A job search is something most of us undertake several times over the course of a lifetime. It’s not always a path full of sunshine and roses. It can rattle your nerves, summon up fears and insecurities, and cause general havoc in life. Even when it’s your own choice to strike out in a new direction there will be moments of doubt and concern. You can mitigate those times by following the first three steps of a great job search strategy.
1. Know Yourself
Searching for a new job is the right time to take stock of your dreams, values, experience, skills, accomplishments, and personal assets. The more clear you are about yourself, the easier it will be to identify the opportunities that are right for you. No more wasting time and effort on the wrong fit. Dive into the resources listed below and get to know wonderful you!
Core Values Index
The Core Values Index by Taylor Protocols is one of my favorite self-assessments. It takes just 10 minutes and provides you with an excellent assessment of your core values as they relate to four categories: The Merchant, The Builder, The Innovator, and The Banker. The beauty of this assessment is that it evaluates core values that don’t change over time. If you take it now, the results will be the same 10 years down the road. Now that’s pretty powerful stuff! You can take a free CVI here. The only difference between the free version and the paid version ($49) is you will not receive the actual numbers associated with four categories.
A classic and effective approach to lasering in on the career path most suited for your unique and wonderful self. The self-directed program in the book and workbook are powerful tools for career transformation! Order from Amazon here: What Color is Your Parachute 2017. It’s a personal journey of awareness worth traveling.
Your Resume or CV
As you develop your resume or CV, you have the opportunity to reflect on your accomplishments and skill sets. Resumes are the most difficult of all documents to complete, especially if they are your own! There is a reason there are many professional resume writers. You may be a great writer, skilled at getting your message across on paper, and yet when you sit down to write your own resume, it just doesn’t flow. It happens to most everyone! Another good reason to get professional assistance is formatting. It counts. Resume writers are trained to present you as a quality candidate and that mean a crisp format without errors. Get the help you deserve with a professional resume from A New Day Career Services.
2. Know Where You’re Going
Now that you have a better idea of yourself, where are you going to promote that magnificence? It’s time to zone in on the right profession, industry, and even company!
Must Have/Must NOT Have
Take a piece of paper and draw a line down the center. Write Must Have on one side and Must NOT Have on the other. Write down your thoughts about the type of organization and environment you would like to work in – or not work in. What is important to you? What is critical to your happiness when working for a company? What are the things you know would make you miserable? Perhaps it’s important to you that the company does good work in the world, or a casual dress code would make life more comfortable for you. On the flip side you may not like working in a crowded room with lots of cubicles, or dealing with an multiple bosses. As you create your list you may have one or two worthy ah-ha moments as you discover hidden, yet valuable, preferences.
Professions and Industries
Time for some research! Knowing what you now know about yourself and the kind of organization you would like to work with, dive into the possibilities. Check out Vault. It’s a website that provides a wealth of information on industries and professions from A-Z.
The Industry Overviews has in-depth information on any industry you can imagine. Right next to the Industry Overviews menu tab is the Find a Profession tab. There you will find a handy little questionnaire that has check boxes for personality traits, areas of interest, favorite school subjects, and preferred industries. Once completed it will return a list of possible professions based on your checkmarks! Click on one of the job titles and you get a grid of great information including geography, education, school subjects, personality traits, employment prospects, salary ranges, and more!
Some of the information is locked. To dive deeper into the Vault you must become a member at $9.99/month, though your subscription comes with additional benefits such as the ability to research companies, explore careers in more detail, and look at ratings and reviews from employees and interns. They also have a job board. Even without a membership, Vault is a great place for research and outside-the-box brainstorming.
3. Know How to Get There
And now it’s time to do the work. The goal in step three is to get interviews with jobs you would really like to have. Preparation, organization, and consistent action will certainly get you there!
Collect Your Resources
What are your resources?
- Your resumes. Plural. One resume rarely fits all. Having resumes pre-prepared for different job categories just makes sense. Up to three variations of your resume is perfectly legitimate.
- A cover letter. Yes, it must be customized for each application, but the basic elements that make you shine can be ready to go when you update it for a specific position.
- A list of professional references. Gather them now and type them up in a document. Make sure you have pre-contacted everyone on the list. Provide a name, title, company, phone and email, and relationship to you.
- A way to organize your efforts. Request a free Job Tracker from your friends at A New Day Career Services. It’s an Excel worksheet that is easy to use and set up for your job search success – and it will help you keep all critical information in one place. There is a section for your vision and goals and sections for Job Interests, Job Applications in Progress, Active Engagements, and Networking Contacts. There is also a place to keep track of your resources!
- Your own self-confidence and positive outlook. Use what works best for you to keep your energy high and bright. Coaching sessions, meditation, social engagements, regular exercise, uplifting speeches – maybe something different every day. Visualize your success!
Know Your Job Boards
Find your favorite job boards and set up automatic notices for each job category or job title in your search parameters. Indeed and LinkedIn boards are mainstays in the job search arena. However, don’t limit yourself! Using your newfound knowledge of industries and professions that are a match for you, research associations and specific industry or job websites. They are out there!
The point is to find your favorites – the ones that make the most sense to you. Maximize their potential by setting up automatic alerts for job titles. Familiarize yourself with their platform technology. Some offer a place for you to save interesting jobs and track your actions through the process. Some offer the option of uploading your resume and letting employers find you. This is a personal preference. It can work for some job categories; for others, you may only get contacted by companies that want you to pay for work, start your own business, or work on commission only.
Find recruiters for your industry and contact them. They are looking for you! It’s a pretty hot job market right now and there are a lot of recruiters looking to fill positions. Make sure you present yourself well upfront. A quality resume and cover letter, professional communication, and prompt follow-up are critical each step of the way.
The old saying, “it’s not what you do, it’s who you know” applies today. Employers love referrals because they can assume that those who are willing to put their reputation on the line for providing a referral generally won’t promote someone who does not have a solid work ethic and integrity.
Find your networking outlet and go make some friends. Show people who you are by being consistent, friendly, and approachable. Every industry and profession has one or more associations, and each one of those holds regular meetings. Check out this link to the Directory of Associations. It is a searchable database of over 35,000 local, regional, national, and international associations.
Now, Go for It!
A few tips for staying focused and positive:
- Be prepared to not hear back. It happens all the time. Don’t take it personally and move on.
- Follow up or reapply. If you truly feel it’s a match made in heaven, reach out again. HR folks get lots of applications and they do occasionally fall through the cracks. Make another attempt by contacting the HR department or locating a contact through your networks. You have nothing to lose and a lot to gain!
- Be strategic. Have a plan for each week. How many hours are you going to spend on your job search? What are you going to do with those hours? Do you need or want support? If so, reach out to an accountability partner or someone who cares. Let them know what you are doing and how they can support you.
- Stay positive. Job searching is one thing in this world that can seriously damage a person’s self-worth. Looking at all the requirements for this and that job can make you feel inferior. Don’t believe it. You are a valuable person who will make huge contributions wherever you land. KNOW it!
- Stay balanced. Life/work balance is something that needs to be mastered at work. Don’t let stress or fear take you down. Begin now to develop this important habit. Make your job search project practice ground for taking care of yourself. If you are able to do this it will be noticeable in the many interviews that are coming right up in your near future.
If you would like additional support or to delegate key aspects of your job search project, call A New Day Career Services at 360-751-3507 or drop an online contact request here. We’re on a mission to help you succeed!