The Do’s and Don’ts of an Effective Job Search
By Sue Campbell, 1st-Writer.com
See also: Interview Practice Quiz and
- Don’t assume this job search will be just like the last job search. It may be harder or easier, but chances are it will be different. The methods used to secure the last position may not be the methods that succeed in securing the next. Use all the avenues available to you in this job search.
- Don’t set your sights on the one perfect potential offer and stop all other activities and search efforts. No job opportunity is a guarantee until the job has been offered and accepted. Keep looking, keep submitting resumes, keep applying, and keep interviewing for other positions, even when you believe, in your heart of hearts, that an offer is in the air.
- Don’t focus all your energy and extra time on your job search. Establish a set number of hours per day or week that you will devote to securing a new position and use any extra time available to: improve yourself (take a course, read, learn a new skill), catch up with friends and family, catch up on activities or projects you haven’t had time to enjoy or complete, volunteer to a cause that means something to you, meditate and relax, help someone else, and have some fun. Even though a job search can be a stressful and frustrating process, you’ve been given an opportunity (particularly if you’re temporarily unemployed) to take stock and breathe. Creating balance in your job search will make you more productive and enthusiastic, and will increase your chances for success. Besides, you ought to enjoy this time, because once you’ve secured a new position it may be a while before you have such freedom again.
- Don’t let fear of the unknown overwhelm you. Rather, think of all the possibilities, envision yourself doing what you want to do and being where you want to be. Focus your energies on the positive, see it in your mind, believe it will happen, and make it happen.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
- Don’t be afraid to offer help. The interviewer and potential employer are looking for solutions. Go in as a problem solver and you will increase your perceived hiring value, tenfold.
- Don’t let negative experiences or feelings from past events or positions cloud, hinder or otherwise damage your ability or opportunity to secure a new position. Rethink these situations and find the positives. Determine what you have gained or learned from the experience and use this new level of understanding to your advantage. Speaking negatively about past employers, coworkers, or employment situations reflects negatively on you, the candidate. Instead, think of how you have overcome this negative situation and identify the positive attributes you now possess – and bring to the table – because of it.
- Do have your resume reviewed for strengths and weaknesses. Talk to people who are responsible for hiring in the field, industry or position you want to secure, regardless of whether a position opening currently exists, and have these individuals review your resume. Have them offer you suggestions on areas in need of definition, improvement, or greater experience. Allow them to guide you in ways you can improve your opportunities, and follow through on these suggestions. If willing, have them review a second version of your improved document.
- Do network with professionals in your industry of choice. Talk to the people currently doing the type of work you want to secure and learn from them. Join professional associations relevant to your field and industry. Participate in professional events. Do offer to mentor other individuals when given the opportunity.
- Do establish goals, but don’t set your ultimate goal as your immediate goal, or you may inadvertently set yourself up for failure. Instead, envision your ultimate goal and determine what steps are necessary to reach it: what short-term goals must be met, first, in order to reach the ultimate goal. Then, establish flexible time frames in which to meet each of these smaller goals and celebrate each new success, before moving to the next goal.
- Do use every avenue available to get your resume and information out to your target market. This includes applying for jobs posted in Internet databases, career-related Web sites, company websites, professional association websites, newspaper ads, and professional publications. Contact and utilize recruiters who specialize in your field and industry. Network with professionals in your community and industry associations. Contact college placement professionals and representatives from your alumni college and utilize their services. Conduct detailed research via the Internet, phone book, library reference guides, and professional publications and locate information (press releases, annual reports, articles, etc.) on companies that interest you, and make contact. Attend career fairs and industry-related events (and have your resume ready for distribution at these events). Attend corporate open houses. Tell everyone you know that you are in the job market, what you have to offer, and what you hope to secure. Volunteer your services to organizations in need (amazing network contacts can be made when you give the best of yourself to non profit organizations that mean something to you).
- Do prepare yourself for interview situations by practicing your public speaking and interviewing skills, preparing appropriate answers to difficult questions, recognizing your own value and the ways in which you can positively contribute to a company, and how you are presenting yourself to others in both mannerisms and dress. Do mock a mock interview with someone who will offer constructive feedback and alter your approach where necessary. Work on problem areas until your answers and responses to these situations are comfortable, natural, professional and effective.
- Do thank everyone who has helped you in this job search, and follow up on all job interviews with notes of appreciation. These “small” acts of courtesy and appreciation can be the deciding factor between two equally qualified candidates. Don’t assume that everyone follows up an interview with a note, because very few candidates actually do. By showing your appreciation to those who have helped you in your job search, you’ll build a quality network of strong and supportive allegiances.
- Do continue managing your career and building up your network, even after you secure the perfect job. Update your resume periodically, while the information is current and fresh in your mind. Record your achievements and recognize how your efforts have made a difference and benefited those who employ you. Career management is an ongoing process.
- Do offer to help others in similar situations and become a mentor.Should I Hire a Professional Resume Writer? / 1st-Writer.com Services
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Good luck in your job search! Sue Campbell, 1st-Writer.com – over 18 years experience helping clients achieve their career and business goals. Feel free to e-mail me with any questions you may have. I’ll be glad to help!