Running an effective job search in this challenging economic environment can be like a roller coaster ride. One day things look promising the next you get a rejection on a job you were ideally suited for. Perhaps by taking a closer look at various aspects of job hunting you'll be able to develop a different and more positive outlook.
A job search is a journey into the unknown. There is much that you can not control. Sometimes it looks there is no logic to the process. All of this can cause stress and conjure up thoughts there is an unseen conspiracy working against your job hunting efforts.
If you dread starting the job hunting process or you hear from a friend all the job hunting negatives or you pay attention to the media what are you likely to do? Yes, that's right you procrastinate. The twin of procrastination is to do less than your best. Both attitudes will not get you the right job and in a reasonable period of time.
Just as we typically prepare and warm up before we do some physical activity so you must prepare mentally for an effective job search. Employers want to hire positive up-beat people. Whatever you need to do; begin each day in your job search with enthusiasm and an attitude that you are working on a problem you can solve. Remember, for every "No," you receive you are one step closer to a "Yes."
So let's take a look at three critical things that must be done right for a job search to be successful:
1. Document planning and preparation are the foundation to a successful job search. Get the resume and cover letter right and everything else falls into place. Before you start writing spend some time researching the latest in resume and cover letter writing.
Keep the focus of the resume and cover letter on the needs of the prospective employer. It surprises some job hunters that a one size resume does not fit all possible job openings. Tailor the listing of achievements in the resume to match the employer's needs is critical for the employer to notice you.
In writing your cover letters, remember its function is not to rehash what is in the resume, but to introduce the resume. As in writing the resume each cover letter should be written to show how your skills match the needs of the specific job opening.
2. An effective job interview requires preparation and then some more preparation. You know at some point you'll be scheduled for a telephone and then a face-to-face job interview. Getting comfortable in this setting, with the ability to communicate your agenda requires some planning and preparation.
As you start your job search, plan on doing some activity every day to help you prepare for the job interview. Build a plan for what you'll do and say in a telephone interview. There are some critical dos and don'ts so this is a step you should not overlook.
Begin pulling together 50 to 100 tough interview questions. Write them out on a card with your well thought out answer on the other side. This list will change over time as you overlook more interviewing information, and refine your answers.
Now have a friend ask you the questions, (do the mock interview in sections) and tape the interview. Critique your performance, paying particular attention to your listening skills, possible bad habits, and lack of rambling answers and how well you bring your agenda into your answers.
Start this preparation at the sunset of your job hunt. Your confidence will increase. When a job interview is scheduled you can productively spend your time researching the employer and the needs of the job. Your research will help you in putting together some relevant questions to ask in the interview. Your closing summary will review how you are a good fit. Do not forget to ask for the job.
3. With a well written resume, and interview preparation underway now you can begin networking. Keep all your contact information organized. Work to add to your networking group. Make it a habit to always ask for referrals. Help others whenever you can.
It's likely that as your network of contacts grows they will unforgettable job opportunities and they will provide you with ideas to help you in your job search. This resource could be a valuable asset in your job search.
Remember, a job offer is more often forthcoming to the candidate who is prepared, positive and with a great attitude than the more highly qualified applicant who bungled the interview questions, fails to assure the interviewer they can do the job, does not dress for success and does not ask for the job. So be prepared, be positive and plan for the job offer. You deserve nothing else.