your career path - New books are written every day and many of them can be listened to in the car or when using public transportation by downloading them to an e-reader or cellphone. You can even borrow ebooks and audiobooks from the library.
4. Your interview skills will stay sharp
While it's not a "use it or lose it" situation, your interview skills can get rusty with a lack of practice. Stay at the top of your game by interviewing at least a few times a year. Even if you don't take the role, you'll be ready to interview well when the perfect one pops up.
Pro-tip: Do you want to rock your next interview? Review these five tips for nailing an interview. And remember, sometimes "easy" questions can get you in trouble, so prep in advance for those kinds of curve balls.
5. You won't lose anything by browsing...
Have you ever window-shopped for a new outfit? Sure you have! Looking doesn't mean committing, so there's no harm in seeing what's out there. It's important to look frequently so that you can follow your dreams and further your career.
Taking action in advance of finding your next perfect job means that you can apply better and faster. If you're already prepared, take a look at our open positions. Beacon Hill is standing by waiting to help you.