Career coaching: Key rules for job hunting

You’ve made the decision to seek a change in job or career path. Perhaps you’ve worked out what you want and what’s missing. You thought that was the tough bit! However, getting started on finding that perfect role is proving ever so difficult. There is no denying that job hunting is daunting. Whether you’ve done it many times before or not. Change brings uncertainty, fear and barriers. Knowing where to start is a mystery. I know, I’ve been there and so have my clients. When career coaching clients I offer these golden rules for embarking on job hunting to help you on your way.

Have a plan

A plan gives you focus and helps you break down the search into steps making the whole process less confused, more structured and less daunting. It helps you feel in control, gives you benchmark for your process and direction. When you have a plan you forward think what you will need along the way making you more resourceful, considering blocks before they arise and enabling you to flex your approach.

Be clear on the end goal

Career goals are the core of your career plan. If you don’t know where you’re heading with clarity, then you are likely to stumble down wrong paths misusing energy. Clear goals also motivate you because they are believable, realistic, focused and connected to the your personal inspiring WHY.  When you define your goal, connect with it using techniques like visualisation to really feel it, smell it, taste it and sense it. Build the belief and the reality in your mind and you will fuel your desire and motivation to achieve it.


Good old fashion brainstorming is a must for getting all your ideas out of your head. You can go as far as career mapping or mind mapping which are tools used to focus and explore different paths. These tools help bring to the forefront detours and steps you could take to achieve your longer-term career goal and filling you with options you didn’t know were there. There is also nothing wrong with simply grabbing a pen and paper and jotting down all your ideas in a list. It’s the thinking, reflecting and idea generating that counts.

Get clear on your ideal career formula

When I work with clients we focus on defining an ideal career formula. This pulls together what I define as the 4 Ps – Priorities (values), Purpose, Passions and Powers (skills, strengths and personality). Understanding exactly who you are, what you have to offer, what is important to you and what you want more and less of in your next role, allows you to create your ideal career formula as a checklist.

Create a foundation CV

Get that CV dusted off and give it an overhaul as soon as you start the job search. Don’t wait to be asked for it. Creating a foundation CV which reflects who you are today, your core experience, strengths and value as soon as possible means you are ready to spend time tailoring your CV for each job that comes up without panic and pressure. Read my tips for overhauling your cv here.

keep going even when you want to give up

There are going to be knockbacks, days you feel demotivated and as if you are searching in a sea of hopelessness, BUT persistence pays off. Take a break. Start afresh the next day. But whatever you do, keep going. Look for lessons from what seems like a failure– always seek feedback, refine your search approach if it’s not working. review and expand your criteria or talk to a professional. Believe in yourself and the opportunity you seek.

Use your network

Almost all jobs I have ever got have been via my network. That’s not saying it’s been easy but using your connections is an added advantage in finding out about unadvertised opportunities, getting to know more about industries/ companies, getting a personal introduction to get your cv to the top of the pile and into the right hands. Before you start your search, map out your network (all walks of your life – past and present), use resources like LinkedIn to connect with people you know and schedule some catch-up coffee with people who could help you. This way you can be more proactive and less reactive in your job hunt.

Analyse job descriptions

Don’t be fooled by a job title or turned off by a sector or company because it’s not what you initially thought you wanted. Peel back the unconscious bias you may have about a role and really analyse what a job may offer you. Ask yourself questions such as – What exactly might a day look like in this role? What will I learn? What skills and strengths will I get to use? Where could this role lead? What does appeal to me about this job?

Get energised

Lacking energy is one of the most common excuses I hear from clients as to why they haven’t taken steps on agreed action. The job hunt process is time consumingand it’s exhausting. Often, it’s on top of your current ‘full on’ job and you’re exhausted anyway because of the negativity and stress you are potentially trying to escape. Find ways to boost your energy. Get good sleep, eat well, exercise, do things you love and get fresh air. Lead yourself into the energy you need!

Schedule your time like any project

When you schedule time in your calendar you are more likely to get it done. It’s an act of commitment. Schedule your job search like an important appointment just as you would doctor’sfor example. Make it one of those ‘can’t move’ diary entries. It may mean giving up something else for a period of time – maybethe odd gym visit, a night out with friends or a Netflix binge or perhaps changing some working habits like staying late or undisciplined time management. Any sacrifice to carve out dedicated time will be worth it youknow that!

Get interview practice

Maybe the job doesn’t 100% appeal, maybe you think there is something else and better around the corner. Getting an interview is not to be dismissed. Perhaps there is more to the job than you can see in the job description. Consider the potential progression opportunities which may not be obvious tobegin with. Be curious, open minded and definitely use every opportunity to build your experience and interview technique.

It’s about the future notthe past

It’s easy to get caught up on the past without realising it could affect your future job. How you may ask? Firstly, If you have built up pre-conceptions about roles, people and companies through bad experience there maybethe tendency to expect more of the same. This makes you wary and it will show in your search and body language. Additionally, when you focus solely on all you’ve done in the past and not what you want to do in the future you limit yourself. One of my greatest mentors gave me a fabulous piece of advice when I was worried about being unqualified for a role, she said ‘Why would you want to do a role you can already do?

Still not sure how to motivate and get going with job hunting? Need a little support and clarity? Why not book a FREE discovery calltofind out how I can help you.’

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