Whether you are currently working, unemployed or in education, the process of finding and applying for a job is relatively the same.
Looking for work requires a positive attitude and careful planning. Job hunting is hard work but it can also be a journey of discovery and your motivation level will affect your chances of finding employment.
You will feel much more confident approaching this phase if you have done some thinking and preparation. It also helps to understand the job search as a process or journey. Mastering this process is a very important step to developing skills in managing your own career.
Overcoming negative attitudes
When you are unemployed or unhappy in your current job, worried about money, anxious about how your qualifications measure up and are afraid of rejection, you may sometimes find yourself struggling to keep a positive attitude.
Your confidence is a vital element in your work search - employers want to employ people who believe in themselves. Nothing destroys your self-confidence faster than a descent into negativity, worry and fear.
What you think about yourself affects both your expectations and your behaviour. If you think you can't succeed (for example, "No one will hire me because I was fired" or "I'm too old/ too young /not educated enough") you'll feel defeated by your negative thoughts before you even begin your job search and may act in ways that are likely to create negative results.
Consider the following:
I'll take any job I can get.
You're probably selling yourself short. You're a unique individual with many skills and interests. There are many things you can do. If you follow up on areas that interest you, or that you already have some skills developed, you will have more motivation and a more positive attitude. (see section on Career Interests and Career Skills)
If you don't know what kind of work you're looking for, you risk taking jobs you don't like or aren't well suited for. Targeting your job search is much more effective than widely distributing hundreds of CV's to random companies. If you're not sure what you are interested in, create a Career File on this site, and use the career Interest Profiler to match occupations to your interests. Also, take some time to complete some self assessment exercises to assist you in having a broader understanding of yourself.
I'm only qualified for one type of work.
If you think you're only qualified to work at what you're trained for or have done in the past, you may be unnecessarily limiting your options.
Stop thinking in terms of job titles and start thinking about your skills. For example, teachers have communication skills, organisational skills and leadership skills. Hairstylists must be skilled at making customers feel comfortable, marketing products, dealing with cash and working efficiently. These skills are required in many types of work, and could easily be transferred to different jobs that also require such skills.
To find out what skills you have that could transfer to other kinds of work, download our Career Skills worksheet and complete the self-assessment exercise.
I have no idea what I want.
Consider rephrasing this - what have you got to offer? If you have considered just about everything and nothing stands out, then you are not ready for a serious job commitment. So don't go looking for one - just take stock of what you have to offer (skills, knowledge, experience, attitude, personality, values etc - take some self-assessment exercises if you aren't sure) and take any opportunity that you can as part of a learning process. You will be surprised how much experience you can clock up in just one month of any job, and you will always be wiser as a result.
Planning a Job Search
If you are going to take your job search seriously, then you need to understand the process. We provide a comprehensive overview of the process to help you on the way in our Searching for Jobs section.