Job seeking for the first time in years: How to do it

If you’ve been in the same job for a few years and suddenly have to leave, it can be really daunting to deal with. Where do you go from here? How do you look for another job? Everyone else seems so settled; you might not feel comfortable asking for help. If you’ve had to leave a job after a long time, chances are you didn’t really want to leave but you had to. Job seeking for the first time in years can indeed be terrifying; but hopefully my tips will make you realise just how easy it is to find another job – no matter what your situation looks like.

job searching

Why did you leave?

If you’ve been in the same job or company for a number of years and you’ve suddenly left, it’s usually because you’ve had no other choice. Whether the company was undergoing a major restructure or if you got made redundant, the matter was out of your hands and you can feel as if you have no control over the situation. Perhaps it was a company culture issue that meant you were no longer a right fit for the company and had to leave. Alternatively it could be because you have made a brave decision to look for something else entirely and start over. Either way, you’re now a job seeker and it’s time to learn how to do it all over again! Remember – nobody spends their entire lives searching for work. You will find a job. You’ll need patience and be willing to adapt and negotiate, but you will get there.

Learn and relearn

There’s no such thing as too much knowledge. One of the benefits of finding a new job is that you can make the most of the free time you have by doing something that will only help your situation. Go on a course, learn something new or even expand your knowledge on something you already know. Do you need tips on how to use the latest software in your industry? Research it! These are all things that can go on your CV and it’ll also show employers that you’re serious about your personal development. You’re also admitting that you don’t know everything, you’re not overqualified and you’re eager to learn new things – employers love this! The main ingredient in job seeking as well as enthusiasm and perseverance is the ability to have an open mind. Consider volunteering too if you have the time. If you need to exercise your people skills, volunteer to work at a local hospice or with children. You can always learn a lot from volunteering and you never know who you might meet along the way.

You also need to get to know the latest methods people use to search for new jobs. As well as jobs in magazines and newspapers, vacancies are also advertised on mediums such as social media. If you’re not up to date on your digital presence, you need to get there fast. Read my articles here on how to get your LinkedIn profile up and running to give yourself a great digital presence.

Change up your CV

Chances are your CV hasn’t been dusted off in a while and a lot of the stuff on there will be irrelevant. Limit your CV to two pages and get rid of anything from over ten years ago. If you’re left with a lot of blank space after getting rid of old skills and jobs, it’s time to get some new experience and knowledge. A cluttered CV isn’t a good one – don’t fill space for the sake of it. One page of fantastic skills and experience is far better than two pages of mediocre showing off. View our CV section here for more tips. 

Prepare for rejection

This might sound really harsh, but everyone gets rejected from jobs at any stage of their job seeking stage. Whether you’re looking for your first proper job or you’re a seasoned job seeker with all the skills in the world, rejection is going to happen – but it can be a good thing. Read my article here that explains this.

You might have to sidestep

It can be difficult to get a new job that is one level up from your current one. You’re really lucky if you manage this, and you should definitely try to punch above your weight where you can – but the majority of the time you’ll be looking at the exact same level if not slightly lower than your current job. After all, you’re applying to a brand new company who doesn’t really know your track record. Always look into the ways you can progress if you do have to apply for a job that’s slightly lower in the ranks than your current one.

Ask for help

Asking for help isn’t always easy and especially if you’re looking for a new job after being in your current one for years. The question ‘how’s the job hunt going?’ can get really old, really fast. However, some people are better connected and may have recent experiences of job seeking that you’ve never gone through yourself, so it’s a good idea to speak to as many people as possible when you’re looking for a new job. These people include friends, family, strangers on LinkedIn and people at events and conferences. Networking is really useful because it gives you knowledge as well as contacts. You may find your next job by sitting indoors all day, but you may find that your chances are increased if you get out there and meet people. Note – if you are connecting with new people online or at events, don’t come across as a desperate job seeker. These relationships can take time and effort to cultivate. Perhaps you have a former employer you can speak to if you’re still on good terms with them? Learn how to network effectively here.

Stay healthy and happy

No matter how hard you try, job hunting can be rubbish. After a few interviews and some rejected CVs, it can really get you feeling down about yourself. After all, you’ve tried your hardest (have you?) and nothing’s happened. When this happens, you can’t lose confidence. Make sure you exercise and eat a healthy diet to ensure you don’t end up getting unwell.

Prepare your stuff

Job seeking is all about CVs, cover letters and interviews. This is all stuff that we can get rusty on after just a couple of years of not job hunting. You can view my articles here on how to improve all of these things.

Job seeking isn’t the easiest thing in the world, and when you’re rusty on your skills as a job seeker the idea of finding a new career can be tough to handle. Just make sure you’re always moving forward and improving your techniques. If something didn’t work then ask for feedback from interviewers. Ask friends and family for their ideas on how to improve your CV. Have patience, perseverance and an open mind – and you’ll be in a swanky new career in no time.

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