Searching for the right opportunity can be a lonely and sometimes unproductive process, particularly if you’re not sure what you’re looking for in the first place. Maybe you’re browsing randomly in the vain hope that there’s a perfect vacancy that’s just waiting for you to apply! It doesn’t take long before frustration can kick in and dent the belief that there’s got to be more out there, followed by just giving up your job search all together!
Wouldn’t it be so much easier if there was a website which had category searches for ‘If not sure, have you thought about these jobs?’ If only recruitment was so intuitive and convenient!
So when you arrive on an online job site HOW do you start your search?
Pay attention to the filters you put in place when searching for jobs, and how you use the search engines.
- Which filters do you tend to use all the time? Location, salary, degree discipline, current job role…?
- What does this tell you about some of the thought processes that are influencing your decisions about what to apply for?
Underpinning a fuzzy career focus can sometimes be a lack of curiosity; not noticing the clues you’re giving yourself as a result of this ‘random’ browsing.
Many of us naturally tend to steer towards what is already familiar, or perhaps what we think we know. But why stop there? Be more curious about what else can be discovered behind those other job categories that may mean very little to you right now. By exploring unfamiliar sectors or job categories on a search engine, opportunities can stand out to you that you have never before considered and may get you thinking. This is all helps increase awareness of what your preferences are and what this means to you.
So you need to start creating a clearer tick list for yourself. A list of the criteria or filters to determine what is important to you right now, what you’re prepared to be flexible on, and what are the deal breakers?
Try this exercise:
- Visit one of the vacancy websites you currently browse.
- Look at the job role or sector categories in the search engine and choose to visit 5 of them – it doesn’t matter which ones.
- In fact, if you’re drawn to not looking at a category because you’re convinced there’s nothing there, then I’d encourage you to take a look. You don’t know for certain what opportunities are posted, or what clues and insight they may give you.
- Make a note or print off any vacancies that have caught your attention.
Questions to ask yourself:
- What did you notice about the process?
- What has stood out for you? – Be specific about what has make you read further, or has triggered ‘No’ & you clicked onto something else.
- What are recruiters asking for that you don’t yet have?
- What are you having difficulty finding that is not on this particular vacancy site?
- What connections can you make about the vacancies you’ve identified?
- What assumptions and beliefs are informing whether that vacancy is worth considering or not? For example, it may be ‘I’ve not got enough experience to do this job’, ‘I’d not have a chance of getting an interview’, ‘It’s ideal, but I wouldn’t stand a chance with so many people going for it’…
Other top tips:
- Give yourself some regular, uninterrupted time to research a few websites, make notes, print off different vacancies for looking at later, and notice what you notice. Getting started is often the hardest part.
- Check vacancy websites often as new vacancies are constantly added, and may only be advertised for a limited time
- Don’t restrict your viewing to a few general recruitment sites – many companies target their advertising to get to the right candidates. You need to be prepared to research and understand the market you’re looking into, and learn where these employers advertise and how often they recruit.
Recognise that every vacancy opportunity you look at can give an insight into your preferences, help you understand your current gaps, and identify ways you need to develop.
I hope you found this article of interest – it would be great to read your comments.
Sarah Robinson, Career & Personal Development Coach