Job Search Process
For those linear thinkers, here’s a suggested step-by-step job-search plan.
Step 1: Scan the Environment
- Investigate trends, issues and developments in your industry (online, networking meetings, professional associations/journals, local business publications).
- Analyze ads/online postings to determine companies and industries that need your skills.
- Expand your network to include related industries and professions.
- Self assessment: What do you do best? What do you like to do? What are your priorities?
- Professional assessment: Specialized areas of knowledge? Key roles? Specialized skills? Accomplishments to highlight?
- Draft a sentence or phrase that concisely describes the kind of work you are seeking.
- Determine your exit statement — why you’re looking. An exit statement should be brief, non-defensive, truthful and positive.
- Define your unique advantage in the marketplace.
- Create your positioning statement. It presents an overall message to your target market.
- Target your resume to deliver a consistent and strong theme/thread.
- Identify specific organizations/companies to pursue (50 is a manageable goal).
- Consider geographic location, industry or type of organization, size and organizational culture.
- Ask others for suggestions and input.
- Collect additional information about your target list — talk to others, do Internet research, etc.
- Compile list of questions to ask people within your target organizations so you can be most effective when networking.
- Set up a system to organize information and keep track of contacts.
- Word-of-mouth advertising about your qualifications and availability.
- Increase your visibility.
- Network, network, network with hiring managers.
- Explore their needs; link your benefits to their needs.
- Share your target list with your contacts.
- Direct approach with hiring managers, if applicable.
- Search firms.
- Direct company websites.
- Competence + compatibility + chemistry = organization’s perspective
- Competence + compatibility + chemistry + compensation = your perspective
- Be clear about what they need and the value you bring.
- Do your homework on compensation before the negotiation starts.
AssociationsThe Encyclopedia of Associations is a comprehensive source of detailed information on more than 135,000 nonprofit membership organizations worldwide. Available online through most libraries.
Wikipedia has a comprehensive list, too: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_professional_organizations.
Check the business section of your local newspaper (including your city’s business journal) for a weekly calendar of professional organization gatherings. Sign up for newsletters and event notifications so you can stay on top of what’s happening in your local market.
Aggregate Job Board: Indeed.com. Great for researching keywords, related positions, and locating industry organizations/sites for specialized fields.
Occupational Outlook Handbook: www.bls.gov/ooh. Government site for researching careers, including training and education requirements, job earnings, working conditions, expected job prospects and job descriptions. Very little information about niche fields or more unusual career segments.
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