Updated: Nov 14, 2018
Looking for a job when you don’t have one is not for the faint of heart. You are going to have to get up every day and motivate yourself and, probably, face a lot more rejection than you ever thought that you could take. No matter what the reason you are presently unemployed, and no matter how quickly you want to get back to work and have a paycheck coming in regularly, might I suggest that you take a few days first to rest and reassess? Take the time to figure out what didn’t work for you in your last job and think about what your priorities and needs will be for your next role.
Once you know that, rewrite your CV. Check it and check it again. Ask friends, family, former colleagues to take a look and use all of this constructive criticism to position yourself perfectly on paper for the next role that you want. That CV will be your draft template so don't get too attached to it! You will end up with multiple versions of your resume as you fine tune it based on the requirements of the role for which you are applying. Some of your skills will need to be highlighted for certain positions, others will be a priority for a different application.
Once you have shaped up your base CV, start sending it out to the industry contacts you know, always with a personal note reminding them of how you know them and making sure that you express your gratitude for their potential support. Then, research and contact industry leaders who you don't know, but who could potentially be good contacts during your search. Don't ask them for a job directly but ask their advice or mention that you have a contact in common and that you are expanding your contact list. As conversations develop, I guarantee that you will be surprised at the kindness of strangers.
Many people will tell you that it is pointless to answer online job postings. I don’t agree. It made me feel that I was being pro-active on days when I was down about my search and produced enough interviews and constructive feedback to keep me going with a positive mind-set. That being said, at the executive level, you will not necessarily find the level of position you are looking for, or you will find yourself exchanging emails with an administrator, rather than someone with hiring decision making power.
MOST IMPORTANTLY OF ALL, do some Internet research and make a list of recruiters who specialize in your particular industry. Send them your base CV and have an in-depth phone conversation with each of those who reach back out to you. You will soon know which recruiter you are the most comfortable with, and whose company philosophy resonates with your values. I have some recruiter horror stories from my time as a job-seeker and Mark, the founder of Trinity Hospitality Partners, became my recruiter of choice during our very first call. He was one of the few who truly took the time to listen to my wants and needs, and the only one to reach out systematically throughout my job-search to offer support, even when he didn’t necessarily have a placement for me. And just look where meeting him has taken me!
Make a daily job search schedule and stick with it. If you have the odd day when you want to stick your head under the covers and stay there feeling sorry for yourself and binge-watching trash TV, that’s OK too - as long as those days are the exception rather than the rule.
Get out of those sweatpants and get out of the house. Make time for a walk, go work out at the gym, clear your head every day. Dress up rather than down. This will make a difference in how you feel about yourself and your situation.
Take care of yourself. Drink lots of water. Eat properly. Count even your tiniest of blessings every chance you get. Despite the stress, try not to let your sleep patterns go haywire. See your friends. Whole heartedly enjoy the extra time with your family; don’t take your job search fears out on them.
Take heart in the fact that you are not alone and know – though it will sometimes feel like it is taking forever – that this too will pass. Your dream job IS out there. Let me know if I can help.