Updated: Mar 9, 2021
By Guest Writer, Chloë Garland
Choosing what you want to do with your life should be inspiring, exciting and motivating, but for some reason, the whole process has become something that fills us with dread. It is no wonder that most people lose motivation whilst job searching, I challenge anyone to be able to spend a day scrolling through Reed or Indeed without losing a small piece of their soul.
As a career coach for those experiencing the quarter-life crisis, one thing I focus on is helping my clients re-vamp their job search. The key to this re-vamp is to cultivate curiosity. The job search should be like conducting a research project of your own interests, or a ‘curiosity project’. It should fill you with inspiration and wonder to keep learning more. I often liken it to the feeling of getting lost in a youtube rabbit hole about alien abductions.
So how do we transform our job search from endless scrolling into a vibrant curiosity project?
Here are 5 ways you can start:
1. People NOT Screens
This is the most important rule of thumb for a fun job search. Most of us spend the vast majority of our time in front of screens when we are looking for opportunities. This method is both time consuming and uninspiring. Instead of using the internet to research different careers, use people.
Work out the different sectors that interest you and find someone in each of those sectors you can speak to. Your aim is to conduct ‘information interviews’, essentially you want to find out as much as you can from each person about their industry. It is a far more effective way to learn about industries than reading a job description. You are also killing about 3 birds with one stone: getting inspired, learning about the industry and networking.
Action: write a list of the sectors you are interested in, for each sector write down one person you might be able to speak to in those areas. If you don’t know anyone, use LinkedIn to reach out to someone cold.
2. Focus on learning
The job search can be a unique opportunity to get stuck into some learning. Some things that I suggest my clients do to learn are: reading books, staying up to date with industry news and publications (magazines or newsletters) or taking a course. By focusing on learning you are familiarizing yourself with the industries that interest you, making yourself more employable, meeting people and learning more about opportunities that are out there.
Action: sign up for a newsletter or publication in an industry that interest you and if you find a particularly striking article, reach out to the author and find a way to organise a call or a meeting. Or check out www.udemy.com to see if there are any free online courses.
3. Use Social Media
As millennials and gen z’s, we spend a huge amount of time on social media. We are natives when it comes to these platforms, but not many people know that social media is a fantastic way to find career opportunities. There are thousands of Facebook groups posting jobs across all industries and almost every single company has a social media page you can follow. Often these companies post updates on their social media pages about vacancies before putting up a formal advert.
Action: Spend some time researching (stalking) organisations that you are inspired by and take the time to follow and engage with them.
Are there any causes that you have been inspired by? If so, volunteering is a fantastic way to get a glimpse into different industries. There are countless areas that need volunteers: environmental, healthcare, teaching, fundraising, research, army, sports to name but a few! Volunteering for just a few hours a week can help you connect with people, make you more employable and allow you to get a deeper understanding of a sector.
Action: do-it.org is a database for volunteering opportunities in the UK, have a scroll through and sign up for an experience.
5. Get Help
Job searching is not something you have to do alone. You can cut the time you spend job searching in half by getting people to help you. Make sure your family, friends, networking contacts, pets and former colleagues know what you are looking for so that they can keep their eyes open for you! By multiplying the number of people keeping their ears to the ground, you are just increasing the chance of finding an opportunity. They do say that the person who will give you your next job is someone you are likely to know already!
Action: tell the people that know you best what kind of areas you are exploring and ask if they can keep an eye out for you too, also whether they know anyone you could speak to.
Bonus action: ask the people that know you best what they think you should do as a career… it is always interesting to hear what people come up with!
These are just a few of the countless ways you can re-vamp your job search. If you have your own ways to make job searching easy and enjoyable I would love to hear them in the comment section.
Chloë Garland is the founder of Quarter-Life, a career-coaching company that helps those in their 20’s work out what they want how to get there.
If you found this article helpful, read my book for lots more advice (and a few adventures!). The Radical Sabbatical is a bestselling career guide that was named the Financial Times Business book of the month 🎉
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