Searching for a new job can be one of the most challenging, yet potentially rewarding, endeavors you undertake. The challenge is to maintain the commitment, patience, and perseverance that a job search requires. The reward is finding a job that is a perfect fit for your personal and professional needs. For a successful job search, it is important to be prepared, focused, and organized. An important tool for achieving this goal is a Job Search Plan that clearly defines, tracks, and measures the progress of your search. Use a notebook or personal organizer to create your own personal plan.
Necessary Steps for a Successful Job Search
Define your Career Objective
Identify the type of job you are looking for and what skills and abilities you are looking to use. Having a clear objective will help keep you focused on finding the right job.
Develop a Positioning Statement
Develop a concise statement, 30 seconds or less, outlining what you can bring to your new career. This should include your skills, capabilities, and key accomplishments; and can be similar to the summary statement of your resume. Memorize your positioning statement so you can quickly and succinctly state your qualifications to a prospective employer.
Create a List of Target Companies
Determine the type of company you would prefer to work for. Consider the type of work, size, location, and corporate culture. Sources of information include area business guides, chambers of commerce, articles on local companies or industries, and company Web sites. You should identify at least 30-50 companies for your initial job search effort.
Establish and Measure Goals
Set aggressive daily, weekly, and monthly goals for yourself and track your progress. One goal might be to contact three hiring managers each week, another might be to send out 20 resumes each week. Keeping a log of your job search activity will give you clues on how to improve your job searching abilities. If you are using ResumeMaker’s Contact Manager, a log of your job search activity will be kept automatically.
How Do You Know Which Job is Right for You?
Deciding if a position is right for you will be one of the most important decisions you make during your job search process. You need to determine if the position meets your personal and professional needs. What do you like to do? What kind of work environment do you enjoy? What level of salary are you looking for? How many hours a week are you willing to devote to your career? Each job will represent a balance between a variety of potentially opposing factors. You have to determine the right balance between your professional and personal life.
One tool that can help you define the right career is ResumeMaker’s Career Planner. Follow the steps in Career Planner to create a Personal Profile. By completing this self-assessment exercise, you can view a list of careers and job titles that fit your personal and professional needs. Also, for more information, refer to the Career Planning section of Expert Advice.
Essential Job Search Tools
The following list represents the essential tools every job seeker needs for a successful job search.
· Resume: an updated and professionally written resume. Be prepared to tailor your resume to the requirements of each job opportunity.
· Cover Letter: a persuasive cover letter. Start with a persuasive cover letter that you can modify for each employer.
· References: a list of personal and professional references. Contact potential references and obtain their permission to include them on your reference list.
· Samples: examples of your work. If appropriate for the type of job you are seeking, gather examples of your best work to bring to the interview.
· Research: research you gathered about the company. Bring research so that you can refer to these materials during the interview to generate questions and topics of discussion.
How to Manage Your Job Search
Think of your job search as a job. It is important to spend the time doing the research, tracking down leads, and pursuing opportunities. Each day review your Job Search Plan. Analyze your progress and determine if you need to adjust your plan. Set daily and weekly goals for yourself and monitor your plan to ensure your goals are being achieved.
The Best Sources for Finding Your Next Job
Studies have shown that the majority of all jobs are filled before they are published in newspapers, listed on corporate Web sites, or posted at career Web sites. The best way to locate these jobs is through networking. Your network includes friends, family, industry contacts, and members of professional, community, or volunteer organizations to which you belong. Try to contact at least one or two people per day, either to make initial contact or to follow up on a previous conversation. Give your resume to family, friends, former colleagues, and industry contacts. Stay in touch with each person at least once every two weeks to see if they need additional resumes or information. This repeated contact should ensure that if they do come across a job opportunity that meets your needs, they will think of you first.
You have done research and identified 30 to 50 companies you would like to work for. Call each company directly to determine who the hiring manager would be for the type of position you are seeking. Once you have identified that person attempt to make personal contact. Explain why you would like to work for the organization, and describe how your skills and abilities can help the company achieve its goals. If there is a position open, ask for an interview. If there is no position available, ask for an informational interview to learn more about the company and its business. If you meet the hiring manager in person, and the meeting goes well, when a position opens in your field, you will have an excellent chance of being on the list of candidates for the job.
