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Jump start your job hunt

If you’re involved in a long-term job search (the average is 25 weeks, as reported by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics), you may be getting to the point that you can’t imagine doing something different that will move your search forward.

If you haven’t started, dive into social media and Web 2.0 applications! Yes, this can take some time if you are going to do it full force. But, you have time, so go for it! Start searching for blogs in your niche. Guy Kawasaki’s Alltop list is a perfect place to find blogs in an array of topics, but you can certainly use Google to find current information in your field of interest. Spend some time researching and exploring. See if you can identify the stars in your field. Use online mechanisms to connect to them!

How? Post smart comments on their blogs. See if they use Twitter and follow them. (Read more of my suggestions about using Twitter for the job hunt HERE.) Make sure that you are using LinkedIn effectively. You may be amazed at how quickly you can connect and “befriend” people online.

Consider authoring a blog. If you are a strong writer, there isn’t a better way to influence your Google rankings and demonstrate authority in your subject matter. If you have the time, why not try? You have nothing to lose. Ideally, you will start a blog at www.yourname.com, but if you just want to dip your toe in the waters, consider writing for Examiner.com. I am the National Career Coach Examiner and would be happy to help you get started if you are a strong writer with a niche topic in mind. (For example, maybe you want to be the “Seattle PR Examiner” or the “Miami Accounting Examiner.” Contact me if you are interested in learning more!

Stop and think about what you really want to do. Use your time to assess yourself, your goals and plans for the future. How often are we forced to take a moment to really think about the future. This is your chance. Do you like the way your life is going? Are you happy with your path? If not, consider a coach to help you figure out a new direction.

Learn a new skill. Have you been thinking about taking a class in something that will help you with your job? Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn how to knit? This is a good time. Doing something new and learning a new skill is good for your attitude and will help you in multiple ways. If you can be excited about something that you can obviously control (since your job search SEEMS less control-able), it should help your outlook.

There is so much information and opportunities to learn new things online for free. High-profile and talented people are offering free teleclasses, webinars and seminars all of the time. If you plug in, you’ll learn about these opportunities and benefit from them. Take advantage of your public library as a resource for information. Check in with the librarian for information you might be missing!

Don’t be afraid to pay for some great content as well! Once you know and trust a source for information, invest in yourself and your plans and learn something new.

Don’t wait until you have an interview scheduled to prepare for the interview! Do you know what you’ll wear to an interview? Does it fit? Is it clean and pressed? How about your shoes? Do they pass muster? Don’t wait until you’ve been searching for two months and get a call for an interview tomorrow to look in your closet!

Once you have an outfit ready, start planning and practicing what you will say in an interview, in a networking situation…Use your time to get ready. Consider hiring Keppie Careers to do a mock interview so you will really know what skills you can improve. If you are prepared, when you start pulling in opportunities, you won’t panic!

Of course, much of your “free” time will be taken up with job hunting. Don’t forget that many of the activities listed above are part of your job hunt. I would be remiss if I didn’t specifically mention that networking (in person and online) is key – spend more time doing this than searching for online postings. Are you on Twitter? Tweetups are a great way to meet new people and learn how you can help each other. Make sure your resume and materials are top-notch and use your time to prep for everything you will need.

Of course, no list of things to do would be complete with suggesting volunteering with an organization you support. I’ve already shared great reasons to volunteer if you have some free time. You never know when you might meet someone influential for your career and/or learn and use new skills. Volunteering is an amazing opportunity to do some good while helping yourself as well!