Times have changed. People can no longer rely on applying to the classifieds (since there are no newspapers any longer!) or online postings. The horde of people applying to online sites is astronomical. Now, I am not saying to not apply. By all means apply. But this is a PASSIVE job hunting method. Don't solely rely on this method, but gear yourself up for a aggressive, proactive job hunting! Applying to the vortex of online jobs should be a teeny tiny bit of your job hunting habit.
Okay, lets be real (did I just sound like Dr. Phil?). Looking for work is a job in itself. A person must approach it as a full-time job by putting the time and effort into the search. Once you have decided to commit the time, effort and energy you can get started. Ready to start? Good!What is aggressive, proactive job search? Well it is a four step process. And you can't skip steps or do one step before the other!!!!!!! YOU MUST START AT THE BEGINNING. Get my point with all the caps and exclamation points. If you do not start working on the foundation. All will crumble.
Step One: FOCUS - This is the foundation of your house. It is what all is built upon. If you cannot get this down you will go back to relying on those passive job hunting methods (applying online, sending unsolicited resumes, etc.). The purpose of this exercise is to narrow down your options. I know, I know, why narrow down options! You have to be focused on what your interests, strengths and preferences are in the job world. In other words, you need to identify specific skills you most want to use on the job AND this helps when you are talking to people about what you want and can do. We call it the 30 second pitch. If you were on the spot right now, could you market yourself and your skills set?
The trick to focusing on your skills and being specific as possible. Think about the things you love to do and what you hate to do. The, 'what I hate' is almost as important as the what I love to do. Think back on past jobs, school, classes, volunteer activities, etc. What were some of the things you enjoyed doing? Think of examples from your experiences to demonstrate those skills.
Okay, lets get down to it. The following are the eight things you need to answer. Find a friend, co-worker, spouse, etc. to help you.
1. PEOPLE - All jobs require contact with people. How do you like to interact with people? Teach? Inform? Motivate? Think about your interactions with people? What are your strengths and weakness?
2. ORGANIZATION - All jobs require organization of some type. Some people are better at it than other. What do you like to organize (if anything)? Things? Events? Ideas? People? How do you go about organizing these things/people, etc.
3. WRITING - All jobs require some form of writing. It may or may not be a main focus of a job. What do you like to write? Opinions? Research? BE SPECIFIC
4. RESEARCH - Do you like digging for information or figuring out where to look for information? What do you like about research? What do you hate about research?
5. TECHNOLOGY - Do you like to work with equipment like lighting, editing, cameras? Or are computers simply a means to get the job done? Do you have any particular technology savvy that would be a marketable skill, such as using social networking sites?
6. CREATIVITY - In what ways do you like to be creative? Visually? With words?
7. ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS - How do you feel about deadlines? What types do you work best with? Do you like a corporate or more casual work atmosphere? Do you prefer a structured office with clearly defined roles or a looser set-up? Do you prefer to know what each day will bring or do you prefer interruptions and constant change? Something in between the two? How much control do you need over your day-to-day responsibilities? Do you like to travel? Do you like to get out of the office? etc., etc., etc.,
8. OTHER FACTORS: Do you have any additional interests or skills that would further narrow down your list of possibilities? For example, an interest in the music or entertainment industry? Sports? A cause or belief you believe strongly in like women's issues, health care, animals or the environment? A language or cultural knowledge you wish to utilize?
Again, take time to sit down and really THINK about these things. This exercise will give you the framework of the skills you have and can bring to the table. It will also help you identify types of employers you never would have thought of before that can use these skills! It is a liberating experience.
If you or someone you know found this helpful let me know and I will continue with the steps in later posts.