The 3-Part Recipe for a Successful Job Search
Published on February 26, 2014 by Staff Writer
Searching for a job can be a daunting task. The resumes, applications, networking, and interviews can get overwhelming. You can relieve some of the stress involved in the search by having a “Plan, Prepare and Execute” strategy.
The first step to a successful job search is to have a plan. Part of your plan should include a clear focus of direction that outlines who you want to work for, what you want to do and any road blocks you will have to address. As you develop your answers to these questions, it becomes easier to identify opportunities that you have a real shot at, and which ones you will excel at. It also becomes easier to research local companies and the subsets where you can network.
Amber Conrade, director of career services for Globe Education Network, says you should be able to clearly articulate why you want to work for a specific company. “Research why you want to work for those companies, and make sure you’re qualified for the positions you want,” Conrade says. “You should also know what your career goals are.” Put the work into your job search plan, and you’ll find that the next steps will be less overwhelming.
Once you have targeted your job search and have identified the skills and achievements that will make you a standout candidate, the next step is to prepare your career search materials. Your career search materials are much more than a resume. They include the following:
- Marketing Materials: Think of your marketing materials as your advertising tools that showcaseyour unique value, have clear alignment to the positions you hope to apply for and represent a consistent brand from one document to the next. These materials consist of the resume, cover letter and elevator speech.
- Online Profiles: Once you’ve developed your marketing materials, you will need to prepare your online profiles on professional networking sites such as LinkedIn. The most important thing to remember when creating your online profiles is to make sure that they are consistent with your marketing materials. Almost all recruiters and hiring managers will do research on job applicants. Contradicting information from your resume to your online profiles will raise a red flag and leave the employer confused, which they have zero time for.
- Networking Plan: A networking plan is a list of industry specific associations, volunteer opportunities, local job fairs and contact information for the key decision makers who work in the companies you hope to work for.
If you’re a new grad, Conrade says the most important thing you can do is meet with a career services professional on campus. “Career services can help you put together your references, cover letter and resume, to make sure all your bases are covered before you begin applying,” she says.
Now that you’ve done the right prep work, it’s time to execute. Begin by networking with professionals in your field of choice, and apply for jobs you’ve found that best align with your strengths and skillset. Conrade suggests attending local job fairs to get an in with organizations you’re interested in working for. “Be sure to send follow-up emails to those professionals you speak with about job opportunities, and don’t forget to send thank you letters after interviews,” Conrade says. “During the job search process you will want to be consistently updating your resume and LinkedIn profile with any additional experiences, volunteer opportunities or internships you may gain during your job search.” Conrade also suggests keeping a detailed list of every job you apply for. This will help you keep track of everything and be prepared when a hiring manager calls you about a certain position.
Whether you are a recent college graduate looking to begin your career or a professional looking to make a career change, with the right plan, preparation and execution you will be on your way to landing the job of your dreams!
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