Staffing Agencies and Search Firms
These organizations — including Search Firms, Recruiting Agencies, Private Employment Agencies, and Temporary Employment Agencies — work with job seekers to fill open positions. Ask members of your network to recommend search firms, recruiters, or private employment agencies that have the ability to provide quality job leads. Another way to locate staffing agencies and search firms is through the Internet or your local yellow pages.
Employment ads can be found through the Internet on company Web pages, local and national job sites, and career-related Web sites; or in newspapers, trade magazines, and some government publications. Your local library will have a variety of these resources available. When you find a job that meets your search criteria, keep a record of the company name, job title, required qualifications, and contact information. If you found the job on the Internet include the Web page address so you can locate the listing again. ResumeMaker’s Contact Manager allows you to store this data easily. Remember to tailor your resume and cover letter to the requirements of the position before replying to the advertisement.
School Placement Offices
Your school should have a placement office with a variety of resources available to assist you in your job search. These should include tools for assessing what career is right for you, resume and cover letter advice, job listings, and job placement services.
You can find announcements for job fairs in newspapers, magazines, or through the Internet. Note the location, date, time, and companies that will be present at the fair. Research each company beforehand to learn what job openings they have in your career area. Visit booths for the companies you are interested in first, while you are still energetic and enthusiastic. Prepare and practice a 30-second introduction that describes your best qualifications quickly and succinctly. Finally, bring plenty of resumes, dress professionally, and wear comfortable shoes.
You can use Resume Caster to post your resume to most major career Web sites and resume databases. Potential employers and recruiters use resume databases to find candidates, so it’s a good idea to have your resume listed on as many of these sites as possible. You can also use the Internet to post your resume on local or industry specific job banks.
How to Stay Focused and Productive
Job searching can take a lot of time and energy. You need to stay positive, focused, and productive. Do not become discouraged if your search doesn’t produce immediate results. Remember, you are not the only person looking for work. It may be helpful to contact a local support group for people seeking employment, to hear how others are dealing with the problems and frustrations of a job search. Members of these groups might also become valuable networking contacts in the future.
Introduction to Networking
Employers search for employees in a variety of ways. Traditionally, employers have placed advertisements, visited campuses, staffed job fairs, and conducted searches. These activities require time and resources from the employer. If you can learn about an impending job opening before the employer spends the time and commits the resources to search for an employee, you will save the company time and resources and you will have less competition for the position. Developing a strong network helps you locate new job openings before they become widely advertised. Follow this early knowledge of the open position with an outstanding resume and an excellent interview, and you will have exciting, new job opportunities to consider.
A college student has many opportunities to network for job leads. For example, she can discuss her career goals with faculty advisors who may know local employers who need the skills she has to offer. She can meet with alumni in her profession for job leads and initial introductions. By talking with recruiters at campus job fairs, she can learn not only about advertised openings, but she can also discover the names of hiring managers, find out which departments are growing, and learn the employment prospects for her profession.
A mid-level manager can network by informing colleagues of her job search, talking with neighbors and friends about job openings, and using technology to learn about growing areas. If growth within her current company is his goal, he can meet with her supervisor and the managers of other departments, if this type of activity is support by the company’s culture. If she is seeking opportunities outside her current company, then she probably needs to keep her job search more confidential.
A homemaker who is seeking to join the workforce outside the home can develop a network to help her find job openings as well. She can inform teachers and daycare workers of her plan, ask the parents of her child’s playmates about job opportunities, and discuss potential job openings with volunteer co-workers.
Networking is a dynamic, ongoing process. Knowledge about job opportunities can come from unlikely sources. The more diverse your personal network is, the better your chance are of learning about new job openings.
Types of Networks
Networks can involve people from the different areas of your life, not just from your professional life. One of those areas is your personal life. People in your personal life include family, neighbors, friends, schoolmates, and other casual acquaintances. Any of these people can support your job search by serving either as “feelers,” people who hear about job openings, or as sources of further contacts. In other words, they may not know about job opportunities in your line of work, but someone else who they know may provide valuable information about job openings.
