If you had to estimate how many jobs the average adult holds before retiring, what would you guess?
If you thought to yourself, at least a dozen or more, then congratulations: you’re correct. Unlike past generations, when a twentysomething found a job and stuck with it throughout their lives, today’s employees travel varied, meandering career paths toward retirement.
In fact, in 2020, a freshly-minted college grad can expect to cycle through a dozen or more jobs, career expert Marya Triandafellos tells NBC. And that means if you aren’t satisfied in your current role, then you have ample opportunity to look elsewhere.
Unfortunately, getting an offer after hunting online is difficult. Sending resumes into cyberspace often returns nothing but a cursory digital thank you at best – and deafening silence at worst.
If you’re tired of fruitlessly scouring online job boards and following dead-end leads, then it’s time to up your game. Here are four ways you can find your next perfect job.
1) Upgrade your social media presence
An active, thoughtful presence on social media accomplishes three critical goals. First, when you post insights or publish articles, you build your reputation as an industry expert. Second, you can engage in digital conversation with thought leaders working at businesses you’d like to join. Third, you can share professional accomplishments in a socially appropriate way.
A strong social media game will help you become a more marketable job candidate. But before you post, make sure you’ve taken care of the basics.
- Pick the right platform. LinkedIn and Twitter are probably best for most, but Instagram is great for creatives.
- Choose a memorable but professional image. Leave the red solo cups to Facebook.
- Don’t skimp on your profile. Add as much detail as you can, focusing on the aspects of your career that others will care about most.
- “Friend” wisely. Fewer, more valuable “friend” contacts are better than hundreds of people you met once (or not at all) and barely know.
- Post and update thoughtfully. Do not spam your contacts’ feeds with nonsensical or non-relevant content. Explore this guide to LinkedIn’s best marketing practices and follow the lessons to build your own personal brand.
2) Boldly seek new opportunities
Notey founder Catherin Tan told The Muse that boldness is an essential ingredient in a worthwhile job search. You may not even need to wait for a company you like to post an open position.
According to Tan, you should:
- Identify and solve a business problem in the application you send. One of Tan’s colleagues wrote up a job description that didn’t yet exist and submitted it to her target business, explaining how she could solve business problems if granted the role.
- Start a blog. Tan says she loves reading digital portfolios and blogs because they give her an idea of how people think – and how enthusiastic they are about their vocation.
- Make enthusiasm work for you. If you see a job description or business that speaks to you deeply, pull out all the stops when applying, as Tan talks about here.
- Be open to opportunities, no matter where you are. Targeting specific businesses is great, but don’t forget to stay emotionally open to opportunities where and when you least expect them.
3) Do a deep dive on your attributes
Chances are you’re familiar with the Myers-Briggs test, which identifies attitudes and mental functions through a long series of personality questions. If you’ve ever wondered if you’re a natural leader or follower, or if you prefer to make decisions by gut feeling or by analyzing reams of data, then the MBIT can help.
Here’s why this matters: let’s say you’ve always wanted to work for Company A, a vast and profitable global hedge fund. You also know that Company A employs a “radical transparency” approach to company culture, and you’re worried that you’re not strong enough at your job to thrive under that kind of pressure.
Are you the sort of person who will thrive in this kind of environment? The MBIT can help you decide.
4) Volunteer your time and expertise
Let’s say you want to make the shift from the for-profit world to the not-for-profit world. You don’t have any experience, but you’re committed to joining a mission-driven organization. What next?
Consider volunteering your time. For example, you could oversee creating a youth program at your current employer, learning how to establish, market, and award a scholarship. You could join the board of a local community organization and plan a fundraiser. You could also network with a close peer in the industry you want to serve, helping them solve a business problem.
Just don’t forget to update your LinkedIn profile with your new accomplishments.
Lisa Bigelow is an award-winning content creator, personal finance expert, and mom of three fantastic almost-adults. In addition to Ed4Career.com, Lisa has contributed to Finance Buzz, Life and Money by Citi, MagnifyMoney, Well + Good, Smarter With Gartner, and Popular Science. She lives with her family in Connecticut.