The jobless rate is high and the global economy is struggling. It hardly seems like a good time to be starting a job search. But, although there is reason for some pessimism, there is also reason for hope of finding the perfect position. Here are some tips to help you accelerate your job search process.
Be Very Clear About What You Have to Offer
- What do you do best?
- What aspects of a professional or job area do you know best?
- What are your talents?
- What are your skills?
You need to be very clear about what you have to offer a potential employer in a specific job. You need to know yourself so you can sell your skills, talents, abilities and knowledge. This is the most important thing you do when you write a cover letter or produce a resume.
If you are uncertain of what to include in your list, just ask your friends, family members or co-workers. Then translate what they say into clear statements of what you offer.
For example, if three people tell you that you are surprisingly organized, list on your resume “strong organizational skills.” If you streamlined a process in your last job that saved a lot of time and money, elaborate on the skill you are listing. Say something like: “streamlined a production process and saved the company 20 hours per week and reduced production cost by 15%.”
Go on Fact-Finding Expeditions
Become an adventurer to learn what you need to know about finding a job.
You cannot force people to interview you. But you can interview them.
Go on some fact-finding missions to learn about the industry in which you want to work or about a company you want to work for. This can be arranged easily through those contacts that happen to be able to get you in the door.
Asking people to talk with you about the company they work for or about what they do feels casual and comfortable – especially over a cup of coffee or lunch. This is the perfect way to find out what kinds of skills, knowledge, and abilities you will need to find a way into the industry or the company.
Get Out There and Meet People
In a competitive job market it is important to develop a broad range of contacts.
Your professional contacts will be an important accelerating factor in your job search. Not only can these people provide references, they can also open doors to opportunities you might not hear about otherwise.
Always try to maintain contact with former clients or customers, co-workers and other associates. You don’t need to do constant polling about job opportunities, just stay in touch.
Keep in mind that even the people you meet on the sidelines of your daughter’s soccer game and the people you meet at a neighborhood cocktail party might be a means of finding the perfect job and getting your foot in the door first.
Never ask for a job; never ask specifically about job openings. Just mention in passing that you are thinking about a change.
Remember your manners
Always say “Thank you” for interviews, fact-finding interviews and the like.
If you get an informational interview you should always follow up with a phone call or a note of thanks (not an email) within a few days.
When you meet someone you decide to add to your business contacts list, find a way to follow up with them. Sometimes you can find something that is relevant to your conversation and sends it to that person with a simple note. Sometimes you might want to follow up with another conversation and you can send an invitation.
Be considerate, remember your manners, and try to be giving.
People will go out of their way to help those they like and respect. They are not likely to do so for people who are demanding or who try to cling like leeches.
And, remember the old adage, “it’s not what you know that matters, it’s who you know.”