A Glitch-Free Job Search
Struggling to find a job? Recognizing common setbacks may help you better identify how to spend your time when searching for employment.
Not knowing what you’re trying to find.
When asked to help someone find something in a room, your natural response is, “What are we trying to find?” Approach your job search in the same way. Identify what you’re trying to find, and you’re more likely to be successful at finding it. Target your job search to those positions or companies that lead to the kind of work you will enjoy. If you’re not sure what that work is, take time to identify it.
Spending too little time on the search.
If you are not currently working, your job search is your full-time job—40 hours a week should be dedicated to finding your job. Avoid taking vacation with a severance package. A change in job is not the time to finish home projects. Finding a job is not always immediate, so invest the time, especially at the beginning. Even if you are currently employed, continue to take time to work on job search skills, such as networking, to establish a safety net in case of an unexpected job loss.
Searching too small.
People who use many job search methods find jobs faster than people who use only one or two. Expand your opportunities by searching multiple resources and by talking with as many people as you can. Friends may know of a place that is seeking new employees, but also consider asking a former coworker or even previous employers. It’s not who you know, but who doesn’t know about you. In addition to your personal network, use the Internet, newspapers, employment agencies, and the phone book to search for current listings and unpublished job opportunities.
Being complacent in your search.
Make sure that you control the momentum by being active and by following up. E-mailing résumés, completing online applications, and calling to ask if a position is open are passive methods for applying for a job. The more people you contact to share compelling information about yourself, the more likely you’ll be to receive an interview. Prepare for the interviews with research and with answers to common interview questions. Following the interview, arrange for follow-up contact with the hiring manager. The common responses, “I’m still waiting to hear back,” or, “I’ve just not heard anything yet,” will stop you in your tracks. Find opportunities and answers rather than wait for them to find you.
Relaxing your image.
How you present yourself to a potential employer reaches beyond the interview. Be courteous and mistake-free in your communications. Include messages or cover letters in e-mailed materials, which will encourage an employer to read what you send. Send thank-you notes to employers and contacts you meet. In addition, ensure that your professional image is represented in your e-mail address, your voicemail message, and your cell phone’s ring to callers. Silly e-mail addresses, abrupt voicemail messages, and loud songs that play when someone is calling you may cause employers to think twice about hiring you. Remember that your online image has the potential of being seen by an employer. Be sure to represent yourself appropriately to online audiences—everywhere.