Sometimes the best advice is the simplest. Business gurus, entrepreneurs, athletes, artists, and scientists have all been quoted as insisting that when nothing is happening for you, the smartest thing you can do is just keep moving forward.
Great words to live by, and especially to job-hunt by.
When you’re in waiting mode, when nobody is getting back to you even after you have tried to follow-up, when you don’t really know to do, keep moving is really the only strategy to follow.
The Bagg Group has five major divisions: Bagg Professional, Bagg Technology Resources, Bagg @ Your Service, Bagg Managed Resources, and Turn Key Staffing Solutions. Between all five, we place thousands of people in full-time positions, contracts and temporary placements in just about every sector, every year.
Because we interview so many candidates for positions at all levels, we can confirm that candidates who keep doing something, even when their job hunt stalls, find things happen for them, personally and professionally.
But the question is –how do you just keep moving?
Most high-achievers we’ve asked say they volunteer. Because while you can’t always control when you will land your new job, it is always in your power to do something useful. And that sense of being able to do something empowers you.
Volunteering helps others –but it also helps you a lot as a job-hunter.
It gives you a welcome break from your routine, and you get to think about something other than your job search. Plus, it expands your circle. It also expands your conversation. You’ll improve your resume and have something interesting to talk about in interviews.
With that in mind, our recruiters have put together these 5 important tips for making volunteering work for job-hunters
- Look for the right fit. You want to be energized by your time spent volunteering. So don’t take on any volunteer gig simply for the sake of volunteering, find something that genuinely engages you.
- If you are not sure what to do or where to volunteer, check out volunteertoronto.ca This is a job board for volunteer positions, and has all kinds of opportunities for applying your skills to a good cause.
Also, check out charityvillage.com, which posts jobs and volunteer positions for not-for-profits. Don’t forget the The PanAm Games, taking place next July, will need a total of 23,000 volunteers. There are some volunteer positions that start now, go to toronto2015.org/volunteer. As well, keep an eye on bulletin boards at libraries.
- Join the organization of your interest. Almost every community and humanitarian organization, (i.e. Rotary Club and Unicef Canada) and cultural organization(i.e. Hot Docs and TIFF) welcome kindred spirits who want to get involved.
Maybe it’s helping out at The Metro Toronto Zoo or Amnesty International that speaks to you. Whatever it is, just Google and you will definitely find doors are open to you.
- On your resume, describe your volunteer job as if it is a paid job. Work is work, whether or not it comes with a paycheque. Highlight the skills you use and detail your achievements as you would for a paying position. And be sure to use workplace job titles (ie. Project coordinator, marketing strategist, fundraiser, promotion coordinator, team lead, etc.).
- Describe your activity using workplace language. Use words you would see in a job description. For example, did you exceed goals, did you supervise and/or motivate a team or stakeholders (and with what result)? Did you set up a system to increase operational efficiency? Did you research and write reports, generate brand awareness, etc.? Don’t downplay or dismiss anything you do! It all matters.
Of course, volunteering is not the only way to keep moving forward.
You can do temporary placements while you job-hunt which is an excellent option. You can use your down time to upgrade skills, not to mention get in shape.
Just doing something will alleviate the waiting game, and remind you that even though it doesn’t feel like it, you are always in the driver’s seat.
At The Bagg Group, we know it is the feeling of momentum that is so important.
Gene Hayden drives home the point in her book The Follow-Through Factor: Getting from Doubt to Done . Her research confirms that the Newton law of motion applies to every situation –and that includes job-hunting.
Newton’s law of motion says every action creates a reaction. “In other words,” writes Hayden. “if you do something – even if it’s not much of anything – something else will happen.”
But ,warns Hayden, if you don’t do anything, you will experience Newton’s law of inertia which says things continue as they were, and at the same pace, if you don’t make changes.
So along with your job-hunt search plan, draw up a parallel plan of action to keep moving, and activate it. And let the law of motion carry you forward.