Are you just looking?
No one needs to reiterate that today’s is a difficult job market that is unprecedented in recent times or that regrettably, many people are looking for jobs for extended amounts of time—sometimes for years! As a career coach, I often work with such people, and I notice that they have things in common: None of them have a well-thought-out career management plan. None of them have a thorough and well-integrated career search campaign. Most are just looking for a job. When I try to diagnose where the problem is, I find universally that (1) they continue practicing what worked for them in the past; (2) they follow what other job seekers have suggested to them; (3) most of them are simply lost because of not knowing what to do next and are borderline depressed due to their repeated failures to generate positive activity; and (4) they do not have a plan containing a series of certain specific activities that are necessary for them to accomplish in order to reach the goal.
This article cannot cover all of the information I recently presented to a group of job seekers for over an hour, but here is the essence of it. The four elements of a successful job search process are:
- The creation of a marketing plan
- The preparation of job search tools
- The physical marketing of oneself
- A continuous plan for improving the process
While creating the marketing plan, you should first learn about yourself. Second, you should assess your marketable skills. Next, you should learn the ways of finding a job in today’s marketplace. And last, you should map out what you want to do. This is the stage in which to engage a career coach. Hiring a career coach will speed up the process, and you’ll learn from a pro, get unbiased feedback, will be kept on track, and acquire the skills for negotiating an equitable compensation plan.
The next major campaign objective is to have an excellent résumé. Good and very good résumés get failing grades in today’s economy because plenty of excellent résumés are available. I strongly suggest using a recommended professional résumé writer. While such professionals are not cheap, an excellent one is worth every penny. Professional résumé writers provide your key for unlocking the door to an interview. Otherwise, you’ll just be praying to be called in, and that can take a long time. Once your résumé is completed, you need to develop your little vignettes and success stories. At this point, you’ll need to learn how to work with a select group of recruiters, how to use job boards, and how to establish a system for keeping track of all of your activities via a searchable form; Excel works well for this.
The difficult part starts now. You need to market yourself by associating with job search networking groups. Those who live within a distance of, say, a hundred miles from New York, can profit from the comprehensive list of job search networking groups found on the landing page at www.landingexpert.com. Self-marketing includes good collaterals such as strong cover letters, a persuasive elevator speech, a detailed LinkedIn profile, and effective use of LinkedIn. Joining Yahoo! groups and LinkedIn groups could prove helpful as well. And last, you need to identify your target companies and go after them ferociously.
Now comes the last step, which is to continue improving the process. This includes embellishing your list of success stories and frequently practicing mock interviewing.
As you can see, this is a rigorous and demanding career campaign plan. To be good at it, you have to devote at the very least 40 hours a week; and that doesn’t include time spent commuting to meetings. By following this plan, you’ll get not only the satisfaction of accomplishment but also the distinct possibility of favorable results. Good luck to you!
My last job, which was a survival job, was the worst one I ever had. Micromanaging of two faceless bureaucracies led to over 90% attrition in the seven months I was there. My current one is much better, but when I applied for a permanent job there, I found out I lacked an assumed skill. Nonetheless, I agree, one must find out and work on skills the positions require. It must be part of the plan. I shudder to think that I’ve been so busy seeking work and holding down a fulltime job that I’ve neglected the essentials of networking and added needed skills. Once I finish training with Block for the next tax season, I intend to turn my full attention to those skills.