A Guide to Starting a Job Search Strategy

A Guide to Starting a Job Search Strategy

By: Kim Kenner, Resume Writing Consultant

Although the unemployment rate is improving, it is still smart to have a job search strategy. Searching for a job can be daunting and leave you feeling worn out. Here are some tips to get started.

Get Organized!

Organize and energize.  Getting organized will keep you on track, and eliminate a ton of stress.

  • Create a daily schedule that fits into your lifestyle. 

  • Decide how many days or hours a week you want to invest in your search. Your new job is now “finding a job,” so use some of those same tools.

  • If you have not used or currently use Outlook or Lotus Notes (calendar programs), look into getting an online calendar tool. There are many different options out there, including tools in Gmail, Yahoo Mail, and MSN that have calendar programs built in. Here is the link for Google’s calendar. A simple list on paper or your phone works too. No matter the tool, the important thing is that you make a commitment of when and how long to work on your job search. 

  • Allow for breaks, days off, doing the dishes, picking kids up from school, etc.  Some experts even suggest you take a walk before starting your “finding a job” job for the day. It helps clear your mind and get you pumped up for the task at hand. 

  • Get up and get dressed for your “finding a job” job. Stay in the habit of maintaining the hours you did when you were employed.

Research

Research, research, research. A great place to start is to look up what companies are located in your area, what kind of work they do, what is their size, what type of jobs they might be posting. 

  • The internet is an excellent place to begin your research. What is going on in your specific industry or trade? Who are the company leaders of the competition? What educational requirements need to be met for a certain job or profile?

  • There are some great websites to visit: www.bls.gov, www.cbsalary.com, school websites, and, of course, employer websites.

  • Subscribe to industry specific online newsletters. Join discussion groups on LinkedIn or other social networking sites that are on topic.

Network

How connected are you? Networking is consistently cited as the number one way to get your next job. Research shows that more than 60%, some articles will state even up to 80%, of all jobs are found through networking.

  • Networking in this case is talking or writing to people you know and asking them to introduce you to others. It is also building on an association: trade groups, other parents, church groups, neighbors, former co-workers, etc. 

  • Remember that networking is a two-way street. As you ask people in your network for help, expect and be prepared to help them in return.

Prepare

Be prepared. Be ready with information and everything you need in order to have successful interviews and productive meetings.

  • Contact your professional references. They might have changed companies, phone numbers, etc. (Note: this is also an excellent place to start your new job search).

  • Create a list of all your former employers. Include dates, addresses, phone numbers, supervisors, and salaries. Make sure the information is still valid. This is a more in-depth list than your resume and is only for your use. It will be a great tool when filling out employment applications.

  • If it applies, prepare work samples or project portfolios. Do not wait until the night before an interview. Take your time and do it now.

  • Update your resume. Have someone proofread it. Spelling and formatting counts, even if you are a machinist. If possible, go back 10-15 years of work history. The prospective employer doesn’t need to see a 10-page resume, so keep it simple. Use bullet points of your accomplishments. If needed, we are here to help you; we can create a new resume or update your old version, optimize your LinkedIn Profile, or help you prepare for an interview. https://www.insiderecruiter.com/

Customize

Make your job search strategy one that fits your personality. 

  • If you like to meet new people; attend networking meetings. If you prefer a more subtle approach, contact people through your own network, using email or chat groups.

  • Try job boards, job fairs, job counselors, career coaching, trade shows, industry events, employment agencies, or simply just walking in to a prospective place of employment.

  • Stay involved. Maybe you can help your fellow unemployed job seekers start their job search strategy.