October 21, 2021
Tips for a Successful Job Search
Written by Rachel Eddins
In any situation, it’s important to focus on what you have control over when you are feeling at the mercy of external forces, such as in a job search.
The following job search tips can help you conduct an effective job search.
TIP 1 – Have a clear focus and know what you can offer
In developing your job search plan you need to address three key questions:
- What do you want? If you’re not sure, consider the questions in this article or take an inventory of your strengths, values and skills until you have a clear focus.
- What do you have to offer? This should go beyond your skills and experience. What makes you unique?
- What are your options? You may not yet know the answer to this question. Talking with other people in your contacts (see networking below) can help you identify options available. Expand to other industries or organizations. Remote work in other locations may also be an option.
Job search coaching can help you find your answers to these questions if you’re not sure.
Don’t just say you’re “open”. Think about hiring a contractor to build your home. Would you hire someone who was “open” to doing whatever you ask? Or would you rather hire someone who has training and qualifications in residential construction, particularly in the style of your home?
If you are changing directions, be clear on your why. If you’re burned out on what you’ve been doing, take some time to consider what has been working for you.
TIP 2 – Don’t just look for job postings – talk to people in careers or organizations of interest to tap into the hidden job market
Finding a job includes the following strategies:
- Direct contact
- Personal networking
- Job opening listed online
- Employment agencies & recruiters
The first two strategies target the hidden job market while the third and fourth strategy target the advertised job market.
The majority of jobs are actually found in the hidden job market – not listed online. Most job seekers focus on the advertised job market a small % of the total available jobs and the most applicants.
If you do apply to online listings, you should be mindful to read the instructions carefully and ensure you are a close match to what they are looking for.
Leverage technology. Don’t just surf job listings, but research companies, industries, contacts, write about what you know, and utilize social media.
TIP 3 – Get face-to-face with people and ask for information directly
Network with people you know and whom THEY know. Most data indicates that close to 80% of jobs are found via networking and often were discovered through the person LEAST expected to be of assistance.
Three categories of networking contacts:
Develop a contact list of everyone you know personally and professionally.
- People you know well: friends, family, neighbors, hairdresser, and co-workers. Ask them for referrals to people who might be able to help you.
- People you see occasionally: acquaintances, business contacts. Ask for ideas and referrals.
- Referrals from your other networking contacts. Mention who referred you and introduce yourself using your personal marketing statement.
You can do this through informational interviews/networking. Social media services such as LinkedIn can be useful for identifying people in your network, information gathering and networking,
Each person can lead to job search success in unexpected ways. The key is to think of it as asking for information. And consider that you would do the same for others.
Remember that people want to help you, but not necessarily without you helping them. Show how you are willing to help them as well.
Great networkers are great listeners not necessarily great talkers or schmoozers.
The basic formula goes: MEET, ASK, LISTEN, LEARN, ACT, THANK
Many job search support groups offer structured networking to allow job seekers to help each other. Check your local area for services. Click here for Houston Job Search Resources.
Use these tools to keep track of your contacts in your job search:
TIP 4 – Prepare a Personal Marketing Statement (Summary)
Develop a brief introduction about your background and what you are looking for to help you communicate confidently when making contact with others.
|BACKGROUND/RECENT EXPERIENCE||I’m an experienced receptionist with qualifications in office admin and…|
|WHAT I WANT||I’m looking for a position within the hospital as a unit admin worker or something similar.|
|BACKGROUND/RECENT EXPERIENCE||I’ve recently been volunteering with Lifeline as a telephone counsellor, helping people handle difficult situations in their lives. I’m a parent of 3 and have worked with youth for 5 years as a volunteer basketball coach.|
|WHAT I WANT||I’m looking for a job that involves working with teens and their parents.|
TIP 5 – Get organized and set up for the job search
To implement a successful job search you will need to prepare some resources. These include:
- Address book and spreadsheet, Networking-Tracking-Worksheet or database for keeping track of contacts
- Accomplishment stories – focus on tangible results and practical solutions.
- Cover Letter
- Write/update your Linkedin profile
- Google yourself to see what is online about you. A recent study indicated that 35% of recruiters had ruled out candidates based on what they had found in a google search
- Use social media sites to let others know how they can help you.
- Register your own name as a domain name and create an online resume/bio.
- Write a blog about a topic you are knowledgeable about and begin to establish yourself as an expert in a particular area.
- Prepare for the job interview.
- The Career-Decision-Making-Matrix can help you sort through your career options and make a final decision.
- Dress for Success – The mission of Dress for Success Houston is to promote the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and the career development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.
TIP 6 – Explore a range of industries and company sizes
Don’t just go for jobs in large well known organizations. These are the most competitive places to seek work. Smaller organizations (less than 150 staff) create most new jobs and are often better places to work.
Explore alternative industries. you haven’t yet considered.
Consider organizations with values similar to your own.
TIP 7 – Take a related, temporary, contract, or internship position in the meantime
A bridge job helps you feel better about yourself, pay the bills, and establish structure and routine. You can still work towards finding your ideal position without the feeling of desperation or urgency.
If the organization is attractive to you this is a good way to get a foot in the door and often leads to full time work.
TIP 8 – Talk to your references before listing them on an application
Prior to listing a reference, ask their permission. Let them know about your job search and what type of position and organization you are pursuing.
Share a copy of your resume and the job description, and discuss your current career goals. This helps them to be able to respond effectively when contacted by your employer. You don’t want them to be caught off guard.
TIP 9 – Send thank you notes
Always remember to send a thank you note to anyone who makes their time available to meet with you or helps you in your job search. This includes your networking contacts and job interviewers.
This can be an email or, for a personal touch, a hand written card.
TIP 10 – Practice self-care and manage your mindset
Career transition, particularly when it is associated with a layoff, can be a very stressful experience. It can get disappointing, frustrating and even feel hopeless at times.
You don’t want to come off as negative to others as they’ll turn away from you and most importantly, you don’t want to give up hope for yourself.
We have worked with numerous clients who were feeling frustrated down and disappointed only later to feel happier as their new path opened up better opportunities or life situations.
- Manage your mindset – Expect no’s and dead ends. Try not to take the no’s personally. Believe that you will be successful.
- Share your feelings with people you trust – family, friends, a counselor or a career coach.
- Re-evaluate – career transition is a time to re-evaluate your life and career values and make some changes for the better. It is also an opportunity to identify new avenues for meaning and direction. Dig deep. Is there something you’ve really wanted to do? Is now the time to explore that?
- Maintain balance – watch that you are sleeping, eating healthy, exercising and connecting to people. Seek help if this becomes an issue.
TIP 11 – Get support – career assessment, job search coaching, job search support groups
Career counselors can help you clarify direction and and offer ideas and resources that can help you find your own answers. Local job search support groups can also provide resources, motivation and support.
The benefits of professional career counseling may include:
- Clearer career direction and improved career satisfaction
- Reduced periods of unemployment or underemployment
- Enhanced career management and job search skills you can use throughout your career
- Improved life balance with the associated health and relationship benefits
- Better long-term financial rewards
- Increased confidence
There are many opportunities available out there. The most important thing is to focus on what you do best, believe in yourself, be open to new possibilities and you WILL get to a more rewarding place in your career.
Don’t face this alone, get help finding focus and direction whether through career counseling, job search support groups, or people you trust.
Find more career planning resources here.
For more information on our career coaching services, call 832-559-2622 or schedule an appointment online.
Land Your Dream Job
Get instant access to your free ebook.
7 Steps to Positive Career Changes
Get instant access to your free ebook.
Identify Your Skills
Get instant access to your free ebook.