Developing your personal network is not a job-search task. Your personal network is the collection of people with whom you typically interact. Instead of developing your personal network to aid a job search, you must activate your personal network to get your personal contacts involved in your search. You can do this formally or casually. Let your acquaintances know that you are searching for a job. Circulate your resume and educate your personal network about your career goals. Not only can they point you to new job openings, but they may also serve as a support group as you proceed with your search.
The key to maintaining your personal network is regular communication. When you find a job or redirect your search, be sure to let your personal contacts know about it. However, do not limit your communication with the members of your personal network to job-search information. Continue to nurture and strengthen your personal relationships for their benefit as well as yours.
Perhaps the most obvious area of your life in which to find networking contacts is your professional life. People in your professional life include employers, colleagues, teachers, professors, and members of professional organizations. Whether you can involve your employer and co-workers in your professional network will depend upon the culture at your place of employment. Some employers plan for and support their employees’ searches for new positions either within or beyond the current company. For example, when businesses plan for downsizing activities, they usually offer outplacement services for targeted employees. Networking techniques may be part of the offered outplacement services. On the other hand, if your corporate culture looks down on those who plan to move to another department or company, then you should be very careful about disclosing your job-search activities.
Unlike your personal contacts, your professional contacts will have a better understanding of your skills and qualifications. Also, they will be more likely to learn about appropriate job opportunities. When developing your network, concentrate most of your time and effort on your professional contacts because these people will provide the most productive leads. Join professional organizations, such as trade associations or unions. Read the journals and Web sites for your profession. Contact authors of articles related to your field of work and ask them about opportunities. Let your professional contacts know you are job hunting. Discuss the specifics of your job requirements with your professional contacts in more detail than you would with one of your personal contacts. Explain your vision of the profession and help them understand your motivations for searching for a new position. By understanding your goals, your professional network contacts can help you extend your network and refine your search.
By staying current with your field and in touch with your colleagues, you can continue to maintain your professional network. When you move to a new position, let your network know about your new challenges. Remember to thank those who have assisted in your search. Be prepared to offer similar assistance to other professional colleagues. Maintaining an active network is a two-way street. You can’t just ask for help without being willing to offer assistance in return.
Another source of networking contacts can best be described as a community network. This type of network can include members of religious organizations, community groups, school-related organizations, and volunteer groups. Even online Web sites that include professional partnerships for success, such as ResumeMaker, can be a valuable networking source. For example, if you are searching for a new job in your current hometown, you could join the local Kiwanis or Optimist Club and get to know its members. While you are participating in the projects of these service organizations, you can learn about the other members and begin to form your community network. Similarly, if your child participates in scouting, you can volunteer with her activities and meet other parent volunteers. They may be helpful additions to your community network as well.
Developing a community network needs to follow a careful and deliberate process. Community organizations exist to support their own goals, not to provide a forum for you to enhance your job search. If you are serious about developing and utilizing a community network, be very sensitive to the culture of the community organizations you join. Many groups explicitly forbid their membership lists from being used for unrelated business. However, as you meet and become acquainted with the other members and their professional lives, you may find occasions when discussing your job search is not inappropriate. When you do locate community network contacts, treat these people similar to your personal contacts. While they won’t be as committed to helping you as your family and friends would be, community network contacts can provide both diversity and local knowledge. The diversity is a result of the variety of professional backgrounds usually found in community groups. The local knowledge results from the local base and history on which community groups are built.
To maintain your community network, keep involved with the organization and participate in their project and events. Let those who have helped you know about any developments in your search. Offer to assist others by providing the kind of assistance that you needed to succeed in your job search.
The final form of networking is similar to what you are currently doing – using technology to discover leads about job openings. Technology-based networking involves using job search tools, such as ResumeMaker’s Job Finder, and resume placement tools, such as ResumeMaker’s Resume Caster. Also, keep reviewing the Web sites of companies that meet your search criteria, noting any expansion announcements or new project initiatives. Similarly, read the publications for your profession and research new developments that may lead to future job opportunities. Finally, because technology is changing frequently, keep your technology tools updated and learn how to use the new features as well as any new tools that are developed to aid your job search.
