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Can't Find a Job? Here Are 26 Quick Actions You Can Take Today

I believe in you

Cara Hutto
Contributor

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Ah, the dreaded job search. Finding a job is a daunting task, and sometimes it can feel like you’ve been stuck in a job hunt rut forever. Luckily, even if competition is stiff and you aren’t getting called back, there are plenty of quick actions you can take today to get you one step closer to finding your dream job. You’ve got this! 

1. Contact at least three current or former colleagues

Networking is arguably the most important part of the job search (by some estimates, 85 percent of jobs are filled through networking), so start by contacting at least three friends or former colleagues to let them know what you're looking for, and they may be able to pass along a few connections. 

2. Write a letter of interest

A letter of interest differs from a cover letter in that it’s unsolicited. In this letter, describe your experience, accomplishments, and skills and express your interest in working for the company.

Read more: How to Ask for a Job. Wait...Is That a Thing I Can Do?

3. Inquire in person

That’s right, step away from your computer, walk into the company’s physical location with an awesome elevator pitch and a hard copy of your resume, and ask if they’re hiring. If they’re not, leave your resume and ask them to keep you in mind for future opportunities. 

4. Update your LinkedIn profile, specifically the summary

Not only can the summary highlight skills and accomplishments, it can up your chances of appearing in searches by recruiters and headhunters.

5. Tweak your resume

Make sure there aren’t any typos or grammatical errors, and make sure your resume speaks to the job description of each and every job you apply to (yes, you should tailor your resume for every job). There are tons of resume templates you can use to impress recruiters. 

6. Pick up a side-hustle in the meantime

Everyone’s gotta pay the bills, and it’s good to be able to talk about something productive you’ve done during the gap in your resume. 

Read more: 9 Steps to Getting a Job Fast & Making Money While You Look

Read more: 30+ Side-Hustles for Incredibly Busy Women

7. Cold email for an informational interview

Similar to writing an interest letter, try cold emailing the hiring manager and politely request a chat over coffee or a quick phone call. 

Read more: How to Ask for an Informational Interview and Get One

8. Comb through your social media accounts

Remember those pics of you playing beer pong in college? Yeah, delete them. Recruiters use social media throughout the hiring process, so make sure your online presence is professional. 

9. Take a class and learn a new skill

Learn to code or take a class on SEO writing to beef up the highly coveted technical skills on your resume

10. Practice interviewing

Have a friend ask you common interview questions and practice answering them in depth. Ask for feedback and constructive criticism.

Read more: The Ultimate Guide to Preparing for An In-Person Interview

11. Revamp your cover letter

Make sure your cover letter is personalized for each job you apply to, and add some personality. Recruiters want personable and talented people, not robots.

12. Ask for references

It never hurts to have a few standing references that you can whip out during an interview or on a job application. And while you’re reaching out to those references, ask if they know of any open positions.

13. Create a portfolio

Boost your online brand and showcase your work on your own personal website. If you already have one, make sure everything is up to date and polished. 

14. Double-check your interview wear 

Make sure you’re presenting yourself as professionally as possible to potential employers.  

Read more: How to Dress for Business Professional Attire 28 Ways

15. Check out remote opportunities

A local job search might limit your opportunities to find a job. The next time you’re looking for work, look for remote or work from home jobs. New to remote work? Here’s a list of legit work from home jobs.

16. Simply get out and talk to people

Strike up a conversation with the barista at your favorite coffee shop or the mom next to you at your kid’s soccer game. You’d be surprised to find how many people know someone who knows someone who’s looking to hire someone like you.

17. Take it to social media

Let your social media network know you’re in the market for a job. Provide a link to your LinkedIn profile or professional website. 

18. Make a spreadsheet for follow ups

Sometimes getting a new job is about being persistent. Make a spreadsheet of all the jobs you’ve applied to and dates for follow up. Need help? See our guide on how to follow up on a job application.

19. Have someone review your resume and cover letter

That colleague or friend who has excellent grammar or is a stellar writer. They may be able to point out ways to better present your skills and experience. And while you’ve got them, ask if they know anyone who’s hiring.

20. Learn the STAR method

It’s a time-tested strategy for answering behavioral and situational interview questions. So when you do get a call-back for an interview, you’re prepared.

21. Take a career quiz

Try taking an online career test to discover your strengths, communication style, and untapped potential career paths. 

22. Enlist the help of a mentor

Ask a trusted colleague, boss, or professor for guidance throughout the job hunt and request their smartest tips and tricks for finding the right job. 

23. Create a SMART goal

SMART goals can help you stay on track throughout your search. Specify how many jobs you’ll apply to each day, how you’ll measure your progress, and a deadline for finding a job. 

24. Print a business card

Take your networking to the next level with crisp professional business cards. People will be more likely to remember you if they have a physical piece of paper with your name and information on it.

Read more: The Best Places to Buy Cheap Business Cards

25. Take professional headshots

Your LinkedIn profile will stand out from the crowd if you have a great, polished headshot. Don’t have the cash for a professional photographer? We got you: How to Get Cheap (or Free) Professional-Quality Headshots

26. Apply anyway

Did you know that most women will apply for a job only if they meet 100 percent of the requirements, but that according to recruiters, 60 percent is qualified enough. So go for it.

Bonus tip: Get matched to a company that shares your values

InHerSight is really good at helping women find jobs at great employers that share their values. Get matched to a company that's looking for someone like you.

Still feeling a little lost or discouraged? Here are more job search resources:

Job Search
Rate a company you've worked for
Share what it's like at your employer. It's anonymous and takes 3 minutes!
 

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