5/10/15 - Creative ways to mitigate the monotony of the job search
Searching for a new job is a grind. It’s a painful process combing through hundreds of boring job descriptions, spending hours crafting cover letters and spending days (or even weeks) waiting for a call. It is tedious and time-consuming — but it doesn’t have to be. With the right attitude, your job search can fun.
Below are a few different ways to spice up the job hunting process.
Make the boring stuff easy
In general, searching for a job isn’t anyone’s idea of a good time. The repetitive tasks can make you go crazy. It's a seemingly never-ending process of finding new jobs to apply to, updating your resume for every application, tracking your progress for each position, attending networking events and sending follow-up notes.
Here are some tools to make the boring stuff a little easier:
Use VisualCV.com to easily create multiple versions of your resume (https://www.visualcv.com/)
Use a free spreadsheet template to keep track of your application progress
Use a free/affordable CRM to manage your contacts (https://www.insightly.com/)
Use Yesware to track your email responses (http://www.yesware.com/)
Attend more interesting industry-related events you find on Meetup (http://mashable.com/category/meetup/)
Track your progress
Whether its using a spreadsheet, a CRM or email-tracking software, create measurable goals for your job application process. To do this, pick a key metric that you can control to focus on, and continually improve this metric. Here are some examples of what to focus on: job applications completed, events attended, job postings found, etc.
Track these statistics and make a game of improving them every week. To keep up your motivation, reward yourself once you reach your daily goals.
Take care of yourself
Looking for a job can take months, and is often one of the hardest times in a person’s life. It can get even more demoralizing if you forget to take care of yourself with regular exercise, healthy eating and the occasional celebration of all your hard work.
Remember, you will get a job. Once you do, all of the work will be worth it. The healthier and happier you are, the better you will perform in the job search and interview process.
Here are some tips to stay healthy on the job hunt:
Take regular breaks from the computer
Take a day off every week
Exercise daily and eat healthy
Try taking up meditation (https://www.headspace.com/)
Look for a job that inspires you
Instead of sifting through thousands of cookie-cutter job postings, take a different approach. Make a list of all the products and services you love, and make another list of all the companies you might want to work for. Then, go through each company's career page online.
Use your extra free time as an opportunity to develop a new skill by building a project that will help you both in your job search and future career. This could be creating a website, learning advanced Excel or even learning a language. And if you're shifting fields or career tracks, hone your skills and hobbies for your desired path at home with resources like Coursera, General Assembly or Codecademy. Developing skills on your own will not only provide mental stimulation throughout what may be an otherwise monotonous time period in your life, but it will also up your chances of scoring a job in a field in which you have little professional experience.
Websites like The Muse and Dreamjobbing are good places to look for inspiration, too. What’s worse than a boring job search? A boring job. If you’re applying for a job you really want, you’ll learn to love the process.
Stay motivated by getting creative
Crank up your favorite pump-up tunes on Spotify, intersperse your job search efforts with physical activity like pushups, and get to work. Treat your job search as a competition that you will win. If you’re confident and having fun, it will be evident on your job applications and in interviews, which in turn will give you a better chance for success.
And if you're feeling creative, embrace it. Consider applying via video or using an out-of-the-box strategy for snagging a coveted interview.
Attend industry (not networking) events
Everyone hates networking events. They’re often full of sweaty people desperately handing out business cards to everyone in the room. Industry events, however, are better. Look on Meetup or relevant industry association websites for interesting events related to your field. You’ll learn something new and meet cool people — sometimes, people who can get you a job.
Lastly, investigate referral and affiliate programs for companies you're interested in. It will look great on an application if you’re already selling or promoting product from the company to which you’re applying.
James Clift is CEO of VisualCV, a tool for building and tracking your resume online.