When you are conducting your job search, your networking activity can be either casual or formal. Casual networking activity involve including information about your job search in your everyday conversations. For example, when you are talking with your neighbor at a weekend barbecue, you may mention that you have begun a job search and explain what type of position you are seeking. Casually ask your neighbor for advice and help if he happens upon any leads in your profession. Similarly, as you are volunteering to accompany your child’s class on a field trip, you might strike up a conversation with other parents about their professions and seek their input about job leads.
Formal networking is more direct and less personal than casual networking. You can send letters or e-mail messages to your network contacts. You can keep them updated with regular telephone calls and continue to ask for leads and advice. The main distinction between casual and formal networking is the main purpose of the communication. With casual networking, the information about your job search is secondary. While the job search may be the foremost item in your mind, it is not the main reason you are conversing with your network contact. Instead, with formal networking, discussing the details of your job search is the main reason for communicating. For example, as you develop professional network contacts, keep a list of specialties for each one. When a potential opportunity occurs within one of the specialties, you can tap your professional network by sending a directed e-mail message to each person with that specific specialty. In the e-mail message, ask them for input or leads about the specialty. Granted this is a more impersonal method for communicating, but it also allows you to leverage your network to gain inside information while allowing your contacts to respond at their convenience. You might also keep your professional network contacts updated by leaving very brief telephone messages at their office numbers outside of normal working hours. This keeps them apprised of your progress without unnecessarily interrupting them during their typical work day.
Maintaining Your Network
Keeping your network intact will help you throughout your career. Here are some points to consider for maintaining your network:
- Stay in touch – let your contacts know about your activities and successes. Don’t just ask for help and then wait for them to contact you. Provide brief, regular updates about your progress. Ask about specific opportunities that come to your attention. Let them help you brainstorm about extending your network and strengthening your job search.
- Circulate your resume – not only will your network contacts better understand your background and experience, but they can also provide advice on polishing your resume to address your career goals. With your current resume in hand, your contacts will be able to pass it on to hiring managers and other potential employers.
- Ask for leads – think of your network as a growing, evolving job-search tool. Every new lead that you obtain will help you extend your network into new areas, which will help you gather information about new job opportunities from a wider variety of sources.
- Show your gratitude – when someone helps you with a job lead or a new network contact, show her that you appreciate the assistance by sending a card or note. Depending on the degree to which your contacts help you with your search, consider sending small gifts to show your appreciation. Treat your contacts as your personal guides in the hunt for a new position. When they have guided you to success, let them know that their help was valuable and that their efforts were appreciated.
Job Searching Tips
Is a job change in order? If it’s time for new beginnings, and if you’re searching for a job, it’s a good time to make sure your priorities are in check. Begin with some basic soul-searching and career planning, move to creative networking, and conclude with the foremost ways to investigate prospective companies. Here are 25 tips to learn how to maximize your time, effectiveness, and chances of success in your career search!
1. Take a personal inventory.
Job hunting gives you the opportunity to go back to “square one” and decide all over again who you are. Identify what skills and knowledge you possess and define what you want to do. What do you want out of life? A job? A career? Where do you want to be in several years? Are you happy in your job or career? What would you like to change? This type of analysis helps clarify your skills and talents as well as your goals for the future.
2. Apply directly to an employer.
Identify 30-50 employers and begin to make direct contact. Determine what positions are available, learn the names of hiring managers, send your resume, and communicate your desire to be a part of their team.
3. Ask relatives and friends about jobs where they work.
Ask relatives and friends about vacancies. They may know about available positions where they work or through other friends. If you tell everyone you know or meet that you are job hunting and that you would appreciate their help, you dramatically increase your chances of success.
4. Search hidden job markets.
Networking is the “Hidden Job Market.” Every time you make contact with a person who is in direct line with your career interest, there is the possibility that he or she will network with other possible leads. Most of the available jobs are filled through networking. Believe it or not, this is your most valuable resource!
