For anyone who has been searching for a financial job for more than a few weeks, the dreary and continued drain on time, effort, energy and spirit make it sometimes difficult to stay with it. You begin to wonder if you'll ever get a job. Is anyone even hiring?
To break the spell, there are a number of practical things you can do that may well put you closer to that next job.
Here are 10 of them:
1. Informational interviews. Find out about a company, a department or a discipline, perhaps even a whole sector of the industry you know little or nothing about. Schedule a coffee break, lunch or after-work meeting with a colleague, associate or networked contact – not to inquire about positions, but to learn something. Prepare for the meeting, ask smart questions and say thank you afterwards.
2. Go social. Not social media (though that is recommended, too), but rather events, parties, meetings – anywhere people you want to mingle with gather. Don't talk shop, but get your face seen, your voice heard and your name recognized. Each person you meet has the potential to bring you one step closer to a job.
3. Reinvent. Get another specialty or focus. This takes training of some kind, and therefore takes time. Starting now gets you there sooner. Start now.
4. Temporary temp-ing. Ask your sources about contract work, short-term, day work, even freelance. There are always opportunities, and it gives you a chance to show your stuff and make contacts.
5. Systematize your search. Track your time, process and results. Have a schedule to follow; a callback list. Keep good clear notes. Follow up. Write thank you notes and e-mails.
6. Sell. In interviews, conversations, online and everywhere you go, you should be selling yourself. What can you do that others can't? Make people aware of your qualifications, and demonstrate that you are professional, motivated and industrious.
7. Tell. Does everyone know you are looking for a job? Do they know what you are looking for? The only way they will know is if you tell them. Talk to friends and relatives about companies they know. Timing is everything and you’d be surprised how many times “the right place at the right time” pays off.
8. Listen. When you least expect it, someone unexpected will reveal true wisdom that will save you. But it will be brief and it will never be repeated. You better be listening.
9. Collect stories. Do you have examples of how you have succeeded in the past? Equip yourself with tales highlighting your features, advantages and benefits. Let the stories demonstrate your success.
10. Stay positive. Don’t burn bridges. Don’t speak ill of former (or current) companies, bosses or co-workers. No matter the details, it usually reveals more unpleasantness on your side of the ledger. It’s a small world and good soldiers are appreciated, while the disgruntled become suspect.
Whatever you do, don't quit. When you least feel like continuing, when you are drawn down to the bottom, persevere, carry on, don't stop. As Longfellow said: “…knock long enough and loud enough at the gate, you are sure to wake up somebody.”