Job hunting will always be stressful, particularly in times like these, but there are ways to reduce the stress and shorten the search. Success is a matter of knowing what to do, how to do it, and when to do it. Here are three steps to super-charge your search for a new job.
STEP 1 ASSUME THE RIGHT PERSPECTIVE
There are dozens of small steps in a successful job search campaign. Many of them will lead to nothing, but each will add to the momentum of your search… and it is momentum that ultimately leads to success. Success is attracted to speed! Focus on the big picture and commit yourself to acquiring the right tools, developing a plan, and executing the plan relentlessly until you have received an offer you like. Remember, even in a bad market, you can track down good job openings and gain interviews — if you go about it the right way.
STEP 2 GATHER THE RIGHT TOOLS
A paper resume, an electronic resume, good cover letters, resume cards, marketing lists and a plan. These are the tools you will use.
A resume is probably your most important tool, so keep in mind that it is better to have no resume at all than to have a bad one. If possible, have your resume, both paper and electronic, prepared by a professional resume writer (not typist).
Resume cards are equally important as they are able to go places your resume alone never could. They can open new doors and pave the way to getting your resume read… which must be accomplished in order to land interviews and job offers. Professional resume cards are opportunity stalkers!
A target marketing list, for the most part researched and developed online, is best described as a list of employers who are not necessarily advertising new positions, but are known to employ persons with your background and skills. This list is your pathway to the invisible (hidden) job market.
You should also compile a networking list (past supervisors, peers, customers, your banker, insurance agent… every professional person in your sphere with whom you enjoy good relations). Next come your personal reference list, the placement (employment) agencies you will contact, the websites you will use to post your resume and check job openings, plus any newspapers you will follow to check job advertisements and learn of new business start-ups or expansions.
Finally, we come to your self-marketing plan. Without a written, comprehensive job search plan to which you are committed, you will do one thing today, something else tomorrow and perhaps nothing at all the following day. Consequently, you will build no momentum, which will lead to a lot of frustration and a prolonged job search. Job search should be a full-time job if you are unemployed and a regular part-time job otherwise.
Develop a formal schedule for daily/weekly job search activities, giving top priority to tasks, such as telephoning, that must be handled during normal business hours. Computer and administrative work can be handled in the evening or as time permits during the day. Any job search must be flexible as there will be job fairs, networking events, employer interviews and other important functions that require time away from your desk… however, it’s equally important to stay current with your job search plan.
STEP 3 EXECUTE YOUR PLAN
Begin making daily networking contacts, applying online, posting your resume, handing out resume cards, answering advertisements — in general following your formal job search plan. There are two important rules when applying online or mailing your resume to a prospective employer: first, visit and study their website so you will be equipped to write a compelling cover letter. Second, follow the employer’s posted application instructions exactly as stated. Keep meticulous notes regarding all contacts and follow up each one with a telephone call, note or email. Maintain control by working your various lists in sections.
The secret is to keep working the weekly schedule until you have been hired into a new position. Never break your momentum by waiting to hear from a job interview. Send thank-you notes to the interviewer(s) and get back to work.