Job searching in uncertain times

Looking for a job in the current job market (especially in Europe) is a daunting prospect. As someone who recently went through the whole process, I wanted to share with you what I learned. Bulletpoints galore.

  • Learn how to write a CV either with the help of blogs, books, outplacement courses or personalised help. Make sure it clearly describes responsibilities and measurable results if possible and that it is easy to read for someone who is not an expert in your area of expertise (like most HR departments).
  • Use the web. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date and that you know what does the system use when matching candidates and showing search results.
  • Use your networks, but don’t be annoying. Friends and acquaintances will naturally try to help you if they see a way to do so, don’t push it too much but give them the tools.
  • Have your elevator pitch ready.
  • If you don’t have a portfolio of projects you’ve done, make sure you create a compelling one!
  • Remember interviews go both ways so don’t take it as a life and death situation.  Interviewers smell (and are turned off by) desperation. You are also making sure you would like to join the interviewing company, so ask the questions that interest you and get a feel for the hiring manager/team. In time you will develop a “feel” for interviews.
  • Use all fact-finding tools at your disposal: company financial reports, LinkedIn profiles, Glassdoor…
  • Have a plan. Don’t succumb to despair, boredom or burnout.
  • If your life situation allows, widen your geographic scope: depending on your area of expertise there might be a place for you in Germany, Sweden, Singapore, the US, Brazil, Mexico, China, Finland…
  • Remember searching for a job is a full time job.
  • Evaluate your opportunities to freelance or become an entrepreneur.  That might also be a way to find a position you want by freelancing for that company first.
  • Remember the hidden job market.  Many, many positions aren’t advertised, get to those first through your network.
  • Relax every once in a while.  I know it is stressful, but wasting energy being stressed won’t help you.  As the Brits would have said in the event of a German invasion in World War II: “Keep calm and carry on”. 😉
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