Job search can be exhausting. While the job market is relatively strong with a 4.9 percent unemployment rate, and the most recent jobs report shows that 287,000 new jobs were created in June, it's still hard to keep applying for jobs until you land one.
Well, now is as good a time as any to reinvigorate your search. It's not just about updating your résumé. Like chess, job hunting calls for strategy, finesse, timing and reading cues, in addition to skills and ability.
Before you head out again, remember to:
- Reexamine your job search strategies
- Review and edit your résumé
- Tailor your résumé for each position
- Not let frustration get the best of you
- Manage your body language and keep a positive attitude
- Keep every interview fresh, as if each one is the first one
- Restart your search by examining what has worked and what has not, and by making adjustments. Then review your résumé. Have you developed any new skills since your last version? Did you finish some new courses or achieve other significant accomplishments that should be added? Did you do some volunteer work?
Don't just email or send out that same old résumé. Make sure it's tailored for each position you apply for. The job market isn't getting easier, so be your own greatest champion. Carefully look at the assets and accomplishments you bring to each position and emphasize them in your résumé. You're worth the extra effort.
See also: Put the mojo back in your job search
Frustration can also be a major hurdle in job-hunting. It's easy for long-term unemployment to make anyone feel bitter and even hopeless about the whole process. If you're newly unemployed, you might not have recent experience interviewing, either. Since 50-plus job seekers often spend more time hunting for their next role than young people, the negative feelings can build up.
Those feelings might be exacerbated because of the reason for being currently unemployed: The Great Recession. Some people were downsized out of their jobs, while others watched their companies fold, sweeping away jobs from top to bottom. Many retirees lost substantial savings in the downturn and had to look for work. There's no shortage of frustrated older worker recession stories, including brushes with age discrimination, both direct and indirect.
In addition to managing frustration, staying fresh for job interviews is another enormous challenge, particularly if you've experienced long-term unemployment. People often feel the sting of rejection letters or are discouraged by a lack of interviews. As a result, they can end up emitting an attitude through their body language that says, "Don't hire me, I'm not a good fit," even if they do have the experience and skills to land the job. They might not even realize they are sending that message. What greater challenge is there for job seekers in this economy than handling frustration and disappointment while projecting liveliness and interest? Yet overcoming these obstacles could make the difference in getting an offer.
So keep every interview fresh and upbeat. Practice with friends, family or even by yourself in front of a mirror. Employers want to know that you are interested in bringing skills that will make their company successful, not that you're desperate for a job.
As you get reenergized and organized, look for additional guidance at AARP's website, which offers tools and resources to help you land your next role.