If you’re out there looking for a job right now, you may be wondering, am I doing this right?
How would I know? And if I am, why haven’t I found a job yet?
Here’s the truth: In a struggling economy, you can do everything right and still not find the right job—or any job, for that matter.
Because in addition to doing it right, you also need other pieces to fall into place, like the passing of leads from your network, the unearthing of new connections at target companies, and your ability to deliver in front of a recruiter or hiring manager.
Then there’s the timing issue. A hiring manager has to need you at the same time you’re available.
So what are the signs of a healthy job search?
1. You enjoy networking. Networking has gone from being a painful chore to more of an opportunity. It feels like a chance to meet new people, build long-term relationships, and help others. You’re volunteering to help group organizers and looking to shepherd new members around to meet others.
2. People seem to remember you. You’ve created a memorable elevator pitch, like to smile, make eye contact with others, and learned to use a strong speaking voice. Others smile when you approach and want to talk more when your meeting breaks up.
3. You feel confident. You constantly remind yourself of past victories, take setbacks in stride, and surround yourself with other positive people. You recognize the importance of being strong in front of hiring companies and recruiters, and you reward yourself by sharing your small wins with others along the way.
4. You are comfortable online. You have a great profile on LinkedIn, and it’s not a carbon copy of your resume. You engage with others instead of broadcasting self-serving messages. You include a professional but friendly picture of yourself so others can get to know you.
5. You are not relying on your resume. While you have a good resume that clearly identifies your value, it’s not the first document you share with people. Instead, you have a nice networking bio and business card allowing your value to jump off the page. You’re not blasting your resume out to random companies or job openings, but applying with at least one warm connection in place. 6. You are communicating regularly. Your network knows what’s happening with you. They know your job search objectives inside and out and hear from you at least monthly with a networking email or blog update.
7. You take advantage. You recognize this break in your career, while difficult, as a great opportunity to spend more time with family or friends. You pursue projects you always wanted to start. You begin writing a blog or great novel, and you take an hour a day to finally start exercising or plan a healthy meal.
8. You are relevant. You maintain friendships. You seek to add value during interactions with others, by offering a job lead, contact or helpful resource. Your social media bios help others see why they should become one of your Twitter followers. And anyone scanning your LinkedIn profile can instantly see a connection or opportunity.
9. You act with purpose. Each week starts with a plan and a set of key goals. You avoid impulsive activity and limit the hours you spend on job boards to minutes each day. You identify specific company and networking targets and build those connections first before heading out to the same old networking event to meet the same old people.
10. You are open to the ideas of others. Through a mentor, good friend, or career expert, you use the experience and perspective of others to maintain a balanced attack. You are open to and ask for honest feedback, and those around you feel comfortable telling you how they really feel, without fear of a backlash.
Based on the above, how healthy is your job search? And what steps can you take this week to improve?
Tim Tyrell-Smith is founder of Tim's Strategy, a site that helps professionals succeed in job search, career and life strategy. Follow Tim on Twitter, @TimsStrategy, and share his 30 Ideas Book with job-seeking friends.