5. Ask a former employer or professor for job leads.
No one knows your capabilities, dedication, and discipline better than a former employer or professor who had the opportunity to work with you directly. Since more people find their work through direct referrals than any other way, this is a target audience you don’t want to miss.
6. Spend more hours each week on your job hunt.
Finding a job is a job! Treat your job hunting just as you would a regular job and dedicate a set number of hours per week to the process. This will cut down dramatically on the length of time it takes you to find work. Did you know that the average person in the job market only spends about 5 hours per week looking for work? With that statistic, it isn’t surprising that job searching can be a long, tedious process. Improve your chances by demonstrating your discipline and determination. Devote weekends to answering ads and planning your strategy for the next week. Don’t spend precious weekday hours behind a computer. You need to be out there researching leads, networking, and interviewing.
7. Concentrate your job hunt on smaller companies.
Most new jobs will come from smaller, growing companies, typically with fewer than 500 employees. Although larger employers are more visible, well-known and aggressive in their search for employees, it is with the smaller companies that you may have the best chance of success in finding work. Pay particular attention to those companies that are expanding. They are easier to approach, it’s usually easier to contact important decision-makers, and they are less likely to screen you out.
8. See more employers each week.
If you only visit six or seven employers a month in your job search, you will prolong your search and delay your successful outcome. This is one reason why job hunting takes so long. If you need to see 30-50 employers in your job search, it makes sense to see as many employers a week as possible. Make a plan to see 3 to 5 employers per week at a minimum! Do this for as many months as your job hunt lasts. Looking for a job is a numbers game. The more contacts you make, the more interviews you’ll get, and the more offers you’ll get.
9. Be prepared for phone interviews.
Would you believe that over 50% of prospective candidates are disqualified after the first phone contact is made with them by an employer? In today’s world, employers don’t have time to interview every possible applicant and are using phone calls as a less expensive, less time consuming way to weed out potentially unqualified candidates. The phone interview catches many people off guard. You might receive more than just one phone interview, so be prepared at all times. Have a 60-second summary of your experience, skills, and unique talents ready and do not answer the phone if you are not in a quiet atmosphere and ready to talk.
10. Create a support group.
It is easy to get discouraged, depressed, and despondent in the job search process. This can be one of the toughest and loneliest experiences in the world and the rejection you face can be brutal, but it doesn’t have to be. The key is understanding that you are not alone. There are literally hundreds of thousands of people looking for work. Many job-hunting groups exist. Contact your local Chambers of Commerce or research online support groups.
11. Contact potential employers directly through professional associations.
Professional associations provide excellent networks for your job search. Many professionals are members of at least one or two professional associations. Additionally, most professional associations hold regularly scheduled meetings, which provide further opportunities to mingle with your professional peers on an informal basis. Finally, professional associations all have newsletters that can connect you with job openings in your field or connect you to other publications or associations.
12. Post your resume online.
Career Web sites allow you to submit your resume to a resume database where hiring companies search for qualified candidates. Use ResumeMaker’s Resume Caster feature to assist in transmitting your resume to the top job sites.
13. Promote yourself in unique ways.
There are many ways to promote yourself over and above sending your resume. For example, try getting creative with your cover letter or print a set of business cards that contain your name, profession, and contact information on the front; and your key skills, abilities, and accomplishments on the back. Giving these cards to potential contacts is a powerful way to generate job leads.
14. Accept a temporary position or perform volunteer work.
Accept a temporary position. This provides you with valuable experience, contacts, and references. Volunteer for organizations and activities with business sponsors that increase your visibility and personal contacts. Explore your possibilities and leave all options open. You never know which method may ultimately help you land your ideal job.
15. Make cold-calls.
Next to face-to-face meetings, the telephone is the most effective method available to find a job. Every call you make is an opportunity to sell yourself to a prospective employer, to pursue a new job opening, or network to other available jobs. Complete at least 15 calls per day. You will be astonished at the results. Always be agreeable, professional, and positive. Prepare a brief outline for each call and rehearse it. Create brief statements that outline how you can help prospective employers accomplish their goals. Always, always, always ask for referrals to other companies or potential job leads.
