I’m sure you don’t need advice on how to search for a job, right? You’re checking the local newspapers weekly and browsing online job sites daily for any relevant vacancies, often spending hours a day searching for roles you feel you can apply for. Once you’ve identified suitable roles you apply, confident you’ll be called to interview and within days have an offer on the table.

But what if you struggle to identify any suitable vacancies? What if the calls fail to come in and you’re not getting interview requests for those positions you thought were a certainty? A month or two later and you’re still out of work, unsure of your next move and feeling pretty despondent about the whole process.

Does the above scenario sound familiar? Many people stick to these limited and passive job hunting strategies and quickly lose motivation when they fail to get results. However, you don’t have to resign yourself to this job search scenario!

Today, I want to share with you seven simple yet powerful job search tips that will increase your activity and motivation levels, leading to a positive, effective and successful job search.

1) Have a strategy – it’s really important that you don’t restrict your job search to one or two methods, such as trawling through online job sites or relying on a recruitment agency. A successful job search involves a range of methods – checking visible job vacancies and also being creative to access what’s called the ‘hidden job market’. This should be a key part of your job search strategy, and involves identifying opportunities that aren’t advertised in the usual, visible places. Techniques listed below such as networking, promoting yourself on social media and telling friends and family are all ways of accessing the hidden job market. Before you start job searching, create a strategy that combines a range of effective job searching techniques (starting with those listed in this blog post!) to help guide and focus your efforts going forward.

2) Network – most job seekers shudder at the thought of networking, however before you start imagining approaching strangers at black tie events let me reassure you. Networking in its true form is simply reaching out to and communicating with others, whether that be online or in person. Have a goal in mind in terms of what you want to gain from networking – perhaps learning about a specific sector or finding out more about a specific company – and then focus on your existing network and connections (friends, family, colleagues, neighbours etc) to obtain this information. Remember, networking is a two-way process, so you also want to consider what information you can share with others.

3) Use Social Media – alongside meeting people and making connections in person, it’s important you also use online networking sites to promote yourself and look for job opportunities. More and more employers are using LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to advertise vacancies and search for potential employees so it’s vital to create a positive and professional profile to help you get noticed. Writing a blog or posting information and comments on relevant social media channels will demonstrate your motivation for your chosen industry and help you to stand out to employers. Do your research and identify which forms of social media companies within your industry use and make sure you have a presence on them too.

4) Tell friends and family – a simple yet often overlooked strategy to include in your job hunt! Word of mouth is an extremely powerful marketing tool, and simply telling people you know that you’re looking for work can help your job search enormously. Your friends and family may have contacts in the industry or specific companies you’re looking to enter and will be happy to pass on your details to the relevant people. For an employer, referrals are a great option as they tend to lead to employees that have more realistic expectations of the company, have a better cultural fit with the organisation and stay longer as a result.

5) Research and identify companies you’d like to work for – knowing what you’re looking for is key to a productive job search. A great idea is to create a shortlist of companies you’d like to work for, or companies in your sector of choice that you’d like to know more about. Rate your knowledge of the company out of 10 and then make it your task to find out more. This could be through online research or contacting people who work within company and setting up an ‘information interview’ to find out more. Once you have a shortlist of ideal companies, do your research to determine where and how they advertise vacancies and consider sending a speculative application.

6) Gain relevant skills – although we’d all like to find our next job quickly, the reality is that sometimes it can take time (and effort!) to obtain a new role that’s suitable and rewarding. During your research you may realise that there are certain skills needed in your preferred industry that you don’t have, or perhaps there are areas of your current expertise that you could do with improving. Now is a perfect time to identify ways to plug these gaps and work on up-skilling yourself. Not only will this help you become more marketable and employable, it also demonstrates your motivation and effort levels to potential employers.

7) Stay positive! Although it’s not always easy when you feel you’re putting a lot of effort into your job search and failing to get the responses you want, it’s really important to try and stay positive. Schedule time for your job searching and also time for other activities that make you happy, whether that’s getting outside, reading a good book or catching up with friends and family. I guarantee that by applying the tips above you will find the job searching process more motivating – seeing it as fact-finding, self-marketing mission which you are in the driving seat of, rather than being a passive cog waiting for a job opportunity to come to you.

I hope you job seekers out there found this blog post useful – I’d love to know your thoughts so feel free to leave your comments/questions below!