Jumpstart Your Job-Search: Roadmap to Success

By Robert Mandelberg, CPRW, CEIP

Whether you are making a career switch, rebounding from a layoff, or re-entering the job market, I’m sure you have a lot of questions about how to proceed. For many people, launching a job search is like being lost in a dense forest with no trails or signposts to lead the way. But don’t panic just yet! When you take a systematic approach, the process is very manageable – even exciting! This week’s job-search tip is designed to give you direction as you embark on your journey.

Step #1: Make a Plan

Instead of haphazardly jumping into a job search, it is best to create a strategy. Here’s how:

Identify your target job: This includes the industry, position, level, geographic area, salary range, etc. The more you know about what you are seeking, the more targeted you can make your job search. If you are staying in your current field, this part should be easy. If not, try your best to narrow down the choices.

Research: Once you’ve identified your target job, learn as much as you can about the requirements of this position. You can do this through internet research (company websites have valuable information), industry publications, and best of all – networking with friends, family, and business contacts in the field.

Prepare the materials needed for your job search: Resume, cover letter, references, and other supporting documentation. The resume and cover letter should be tailored toward the position or field you are pursuing.

Step #2: Take Action

With your plan in place, you are ready to launch a full-scale job-search campaign. So what now? Help wanted ads? Post a resume to job boards? Send resumes unsolicited? Try a headhunter? The short answer: yes to all! Although each method by itself will usually yield minimal results, using all of the above methods will get you to your goal much faster.

The most effective way to find a job is networking with friends, family, and associates. Once you spread the word that you are seeking a position in a particular field, you will be amazed at how many opportunities present themselves. Many times the connection is vague: A friend of a friend has an aunt who has an opening in her company; but sometimes the connection is much closer. Often your contacts are not aware of how they can help you in your search. It is your responsibility to let them know.

Step #3 – Job-Search Journal

While making a lot of quality contacts is an excellent way of ensuring a successful job search, it is equally important to be organized and keep detailed records of your actions. Each time you send a resume, speak to an employer, or go on an interview, you must record it in a journal. Be sure to include the name of the contact, the gist of the conversation, and any follow-up action that you plan to take. This will enable you to track your results, increase productivity, and reduce duplicate efforts.

Do you want your job search to end quickly and successfully? Then work productively. Make as many quality contacts as possible. What is a good number to aim for? I advise clients to make at least 25 contacts per week. Through networking, social media, recruiters, and direct contact with companies, this number will not be difficult to attain. With a little motivation, you could probably double that number easily. Maintain a positive attitude, keep up your productivity, and in no time at all, you will have your share of interviews.

Good luck and happy job hunting!

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