16. Re-define your job hunt in terms of alternative possibilities.
Successful job hunters should have a back-up plan available if their initial job searching efforts produce limited results. Prepare alternative ways of describing what you do, alternative avenues of job hunting, alternative leads and contact lists, alternative target organizations and employers to contact, and alternative ways to approach prospective companies. There are many ways to get your message out. Be prepared to use a variety of methods for finding your ideal job.
17. Seek career counseling or job hunting help.
Many service providers, through the Internet, are offering career counseling services, job hunting advice, and reference tools that will help you in your search. Many of these services are free, and the number of resources on the Internet is growing each year.
18. Consider federal and local government sources.
The federal government is a huge resource of potential job openings and job search information, all available to you at little or no cost. Visit the Department of Labor Web site, or call your local employment office and take advantage of the services they offer.
19. Make sure you can survive financially between jobs.
Budget your financial resources so that you can afford a prolonged job search. It is always helpful if you can get an overall view of how your money will carry you through any job search or training you may need to take on. If finances are tight, consider seeking temporary work as a temporary source of income.
20. Set and prioritize goals while job-hunting.
There are many types of jobs that are available. Determine what it is that you want, set your goals for achieving this, and prioritize the steps that you will ultimately need to take. The more specific you are about your goal, the better your chances of getting the job you want.
21. Focus in and research your career field and industry.
Before you start meeting people, you need to know something about the industry or field you want to work in. The more you know, the better your conversations with prospective employers will be, and the more impressed they will be with you.
22. Interview others in your career field.
Interview people whose occupations interest you. You can always find someone who is currently working or has experience in your career field and is willing to talk to you. Find people in your career field by networking or calling local companies, and then contact them by phone or in person. You will learn a great deal about the career you’re interested in and might even find yourself a job.
23. Organize a job search campaign.
Organize your job search campaign. Failing to plan is a common flaw in most job searches. Make a plan that includes: organizing your job strategy, setting up a base of operations center for your job hunt, preparing materials, setting goals, and measuring your progress.
24. Update your resume and be prepared.
Nearly everyone you approach in your job search is going to ask for your resume at some point. Always have your updated resume available for distribution. Additionally, by publishing your resume at ResumeMaker.com, your resume can be instantly accessible to hiring managers at any time. You can also use ResumeMaker.com to e-mail your resume to prospective employers.
25. Remain positive, dedicated, and focused.
Keeping a positive attitude, staying focused on your plan, and dedicating yourself to the job search process will improve your chances of landing your next job.
Job Searching Questions & Answers
Q: What is networking?
Many studies have shown that a majority of jobs in the United States are filled through a process called networking. What is networking? It means building contacts with people through professional groups, trade associations, volunteer and community work, alumni associations, church groups, etc., who can help you learn more about a job or industry and can also help you identify jobs when or even before they become open. As contacts lead to more contacts, you develop a network.
Q: Who should I try to meet? Why would anyone take the time to speak with me?
It’s a good idea to think broadly about the people you would like to meet as you’re building your network. Anybody who has a job similar to the job you want, works for a firm you’re interested in, or is in the same industry could be helpful to you. But why would they spend time talking to you? One reason would be a sense of professional obligation – to help a colleague in the industry move on to their next step. Remember, someday you might be able to return the favor to them. A second reason is social obligation. Most people feel a sense of social obligation to assist those in need. Sometimes all you have to do is ask for help.
Q: How can I develop a network?
If you don’t know anybody in the field you would like to enter, then speak to family, friends, neighbors, the friends of neighbors, the neighbors of family members about your job search. These people have a kind disposition toward you and have a sense of social obligation to assist. Odds are you’ll find at least one person who’s doing the kind of job that you want through your friends or family. A second source is professional associations. People in professional associations are usually very willing to help somebody who wants to join their profession. You can get information about the professional associations in a good reference library or through the Internet. A third source is your local business news. If somebody’s name is mentioned in the paper, you might want to drop a note, or call him or her directly, and express your interest in the article as a means of networking.
