Posted by Brian McCullough
So you’re ready begin a job search, eh?
A job search is a complex project, and like any other project, you have a better chance of success if you prepare, plan and execute based on your goals.
Set Your Goals
Know what you want to accomplish. Are you just testing the waters to see if something better is out there? Or are you desperately in need of a new job and time is of the essence?
Mentally visualize the sort of job you dream of. Is it attainable? Do you know the channels and methods to exploit in order to make your dream a reality?
Be realistic with yourself. What is the most likely sort of job available to you at this time? Is it worth the time and effort (and risk) you’re going to expend in your job search? Or is your current position an acceptable alternative to the unknown?
What is the bare minimum you would accept in a new job? A similar salary to what you’re currently making? A lesser salary, but a more interesting position? Any new job so long as it’s with a different company?
Know what you want to achieve before you even begin the process.
Consider The Playing Field
Know the industry you are trying to job search in. Do you have experience in the industry? Do you know the relative health of the industry? Are people hiring? Do you have the skills necessary? If you don’t know much about the industry you are attempting to enter, now is the time to educate yourself as much as you can.
Are there companies you know are hiring? Maybe you should focus on the sure thing. Are you facing a recession or a poor job market? Maybe you should look elsewhere.
What about the company or organization you want to join? Do you know what they’re looking for in a hire? Can you convince them you’re qualified?
Prepare Yourself Mentally
Job searching is an arduous and stressful process. It’s a process filled with rejection, confusion and basically putting yourself out there. Prepare to put yourself on the market and put your best foot forward.
Remember, not every attempt you make will be a successful one. Not every resume will get a response. Not every interview will go well. Understand that the job offer might not come until the 12th attempt or even the 20th.
Budget your time realistically. It might be weeks or even months before your efforts get results.
But remember, this is a process where you are evaluating as much as you are being evaluated. You want to find a job that is right for you. You are not out there with your hand out, begging someone to hire you. You are a talented professional and you are shopping your skills to the highest bidder. You have something to offer to an employer. In the best case scenario, you find an employer you feel lucky to be working for, and the employer feels lucky to have found such a qualified and promising candidate.
Get The Word Out There
We’ll have plenty more on networking in the coming weeks, but if you’re on the prowl for a new job, the best thing you can do is let everyone know about it.
I mean everyone.
Make sure your friends and family know. And their friends and family. Until your job search is over, don’t have a conversation with anyone without mentioning your job search.
In my years as a career advisor, I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve had clients find jobs from the most random of connections. I can’t tell you the number of times people found jobs by talking to the stranger next to them on a plane trip, or through the boyfriend of a roommate of a second-cousin.
You never know who has the connections or the contacts that can open doors for you.
Keep It Close To The Vest
I know this seems contradictory to what I’ve just written above, but if you are currently employed and don’t want your boss to know you’re restless, then you need to remember to take steps to keep your job search private.
Don’t talk about your job search at work and amongst your co-workers, unless doing so will be helpful.
Don’t job search at work. Don’t browse Monster on your work computer. Don’t use the work copier to print resumes. Don’t use your work email or phone number to solicit offers. Set up a special Yahoo or Gmail email address specifically for your job searching.
Yes, you have to keep a balance. You want to get the word out there that you’re in the market for a new job, but you don’t want the word to spread to those people who won’t be thrilled with your plans.
Budget Time and Money
A job search takes time and effort.
Plan now to make friends at Kinkos. If you don’t have the proper attire to make a good impression at an interview, it’s time now to begin shopping for that work-suit and tie.
You might need to take days off to interview or do research. Start lining up your sick and personal days while you can.
Prepare Your Resume
We’ll have much, much more on this later.
If you don’t have a resume, it’s time to get cracking. If your resume needs an updating, you’ll want to take care of that before you ever start looking around at the possibilities.