3 meaningful ways to improve your job search

If you're a job seeker on LinkedIn, chances are that you've spent quite a lot of time inside the "Jobs" section at the very top of your screen. Perhaps you check it regularly, and have come up with great key words to search that will yield interesting job openings. This is a great start to your search. But that's just what it is, a start.


Dedicating your time in the spaces here directly claiming to lead you to a job is misguiding precious energy. I've observed, through helping many young people in the job search, that it's much more effective to shift your energy towards the indirect structures and systems that will set you up for success, rather than yield immediate results.


In this article, I walk you through three indirect, yet significantly more meaningful actions you can easily take to improve your job search in the hope that, over time, they will set you up for success.


1."Unfollowing" makes room for meaning


For those of you active on LinkedIn for some time, it's very likely you've accumulated a ridiculously long "following" list with people, organizations, projects that you were, at some point in time, interested in but that no longer serve as great representations of who or what you're interested in anymore. Unfollowing these entities is just as, if not more important than, continuing to add more people to your following list. If you continue to hit "follow", without taking time to unfollow, then chances are all the good stuff will be buried in the excess of noise created by those people and companies you're not interested in. Simply put, you're giving yourself extra unnecessary work! Please don't do that.


Once you take time to unfollow, I urge you to write down a list of all the people who you admire here on LinkedIn. It could be a friend or a complete stranger. Go to their profiles, and see who they're following. You can do this by scrolling to the very bottom of a profile to the "Interests" section. Taking time to observe who the people around you are following, particularly those humans you respect, is a great way to discover organizations or humans you may not have known about previously.


2. A spreadsheet to sustain curiosity


One small and innocent flaw in the job search system that's really common, is something i'll describe as "hiring-based curiosity." Here's what it looks like.


You're really interested in organization X. But they're not hiring right now, so you set up a 'job alert' and check back in with them once you get that notification of an opening. Months later, the alert arrives and they're hiring for an entry-level associate, and it's a role that matches perfectly your interests. Before you apply, you go through org X's social media, articles on their website, and scramble to catch up on everything they've done in the last few months.


This scenario is very common, but it's one you should try not to repeat. Your curiosity to organization X should not be limited to or ignited by that moment when there's a job opening. If you truly are interested in their work, follow along their work even when they're not hiring. Why? Because in the future, this sustained curiosity and awareness of organization X's activities could set you apart from future applicants who haven't been following along as closely.


So, how can you make curiosity ever-present? It's of course not easy to keep track of all the companies you're interested in, and you shouldn't expect to remember every single one. That's where the spreadsheet comes in! Create an ongoing database, or a simple table, with all the companies you admire. Make it a point to check-in regularly with each one on your list, and record observations down along with the date of your notes. If you want to take it a step further, identify a person/people within the companies to follow, and make a note of who it is you've followed. Add them to your regular observations.


As with the other tips in this article, the spreadsheet is not an immediate way to success with your job search. But it is setting yourself up for more meaningful future interactions, when and if the moment comes, with those humans you might be working alongside!


3. Rise by lifting others and create a "story-circle"


Your profile tells a story about you. And whether you like it or not, a lot of humans determine whether or not to speak to you and accept a request based on factors like your picture, your bio, and the way you describe your experiences. The best way to understand your digital story, is not to analyze your own profile, but to have someone else you trust do it for you and give their honest feedback.


Grab a friend. Or two. Or ten. And create a system of mutual support through what I call a "story-circle." Within the circle, each person is trusted with observing the profile of another to answer one simple question; what story does your profile tell?


Giving love and attention to others in your community, focusing on rising by lifting and supporting others, is an incredibly meaningful way to improve your job search. We often think of the job search as a solo, individual process, but it doesn't have to be. And a story-circle is a first step towards a community-driven approach.


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