- 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.
- Aim for the Right Target
Try to match your skills, interests, and values with the right career choice. For example, 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.
- Be Assertive and Proactive
The old adage “Good things come to those who wait” does NOT apply to those in the market for a new job. You’ve got to go out there and make it happen.
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 into 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 to the public.
If you can present yourself as the perfect candidate at this early stage, an employer may snap you up without looking elsewhere.
- 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.
Also, 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 online discussion boards.
- Get Professional Help
Employment agencies can be an excellent resource for job leads, and they come in all shapes, sizes, and price ranges. 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.
- 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.
- Say It Clearly
When sending out resumés, catch prospective employers’ 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.
- 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.
- Be Persistent
Job searching is difficult, 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!