Q: What should I ask at an informational interview?
When you go to an informational interview, it’s important that you bring some very good questions with you. For example: Can you tell me how your career has developed? What skills are necessary to be successful in this profession? What do you enjoy most about what you’re doing? What do you enjoy least?
Q: Is networking really necessary?
You may ask, “You know, I just want a job. Is all this networking really necessary?” Since the majority of the jobs filled in the United States every year are through networking, it’s a good idea to use this process even though it’s less direct than you may be comfortable with.
Q: How can I evaluate a job offer to determine if I really want to accept it?
Congratulations! Someone has offered you a new job opportunity. Should you accept it? The first thing to do is ask yourself, “What do I really want in my next job?” Then make a list of things you want and rank them in order of importance. If you have a Career Transition Plan, you may have done this already. Once you have made a list of what you want from your next job, you can compare that to what you expect to gain from the offer. If most of what you want is going to be met, you should seriously be considering saying Yes. If you find that there are some things important to you that are lacking, you should seriously be thinking about giving a polite No. ResumeMaker includes sample letters that can assist with accepting or rejecting a job offer in a professional manner.
Q: What ethical issues will I face in the job search process?
There are some important ethical issues for you to remember in a job search process. First, pursue only those jobs in which you have a reasonable and sincere interest. Secondly, make sure that everything you tell an employer is honest, whether it’s on your resume, in your cover letter, or at your interview. Third, if an offer is extended to you, and you say Yes, then live up to that obligation. Also, you should notify other employers that you are withdrawing from the job search process and provide your current employer with an advanced notice of at least two weeks before leaving.
Q: Should I visit the company again before accepting an offer?
When a new job has been offered to you, spend at least one day at the firm. Watch people work, see how they relate to each other, and get a sense of the atmosphere and company culture. It’s true that you’ve been exposed to the company during the interview process, but then you were nervous and tense and focused on selling yourself. At a follow-up visit, you can make observations and ask about things, which may not have occurred to you previously.
Q: In what way has technology changed the way people look for a job?
Advances in technology provide you with additional ways to look for a job. For example, traditionally you would send one resume to every employer of interest to you. That’s fine, but now you can also send your resume to very reliable databases that employers access when they have a particular need. This makes your resume available to a broader set of employers 24 hours a day. Another great advantage for you is accessing information on your own computer, or on a computer in your local library. You can now access information through the Internet in a matter of minutes that used to take hours to collect.
Q: How can I use the Internet in my job search?
The Internet contains an enormous amount of information for job searchers. You can:
· Research companies by viewing the company Web sites and general business Web sites.
· Submit your resume and cover letter to national and local career Web sites.
· E-mail your resume and cover letter to prospective employers.
· Locate job listings through career Web sites.
ResumeMaker includes several features that automatically connect your resume with the top career Web sites and help you search for jobs throughout the Internet from a single location.
Q: What are the risks associated with using technology in a job search?
Technology can be a useful tool in your job search, but there are some things to be aware of. First, set reasonable expectations. Keep in mind that finding a good job requires preparation and hard work. Second, if you submit your resume to a database, it is possible that your own employer could access it. Before you submit your resume, find out what safeguards you have. Third, as wonderful as the Internet is for meeting new people electronically, nothing should replace meeting people face-to-face.
Q: Should I fax or e-mail my resume?
You can deliver your resume by fax or by e-mail faster than by conventional methods, but is it a good idea? Yes, if the employer has requested that you send your resume by fax or e-mail. However, some employers may be annoyed when their fax machines and their e-mail get cluttered with resumes that they did not request. Also consider that your faxed resume, if read by a human being instead of being scanned into a resume database, will not be on the same quality paper you would have sent through the mail, and may not retain its professional appearance when printed.
Q: Should I submit my resume to a resume database?
