Finding a full-time job isn't easy — let alone a full-time job you actually want to work. The harsh reality is that, sometimes, it can take weeks or even months to land an interview, let alone get yourself a job offer. There's a lot of competition out there!
The struggle to find a job can certainly take a toll on your overall morale, which, of course, can then hurt your job hunt. It's not fun to keep looking, applying, interviewing and getting rejected time and time again. And, at some point, you'll probably want to call it quits. But that's exactly what you shouldn't do.
So what should you do when you can't find a job? Here are nine things you can do when you're job hunting, whether or not the search is going well.
First things first, take a good, long, hard look at your resume. Is it really selling your experience and skills? Is it overcrowded with irrelevant information or, simply, too many words? On the contrary, is it lacking the buzz words that mirror the job advertisements for which you're applying? Is it unorganized, sloppy or all over the map?
Make sure that your resume fits onto one page (ideally), is clean and organized, is relevant and really sells your experience to the particular company (or companies) for which you want to work.
If you work in a field that requires you to have a portfolio, such as in writing, graphic design, photography, architecture, marketing or something else, make sure that your portfolio boasts all of your recent work. You don't want someone searching your name and finding all of your old projects, assuming that you don't really do that kind of work anymore if that's the kind of work that you're trying to get. So update your portfolio with recent and impressive work that you feel proud to share.
Let people know that you're looking for a job! You never know you might know someone who knows someone who is hiring. So make a post on Facebook or Instagram or Twitter, and definitely make a post and share it on LinkedIn. You can share a few words about your experience and the type of position you're seeking, and simply ask that, if anyone knows of any openings, they keep you in mind.
If you're trying to find a job but struggling to do so, it may be wise to take a course to hone in on certain skills for that job. Perhaps you're not landing any gigs because you don't have the same level of skills as other candidates. Even if you do have the skills, taking a class to learn a new skill set can motivate you and keep you busy in a productive way during this downtime.
Consider working with a career coach or a recruiter in your job hunt. A career coach can sit down with you and help you unpack all of the factors that may be in your way in your job hunt. They may be able to help go over your resume and cover letters with you, and they'll help you determine the best jobs out there for you, given your experiences and skills. In fact, a career coach can really help to get you thinking outside of the box, and a second pair of eyes on your application materials can never hurt.
Meanwhile, a recruiter can help to place you with a company that you may not even know is hiring. Companies pay recruiters (so you don't have to!) to go out there and find them candidates to interview and, hopefully, hire. So, by working with a recruiter, you have a likely shot of landing some interviews. Whether or not those are companies for which you want to work is up to you.
Join groups on social media and through career platforms like Fairygodboss. Socializing with other like-minded professionals like you can help you find a job or, at least, get career advice to help your hunt. Communicating with others in your shoes will also help to keep your morale up and your spirits high during this difficult time, since you'll learn that you're not alone.
Informational interviews are great ways to get your foot in the door at a company for which you want to work. Maybe the company isn't necessarily hiring, but you're still interested in it and want the company to keep you in mind if and when they do need to bring someone new onboard. Reach out to someone in the company in the department in which you're interested in and ask to grab a coffee so you can pick their brain about their job and the company. Of course, it's important to be respectful of people's time, but there's no harm in asking to talk in person.
Go to networking events in your area — whether that's a conference, a luncheon, an industry dinner or a career fair. Find events in your industry, print out a bunch of copies of your resume, hold your head up high and march into those networking events ready to talk to industry insiders, put yourself out there and welcome opportunities.
If you can't find a full-time job, applying for part-time jobs may be easier to get in the meantime. Having an income and a sense of responsibility while you look for full-time work can really help to keep you grounded (and to help you survive!). Plus, you'll have a job to keep you busy if you find yourself feeling low about the circumstances.
AnnaMarie Houlis is a feminist, a freelance journalist and an adventure aficionado with an affinity for impulsive solo travel. She spends her days writing about women’s empowerment from around the world. You can follow her work on her blog, HerReport.org, and follow her journeys on Instagram @her_report, Twitter @herreportand Facebook.