Searching for a new job is hard work. In fact, it can be the toughest “job” you’ll ever have. The key to job search success is to treat the entire process like a business. You are currently in the “job hunting” business. To stand head and shoulders above the rest of the job-seeking crowd, it’s important to lay out an effective strategy. By defining what you want and need, you’re on your way to getting it…
Jump-start your next job search with these helpful job-hunting strategies:
1. Know thyself. Begin your job search by taking a thorough inventory of your interests, skills, accomplishments, experience, goals, and values. Make a detailed list. The key to a successful job search is to recognize what makes you a unique candidate and to communicate this effectively to a prospective employer, both verbally and in writing.
2. Aim for the right target. Try to match your skills, interests, and values with the right career choice. If one of your goals is to get a larger salary, don’t focus on career paths that traditionally pay low salaries. Conduct research on various fields and local companies within those fields. Learn about different businesses that interest you and target those that are more likely to have open positions.
3. Be assertive and proactive. Don’t wait around for opportunity to come knocking on your door. While cold calling potential employers can be intimidating, it remains a powerful strategy. It’s important to get through the door before your competition.
4. Do some sleuthing. One key to breaking in is understanding the “hidden” job market. Many job openings exist only in the minds of directors, vice presidents, and other company bigwigs, long before the job is finally advertised in newspapers or on the Internet. If you can present yourself as the perfect candidate at this early stage, an employer may snap you up without looking elsewhere.
5. Work the network. Networking should be at the center of your job search strategy. Get the word out to friends, trusted colleagues, and even relatives that you are actively looking for a job, and ask them to keep their eyes and ears open for any opportunities. Expand your network and join professional organizations, sign up for job search newsletters and e-mail blasts, contact former professors and classmates, and participate in Internet discussion boards.
6. Get professional help. Employment agencies come in all shapes, sizes, and price ranges; they can be an excellent resource for job leads. Some specialize in very specific occupational areas, and many often have exclusive arrangements with large companies. If you’re interested in the services of an agency, investigate it carefully. Determine what the agency will do for you and how much it will cost.
7. Be temporarily flexible. Temp jobs are a great way to learn skills, gain experience, and earn money while looking for a permanent position. They are also a way to prove your worth and be first in line when a full-time position opens up. Working as a consultant or independent contractor in a company can also eventually lead to steady, full-time employment.
8. Say it clearly. When sending out résumés, catch the prospective employer’s attention with a brief and concise cover letter that clearly spells out how your qualifications match the job requirements. Connect the dots for the reader, and make it obvious why you’re the perfect candidate for the job.
9. Keep careful records. Keeping track of the progress of your job search is important. Maintain a detailed record of all the jobs you have applied to, including communications, interviews, referrals, and follow-up actions. This will help you build a network of valuable contacts both for your current job search and for any future ones.
10. Be persistent. Job searching is hard work and there are times when you will be discouraged. Just keep in
mind that everyone has been through the same grind at one point. Try to keep a positive attitude, and look at
your job hunt as an exciting challenge. Your perfect job is out there somewhere. Good luck!