(This is Part 1 in a series of postings with tried-and true tips and success stories to inform and inspire you to get your career in gear)
Determine your destination
It is often said that “If you do not know where you are going, you will end up somewhere else”. Indeed, many job seekers skip this crucial stage and thereby prolong their journey. Do they really mean it when they say “I will do anything?” Unless you are one of those who would just as well lead a Safari, deliver key-notes to 2,000 people or wash the windows of the Sears Tower, you need to gain clarity and focus, your compass: What job functions, companies, industries, locations, and work environment do you desire?
Unfortunately, when your career has been derailed, there is often a lot of stress and confusion interfering with identifying your target. Give yourself permission and time to evaluate your transferable skills, professional expertise, accomplishments, needs, interests, passions, and your bottom line. Then, create a list of your top “must haves” and “would be nice to have” and generate options based on your best fit. The pay-offs are plenty:
- You will immediately realize that this bump in the road will provide you with opportunities you have not considered before. For example, ongoing job losses in the publishing industry, have driven editors, and reporters to shift gears and start a career in copywriting, providing content for websites, blogging, or teaching.
- Having a target will relieve much of your anxiety and stress
- It is much easier for your contacts to assist you, knowing what you are seeking, so help them help you.
- Last, but not least, the skills, accomplishments and the your other self-assessment components will serve as indispensible resources in developing your personal brand, and crafting effective and targeted self-marketing tools, both written and verbal.
Prepare your Triptik
“How do I start and what do I need to do?” is on the minds of most clients I have worked with. It is amazing to witness their increased sense of empowerment and self confidence once they create a road map, their self-marketing action plan. This will include, but is not limited to:
- Creating a target list of companies and contacts within the company
- Strategies for tapping into the hidden job market, such as networking in person and via Social Media
- Internet search for opportunities on company websites, industry specific and general job sites
- Traditional job search methods like classified ads , recruiters and staffing agencies
- Preparation of resumes, cover letters, letters of interest, business cards, phone script and Elevator Pitch
- Honing interviewing and networking skills
- Creating a system for organizing and managing your “campaign” and a timely follow-up.
- Last, but not least, scheduling time for recreation, sports, socializing and/or hobbies to reduce stress, preserve your health, and provide relaxation and fun during this challenging time.
Ask for directions
Do not hesitate to enlist the help of people you trust and who respect and know you well and are likely to offer objective feedback and insights on your job hunt. You may also choose to work with a career counselor/coach who will assist you along your journey, provide expertise, encouragement and support, and expedite the process.
Join me for the ride next week with more tips, information and secrets of successful job seekers.