Are you lacking enthusiasm for your job search? Do you find yourself applying for roles that don’t really interest or excite you? If so, then it could be worth exploring some new ideas.

While the more conventional ways of finding work – such as applying for opportunities online – are still important, thinking creatively about your search can open new doors and inspire you in ways you didn’t expect.

With that said, here are seven simple ideas that could help you to inject some inspiration into your job search…

1. Allow time to hunt for jobs you may not have considered, or even knew existed

When you’re looking to secure a new role quickly, sometimes it can feel easier to reach out and apply for more traditional roles. And while this is a core part of any job search, there’s also lots of fun to be had whilst exploring roles that you may not have previously considered, or even knew existed. For example, do you know what a Specialist Hygiene Technician or a Food Stylist do?

If you’re yet to feel excited about any of the roles you’re applying for, then perhaps it’s time to uncover some new ones. Taking an expansive view and feeling like the world is your oyster is one of the most exciting parts of looking for a new job, so it can be helpful to explore what else is out there.

With this in mind, we’ve created a four-part series on Unique jobs you may not have considered to inspire people to think more creatively about their options. You can find all four parts below…

2. Attend a job fair

Job fairs take place all over the UK and can have up to 50 (or possibly more) employers in attendance, so the pool of opportunity is huge. They’re the perfect place for employers and job seekers to uncover one another’s potential and discuss whether they could make a good match.

With so many employers in one place, this can be an effective way to maximise your time and effort, whilst saving on energy. It’s unlikely that you’d be able to visit 50 employers in one day in any setting other than a job fair, so attending for even a couple of hours could make a significant difference to your search.

You’ll also get to explore career options and employers that you may not have considered and could leave with some useful contacts and a clearer idea of the kind of role you’d like to commit to.

The website, Job Fair, lists upcoming fairs around the UK – all fairs are free to attend and don’t require any registration. So, if you’re looking to supercharge your job search and find some inspiration, then this could be a helpful place to start.

If you’d prefer, you can also attend job fairs online. For more information about virtual job fairs, you might want to take a look at the UK government’s page on making the most of virtual job fairs.

3. Plan to meet up with as many old friends and colleagues as you can


Landing your ideal job can seem much more manageable if you can get the inside scoop from someone who already works in the role or industry.

It might be that you’re particularly interested in a specific role or career path, in which case, asking friends and family if they know anyone in that profession you can talk to can really help you understand more about the role and how to get started.

Even if you’re not sure what specific role or industry you’d like to work in, it’s still a good idea to put yourself out there and speak to anyone and everyone you can about their role, the pros and cons, and any potential openings their employer might have.

Word of mouth and personal networking can be incredibly helpful in securing that first interview – so what better excuse than to go for a coffee with old friends and colleagues to catch up and understand the lay of the land?

You never know where these conversations might lead, and they could open up ideas for new roles or opportunities that you hadn’t previously considered. You might even get to hear about upcoming vacancies before they’re advertised, or get a recommendation from the person who gave you the advice in the first place.

4. Think about starting a side hustle

work on the side

In case you’re wondering, a ‘side hustle’ is a flexible job or activity that you can do in your spare time to top up your income. And, starting a side hustle alongside your job search can be a great way to get by while looking for a more permanent role. Plus, it can make a great addition to your CV and/or cover letter because it shows you’re proactive and entrepreneurially-minded.

Many people base their side hustle on something they’re particularly passionate about or on a business idea that they’d like to test – and some discover that their side hustle has the potential to become their main source of income with the right planning, building, and organisation.

From setting up an Airbnb and publishing your own books, to becoming a mystery shopper – there are plenty of ways you can make some extra cash in your free time.

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5. Consider working for yourself

work for yourself

If you’re finding it difficult to find the right role for you, then it’s definitely worth considering whether you’d be better off creating your own job by building your own business and working for yourself.

The type of work you do will be entirely up to you – this is usually a very personal choice and will typically reflect something you’re really passionate about.

Becoming your boss can be a fantastic way to take back control of your own future. While many business owners will tell you that it can be really hard work, it can also come with a huge sense of satisfaction.

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6. Consider writing to or visiting companies that aren’t currently advertising jobs

companies that aren't advertising work

It can be disheartening to have a good idea about what sort of opportunity you’d like to apply for, but feel limited by the lack of specific job adverts out there. So, one of the best ways to push the boundaries of your job search and take steps towards securing a job that you really want is to write to or visit companies who may not currently be advertising roles, and express your interest in working for them.

Although they may not currently be recruiting, there’s always a chance they will be soon (in which case, your early contact could give you an advantage), or that they could spot something in your skillset which may be beneficial enough for them to consider finding a place for you in the team anyway.

And even if neither of these things happens, it’s always useful to open up the lines of communication with companies that you’re particularly passionate about working for, just in case a suitable opportunity comes up in the future.

The way you go about expressing your interest will largely depend on the type of roles and/or industries that you’re interested in. The most common way would be to write a cover letter; which tells the company why you want to work for them and what skills and/or experience you have to offer – and email this, along with your CV, to a relevant contact at the company.

If you aren’t sure who to contact, then you can start with the greeting, ‘Dear Sir/Madam’ or ‘Dear Hiring Manager.’ It’s important to do some digging and find the correct email address though to avoid your application being lost in cyberspace – many companies will have a contact email address on their careers page along the lines of [email protected] or [email protected] so it’s worth having a look around their careers page or the ‘contact us’ page on their website to find out what it is.

If the role you’d like to work in is a customer-facing role (e.g. in hospitality or retail), then it can be more useful to attend in person and ask to speak to the Manager, who may be able to discuss potential opportunities with you.

It’s important to remember that not all companies (whether you attend in person or email them) will be open to talking to you about opportunities that they aren’t currently advertising. However, if even just one does, you could be taking a big step closer to an opportunity that you really want, rather than simply settling for what’s currently available.

If you need some help writing a cover letter of interest, we offer a template here. And for additional help, why not check out our career advice section, where you can find tips and tricks for writing your cover letter, as well as your CV.

7. Think about taking on a temporary position

Even though your end goal may be to find a permanent job, there’s a lot that a temporary role could have to offer you in the meantime – so it’s something that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Many temporary jobs are offered on a seasonal basis. For example, many retailers are looking for extra help over Christmas – as this is their busiest time of year – as are Royal Mail, who need help with increased postal demands.

Taking on a job for a fixed period can be interesting, as it allows you to try something new without making a long-term commitment. You’ll also get the chance to learn some new skills and meet some new people – which is always a bonus. Many temporary jobs also have the potential to become permanent if things go well.

If you’re looking for a temporary role, then you might want to consider taking a look at our article, 11 short-term contract jobs for the over 50s.

Final thoughts...

Whether you’ve just started your job search journey or you’ve been going at it for a while, exploring new ways to find opportunities and considering roles you might not have already thought of can not only make your search more interesting – but can also help you find the right role for you.

We hope that these seven ideas have given you some inspiration. For more help in finding a job, you might want to consider visiting the career advice section of our site, which has a range of content from CV and cover letter writing advice to popular career change ideas for over 50s.

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