Should you submit your resume to a firm, which manages a resume database? There are several things to take into account. The first is cost – it should be free or almost free to you. Second, make sure to safeguard your confidentiality unless confidentiality is not important to you. Also, keep in mind that just posting your resume is no substitute for your own preparation and hard work in contacting companies directly. Finally, with a database, many employers will have access to your data. It’s a good idea to be prepared in case you hear from somebody unexpected. It’s much better to say, “I’m very glad that you called,” or “I’m very excited about meeting with you,” than to say, “I just don’t know what you’re talking about,” or “I haven’t even heard of your company.”
Q: Is it better to look for a new job in a weak economy or a strong one?
Many people wonder how the state of the economy should affect their plans for looking for a new job. You should only be concerned about things that you can influence, and you can’t influence the state of the economy. What you want to do is put your energy into looking for a new job that best suits your purposes. Whether the economy is good or the economy is bad, the time to look is when the time is right for you.
Q: What personal characteristics will help or hurt my efforts to find a new job?
There are three personal characteristics, which will help you in your job search effort. First, be patient, it takes time to find your next good job. Secondly, be persistent. You’re going to find disappointments along the road, but if you keep going you’ll eventually find the job you want. Third, remember to always be polite. Sometimes our frustration or concern comes out as anger or rudeness towards people, and you want everyone in your job search to be left with a favorable impression.
On the other hand, two characteristics are very dangerous in a job search. One is feeling entitled, “Somebody owes me a job.” “I work hard.” “I’m a smart person.” That may all be true but nobody “owes” you anything. You have to earn everything you’re going to get. The other dangerous characteristic is feeling threatened. “If I don’t have a job tomorrow I don’t know what I’m going to do.” Well, what you’re going to do is look for a job tomorrow, and the next day, and if you’re a person with talent and perseverance, you will get a good job.
Q: Can you outline the important steps in a successful job search campaign for me?
The first step in a successful job search campaign is identifying a real desire for change. This includes a willingness to put up with the stress, time, commitment, and possible expense of a job search and may involve giving up some of the positive aspects of your current career. Secondly, it’s very important to network. You want to speak to people in your new job, profession, or company, to find out the skills, attributes, and characteristics that would be necessary to succeed there. You also want to identify and research potential new employers and job leads. When you’ve done that, you’re in a good position to put together your resume, a persuasive cover letter and follow up with phone calls to schedule interviews with companies you’ve contacted.
Q: Should I focus my job search on the hot jobs and the growing industries?
Some people wonder if they should focus their job search efforts on growing industries and hot jobs. Well, you should certainly include the hot jobs and the growing industries, but don’t limit yourself to them. First of all, what’s hot today could be cold tomorrow. Secondly, if something is hot today there’s going to be a lot more competition for jobs in that industry. Thirdly, there may be growing industries with hot jobs in career fields that you won’t find satisfying.
Q: What if I have been out of work for a long time?
You may ask, “How is my situation different from someone who has worked continuously?” For one, your work experience is not as current as other people who did not leave the work force for any period of time. In addition, because you’ve been away from the work force, you’re not as well connected with a professional network. Remember that you still have strengths, and talents you can contribute, but even though getting back into the work force will be a little bit more difficult, you can and will be successful.
Q: What should I research about each company?
Research a company to discover the following key information:
· The company’s products and services
· The company’s short-term and long-term goals
· The size of the company, both in terms of the number of employees and overall value
· The company’s annual revenue and profits
· The company’s competitors
· The location of their main corporate offices and facilities
· The names of the president and other senior officers of the company
· How to pronounce the name of the person interviewing you
· Where the interview is located and how to get there
You can find this information on the company Web site, in the company’s annual report, through the local chamber of commerce, or by researching materials available at your local library.
Q: Now that I have a new job, is my job search over?
Once you find a new job, and decide to accept it, does that mean your job search is over? Well, not really. First, it’s important to remember all those people who helped you find your new job. Let them know that you’ve accepted the position and thank them for all the help they provided. Second, you may still have many years ahead of you in your career. If so, it’s important to make a list of those things you need to do in the new job to make sure you’re successful at them. You must think one step ahead, and keep looking for new experiences and challenges in your job that will help you grow your career to the next level.