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Job Search 101

Everything You Need to Know
(But Were Afraid to Find Out!)

By
Bonnie Cohen
(Career Coach / Freelance Writer)

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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?


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What do you want to do now?


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4) Is your resume getting you enough interviews? Learn How To Write The Perfect Resume.

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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 available.

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?).

How?

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 word-of-mouth.

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:

1) Introspection

2) Research

3) Networking

4) Resume Writing

5) Cold Calls/Letters

6) The Classifieds

7) Headhunters/Employment Agencies

8. Interviewing

Happy job hunting!

 

 

 

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