10 Ways To Invest In Your Job Search

If you are looking for a job, consider this question: “Are you spending or investing your time?”

What’s the difference?

Spending means to dispose of money, resources, etc, or to pay out, disburse, or expend.

Investing means to use, give, or devote time, talent, etc as for a purpose or to achieve something.

If your job search consists of looking online for jobs and applying to ones that interest you, you are spending your time looking for a job. Simply looking for a job isn’t the most effective use of your time and can feel like you’re getting nowhere fast.

A better approach is to make the most of your time by investing in your job search.

Finding a new job is no longer based on what you know, but whom you know. 85% of jobs are secured through networking, but effective networking doesn’t happen overnight. You have to make the long-term investment.

So stop spending your time and start investing in the job search process. Devote your time to purposefully achieving something. Invest in making connections, improving yourself, and designing a career you want.

We all get the same 24 hours in a day. The question is: are you investing those hours or spending those hours? Knowing what to invest in is key, so today I'm sharing 10 ways to invest your time when searching for a new career.

1. Get clear

Let’s start with getting clear on what you really want in your next job. Make a list of every job you’ve ever had, starting with your very first job and then create two columns. In one column list everything you loved about the job and in the second column list everything you didn’t love. Be specific and detailed. After you’ve done that for each job, find the commonalities in each column.

Questions to ask:

  1. What do you want to continue to do more of?

  2. What do you want to eliminate doing?

This clarity exercise will help you determine what you’ve enjoyed most in the past and help you in creating a future you want.

2. Write your own job description

It’s time to be clear about your next job. With your list of what you want and don’t want to do, use the questions below to create a job description for yourself.

Questions to ask:

  1. What is your job title and what are your main responsibilities?

  2. What does your typical day look like?

  3. What kind of people do you work for and with?

  4. What type of company do you work for?

Envision yourself in the job you want. How do you want to spend your day, what type of people do you want to be around and what type of environment will you thrive in? You can't create a dream job for yourself without first knowing what it is you want. 

3. Update LinkedIn as your future self

Update your summary statement and headline to reflect the career you want to be in. Reformat your experience and skills to show how you’re a fit for the new career you’re searching for. Start connecting with people in the field you want to be in. Find people you admire and companies that inspire you and follow them.

4. Find mentors

As you find companies you want to work for and people you admire in the industry you want to pursue, reach out and ask them to connect. Don’t be shy! Send a cold email asking for an informational interview to learn about their career path.

Questions to ask:

  1. How did they get to where they are now?

  2. What do they love about what they do and what frustrates them?

  3. What advice do they have for finding a career in their field?

  4. Is there anyone else you should reach out to during your job search?

5. Find friends who are also searching for jobs

Find a tribe. Connect with like-minded people that are going through the same process. Share ideas and hold each other accountable. Use your group to celebrate successes or work through frustrating situations.

6. Commit to helping at least 3 people every week

Looking for a new job can be frustrating and depressing, but the best way to get out of a job search rejection funk is to help others. Do something to lift up another person. It can be as simple as a kind word or be more involved like spending a day volunteering. Make a commitment to help at least 3 people each week and keep track of all your good deeds, it will make you feel better about yourself.

7. Learn a new skill

If you want to be more marketable, invest in a free or minimal cost online course to update your skills. Whether it’s learning how to code, using a new software, managing social media or digital marketing, research needed skills in the industry you want to pursue and learn them.

Tip: LinkedIn learning and Coursera are two great resources for online courses.

8. Find your future boss

Find one person in a company you want to work for who seems interesting and accessible. Search for mutual connections on LinkedIn or mutual friends on Facebook and Instagram before connecting with them.

Send an introductory email discussing what you find interesting about them. Let them know how you can help solve their problems by listing your skills and what sets you apart. Tell them what you admire about the company and how your mission and core values align with theirs.

Talk about how you can contribute to the team. Make them want to know more about you. This starts building a relationship so when a position opens up, you can be top of mind. Networking is the best way to design your career. If your network effectively, you can create unlimited opportunities for yourself. 

Tip: Instead of contacting people on LinkedIn, use an email finding plugin like Contact Out to get their email address.

9. Work with a coach

Friends and family aren’t always the best resource and support system for helping you navigate changing careers, so consider working with a career coach.

A career coach will help you find clarity, hold you accountable and provide an objective point of view. They can also give guidance on your resume, interview skills, and salary negotiations.

Tip: When researching career coaches, make sure they’re certified by the International Coaching Federation (ICF). This ensures they have the required training hours and proper accreditations.

10. Be resilient

Unfortunately, you’ll experience rejection and it can be painful, but you’re not alone. It’s a normal part of the job search process. Just keep looking at that future job description you created and envision yourself in a successful career. Think about where you want to be, not where you are now.

A job search is about getting a return on your investment. What you invest in determines your future and what you can expect to achieve.

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