You may be a new graduate entering the workforce. You may be a retiree looking for an encore career. You may be an executive or professional who is unemployed, or proactively searching for a different opportunity. Regardless of your circumstances – what you’re looking for, how long you have been looking, and why you’re looking – one thing is certain. To get what you want, you have to work your way through a process. And the more systematic and resourceful you are in this process, the better your outcome.
Here are the first ten things that will ramp up your success:
1. Think of the job search as your job.
Approach the task of finding a job as if it were a job itself – with you as your own CEO or boss. Work at it full time (or part-time if you’re looking while you’re still employed). Invest 100 percent of your effort and commitment to an allocated and scheduled amount of hours.
2. Organize yourself.
Whether you job search from your home office, a desk in an outplacement office, or a make-shift table and chair in your kitchen or bedroom, set up a job search headquarters. Inventory what you will need, such as a reliable phone and computer to conduct internet research, send compatible resumes and letters, apply to jobs online, etc.
3. Arm yourself with the latest skills.
Today’s job market favors skilled candidates who are ready to step in and make an immediate contribution, without having to go through a lengthy training period. Familiarize yourself with the critical skills requirement for the types of jobs you’re going after. Make sure that you possess those skills before you begin to compete for those jobs.
4. Set targets.
Before you do anything in a job search, take time to decide what kind of job you really want – based on your interests, education, career goals, and other needs (for example, how much money you need and what special circumstances – your willingness to relocate, commute, etc.). To clarify these targets, be prepared to do some research, talk to people, work with a career coach, or sample different jobs by shadowing, volunteering, or working as a temporary employee.
5. Get a sense of the marketplace.
Be as impartial as you can about your own marketability – based on the number of available jobs in your field of choice and the number of qualified candidates competing for the same jobs. Be prepared to modify or expand your job targets if you’re competing in a tight market.
6. Think small when you’re targeting companies.
Job opportunities are out there, but think beyond the major corporations, expanding to those companies that employ fewer than 100 people. Adjust your job search strategy to include due diligence on these smaller organizations.
7. Create a killer resume by stressing skills and accomplishments.
Make sure that your resume does more than simply list your previous jobs and responsibilities. Stress skills, successes, and attributes that are apt to attract employers in your target areas. And create a LinkedIn profile (or additional social media profiling) that does the same.
8. Stay versatile when it comes to uncovering job leads.
You can uncover job leads in a variety of ways – through networking, by reading, working with recruiters, or directly approaching people and companies that you identify as potential employers. Be ready to explore every avenue that could produce a lead.
9. Network, network, network.
Make it a daily goal to call, write, or meet at least three people you haven’t contacted who may be able – now or in the near future – to tell you about a job lead or introduce you to someone who could do the same.
10. Dive into the right information.
Submerge yourself in reading related to the fields you’ve targeted or the companies for which you would like to work. Read the key trade publications in your field, and stay current on trends and issues that professionals in your field deal with on a day-to-day basis.
In my next post, I’ll share the second ten things you should do in your job search. I always welcome your feedback! Please comment below.