Job hunting can be exhausting, stressful, overwhelming, and demoralising – all at the same time. And time consuming, which is especially hard if you are already in a nine-to-five.
But it doesn’t have to be, you just have to know how to job search effectively – and being strategic is key.
“Job searching is as much about understanding oneself as it is about understanding the market,” says Renata Bernarde, job-hunting expert and career coach.
“Individuals often approach the job search process without a clear strategy or self-awareness. Many dive into the job market by indiscriminately applying to numerous positions without truly understanding what they are looking for, what their talents and strengths are, and how they align with potential roles.”
This approach can lead to missed opportunities, prolonged searches, and landing in roles that aren’t the right fit. So, what is the correct approach?
How to improve your job search
Before you start your search, Renata says it’s important to reflect your career trajectory.
“Identify one’s skills, values, and aspirations, and then target roles and companies that align with that vision,” she explains. “By doing so, job seekers can be more intentional, focused, and ultimately more successful in finding a position that not only meets their needs but also propels their career forward in a fulfilling way.”
Here are five ways you can improve your job search.
“Begin your job search with introspection,” says Renata. “Understand not just the jobs you’ve had but the value you brought, the skills you’ve mastered, and where you found passion in your work. This clarity isn’t just about identifying roles you’d want but also about ensuring that when you find those roles, you can position yourself as the perfect fit. With a clear sense of your strengths, values, and aspirations, you can be more strategic in targeting positions that align with your personal and professional goals, making the entire job search process more efficient and effective.”
“Networking is more than just attending events or adding connections on LinkedIn; it’s about building genuine relationships,” she says. “Engage in meaningful conversations, seek advice, and offer value in return. Remember, many job opportunities, especially senior roles, are never advertised and are filled through personal referrals or word-of-mouth. By maintaining strong professional relationships and being proactive in your networking efforts, you gain access to this hidden job market and can often learn about opportunities before they’re widely known.”
“It’s tempting to save time by using a generic resume and cover letter,” admits Renata. “But customisation can significantly improve your chances of catching an employer’s eye. By tailoring each application, you’re not just showing that you’re interested in a job but that particular job at that specific company. Highlight experiences and skills that are most relevant to the position in question, and do some research to understand the company’s culture, values, and challenges so you can address these points in your cover letter.”
“The job market and industry trends are continually evolving,” the career coach explains. “Ensure that your skills and knowledge remain current by attending workshops, seminars, webinars, or taking relevant online courses. By staying updated, you not only improve your skill set but also demonstrate to potential employers that you are a proactive learner and are committed to your professional growth. This can differentiate you from other candidates who may have similar experience but are not as updated on the latest industry practices or trends.”
“Job searching is a skill in itself, and like any skill, it benefits from feedback,” Renata tells us. “Whether it’s working with a career coach or asking a mentor to review your resume, participating in mock interviews, or seeking feedback after an unsuccessful application, gaining external perspectives can provide invaluable insights. Constructive feedback can help you uncover blind spots in your approach, improve your presentation, and, ultimately, enhance your chances of landing your desired role.”
What is the best job site in Australia?
One of the most overwhelming things about job searching is the number of avenues there are to do so. From Seek, LinkedIn, Indeed, to countless other mediums, it can be difficult to know where to start, or which website to use. So, which one is the best? Well it depends on the industry, role and region, says Renata.
“LinkedIn stands out for its networking capabilities and a vast range of job postings,” the job-hunting expert explains.
“Seek.com is particularly popular in Australia and offers a vast array of listings, as well as excellent filters to search by location or salary range.”
“Indeed is a global giant that aggregates listings from various sites.”
“Apart from these, niche industry-specific job boards, recruitment agencies, and even company career pages can be invaluable. Always use a combination to ensure a comprehensive search.”
What keywords to use for a job search
When using Google, consider the words you’re typing and how they can optimise your job search.
“Common general terms include “remote”, “full-time”, “part-time”, “contract”, or “freelance”,” says Renata. “For specific roles, use job titles (e.g., “Marketing Manager” or “Data Scientist”) or skills (e.g., “Python programming” or “digital marketing”).”
It’s beneficial to stay updated with industry jargon and trends which can “provide you with current keywords to refine your search”, says Renata. She adds that replicating keywords from job ads in your applications and LinkedIn profile is also helpful.
I can’t find a job: What do I do?
The job search process is demoralising and mentally exhausting. More to that, it’s only the first step of the employment process. There are still applications and interviews to go. The labour involved is anxiety-inducing and, if prolonged, can have a significant financial and emotional burden.
“Navigating the job market can sometimes be complex, especially when facing challenges in finding the right fit,” Renata says. Her is her advice for when your job search is proving fruitless.
Emphasise your transferrable skills
“Emphasise skills that are relevant across various industries or roles. For instance, capabilities like project management or team leadership are universally valuable,” she says.
Broaden your search
“Don’t restrict yourself. Look at related roles or industries that might offer a parallel path, even if they aren’t an exact match to your past experience.”
“Engage with professionals in the roles or industries you’re targeting. Their insights can be invaluable, and they might introduce you to opportunities you hadn’t considered.”
Develop your skills
“Address any gaps in your skill set. Short courses, certifications, or even volunteer roles can help you pivot into a new area.”
Work with a coach
“A career or executive coach can provide tailored advice, strategies, and feedback to optimise your job search and positioning. Their expertise can be invaluable in navigating challenges and finding the right opportunities.”
This is really important. “The job search journey has its ups and downs. Keep a positive mindset, be persistent, and remember that setbacks are often set up for bigger comebacks.”