Job Search 101
Everything You Need to Know
(But Were Afraid to Find Out!)
(Career Coach / Freelance Writer)
Job Search is a catch-all phrase for career hunt. It is composed of career
decision-making, research at both the decision-making and campaign phases,
resume writing, interviewing, networking, responding to ads, going to
headhunters and finally negotiating your salary. The purpose of this article
is to make the process as easy to understand as possible, with suggestions
and ideas on how to land the position of your choice.
Many people think that landing a new position consists of putting together a
resume and looking in the paper under help-wanted. Yes, that is all that
some people do, and some of them are successful. But many of them are
frustrated. They don't see the position they want advertised, and therefore
figure it doesn't exist. They wind up in a position - or career -- that was
available, without taking the time to find just the right thing.
How do you start?
First, what is it that you want to do? Maybe you're a career changer. Maybe
you're a new college grad. Either way, before you worry about entry vs. mid-
or upper-level positions, you need to be clear about what it is you want to
do. Try to picture the ideal spot for you. Would you be working inside or
out? In the city or the country? In an office or a store? Wearing tailored
suits or jeans? Are you managing or producing? Part of a team or working
independently? At a computer or on a telephone? Think about what you're
doing now, as well as what you've done in the past - what aspects of these
positions did you like? What didn't you like, and why?
Maybe you're not sure. Then, it's time to research. The internet makes it
easy. There are a wide variety of excellent sites in which to begin
researching occupations. There's also your public library. Many libraries
have excellent career research sections. Ask your librarian for assistance.
This leads to networking. Networking is not only for people who are actively
looking for a new employment situation, but for people who want to learn more
about different occupations.
Informational interviewing is the act of gathering information through
personal contact with someone working in a field you're interested in.
Networking is then asking everyone you know if they know of anyone working in
a particular industry, until you find someone who knows of a position that's
Who do you network with? The answer is simple: everyone! This
is an integral component to any job search.
What is your skill set? What have you been trained to do? What is your
education? What kind of volunteer work have you done? Is it sufficient for
what you want to do now? Or do you need to go back to school? Could you get
on-the-job training? Could you get a job that serves as a bridge between
what you do now and what you'd ultimately like to do?
Once the parameters of the position you seek are pretty well defined, it is
time to begin formulating your resume.
If you need resume assistance, we
have links to excellent resources for you.
Now it's time to add to the networking you've already been doing (maybe you
already have some interviews?).
Cold calls/letters to companies. Maybe you have a particular company in mind
for which you really want to work. Contact them directly. Many large
companies and universities post their open positions. See if you can get
hold of that list.
The Classifieds (both on-line and in print). The tried and true method. And
yes, for many people it works. Just make sure your resume and cover letter
immediately establish a connection to the qualifications mentioned in the ad.
The difference between networking and relying on the classifieds is that
many key positions never reach the classifieds. People get them through
Headhunters/Employment Agencies. This is another tried and true method that
works for some. Just be sure that your skill set matches the types of
positions the headhunter you choose handles.
Interview Preparation. Everything you've done up to now has been positioning
you for the all-important interview. This is your chance to sell yourself.
Expect the unexpected and be prepared!
To recap, the eight steps are:
4) Resume Writing
5) Cold Calls/Letters
6) The Classifieds
7) Headhunters/Employment Agencies
Happy job hunting!