When you look for a job, do you find that the search process is long and difficult? Sometimes, do you lose patience and accept a job below your expectations? That’s the reality of most job seekers. Job search is indeed challenging; however, if you prepare well, you can put all chances on your side and easily find the job you want.
The good news is that you can succeed in any job search, if you invest reasonable time and energy. In order to help you find the job you want, I prepared for you 9 easy but necessary steps to make your job search enjoyable and effective.
Step 1. Identify your skills
The first step in a job search process is to think about what you want to do in your career. Every job you do should be part of your career plan. To identify your goals, you need to be realistic as well as ambitious.
First, you must identify the skills you have already acquired. These skills are your main asset to find a job. Being aware of your skills allows you to better target potential jobs that you can apply for.
In some cases, you may have skills that you are not aware of. For example, a fresh graduate student tends to think that they don’t have management skills, which is wrong. Throughout their schooling, a student achieves several management tasks. They work in groups, manage several stressful situations, work under pressure while performing several tasks simultaneously, etc. All these tasks make out of the student a much more competent person than they might think.
There are certain skills that are acquired only through experience. Do not be discouraged when you see that a job offer requires skills that you do not yet have. If these skills interest you, then you will find ways to acquire them. Stay ambitious and think about the person you would like to be, not the person you are right now.
Step 2. Identify your interests and values
Throughout your career, your interests will evolve and eventually change. In some situations, you will need to gain experience, or to master a particular topic. In other situations, you will need to get more income, or more work-family balance. If you clearly identify your interests, you will be able to better target your job search.
Most people spend a third of their lives at work. This has a lot of impact on your personal life. It is very important to be fulfilled and satisfied at your job, otherwise, you will neither enjoy work, nor have a happy life. When you search for a job or you plan for your career, you should consider your values. You should have a clear idea of what values you want in your future employer. Working for an employer with whom you share values can only help you succeed in your career.
Step 3. Prepare your documents
Most recruiters require a résumé. You must create a generic copy of your resume. This is the copy that contains all the information about your skills, experiences, etc. You can follow these tips to write a successful resume.
Whenever you apply for a job, you will have to adapt your résumé. Each job is unique – you should do the same for your resume.
Some recruiters require, in addition to a résumé, a cover letter. Like the résumé, the cover letter is very unique to each job and every employer.
If you have other documents, such as recommendation letters, diplomas or personal statements, make sure to prepare them in advance.
Step 4. Manager your online presence
In our digital era, employers are increasingly using online resources in general, and social networks in particular, for recruitment. They look for talents, check information about candidates, etc.
Make sure you have a professional online presence. If you do not want employers to access your Facebook profile, then make sure you make it private.
Recruiters often tend to look for candidates photos on the Internet. With the abundance of digital cameras, you may be tagged in a picture without knowing it. Check what Google Images has on you. If there are images you want to delete, you can do it through Google tools. You can even create an alert on Google to receive an e-mail every time your name is mentioned on the web.
LinkedIn and Xing (in Europe) have become indispensable platforms for recruitment and job search. Make sure you have a well-detailed account. It will increase your chances of finding a job.
Being online is an asset to find a job. Since your résumé is limited in space, you can take advantage of the Web to provide more information about your skills and experiences. You can have your own blog, a Twitter account, a SlideShare account, and much more.
Generally speaking, do a search of your name on Google to find any resources that contain information about you. Check them all to make sure that the image you have online is representative of how you want to be seen by potential employers.
Step 5. Use a tracking tool
The job search process can be lengthy. If you do not track your tasks, you may make mistakes. For example, apply for the same job twice; forget to follow up for a particular position, etc.
Having a tracking tool will help you keep track of all your job search tasks. The easiest tool to use is MS Excel. You can create your own format and store information that you think is relevant. For example, you can track the positions you have applied for, dates, tracking information, dates and times of interviews, contact names, and so on.
Consulting your tracking report will give you a clear idea of how effective your approach is.
During each job search, you will acquire interesting knowledge. Make sure that all your documents and comments are backed up. A simple and secure way is to save them on the cloud. Many companies offer free and decent storage spaces (Google Drive, Box, Dropbox, One Drive, etc.). You can save your files there forever and access them from any device.
Step 6. Job Search
Now you are well equipped and you can start your job search. The first advice I can give you is to be patient! This is a very important task in your career and you must take the necessary time to find a job that really interests you.
When you search for jobs, you may be overwhelmed by the quantity and variety of available positions. To avoid frustration, focus your search only on potential employers that meet the criteria you identified in steps 1 and 2. The three points outlined above will help you to target the most suitable position. If the job search task is difficult, you can split it into 3 steps:
- Browse several job offers to get a clear idea about the market and about employers.
- Once you have a good idea about the job market, you can select the positions that interest you the most.
- Use the tracking tool you created in step 5. You can rank the selected positions according to your priorities. I recommend you to start with the jobs that interest you the least. Use them to practice. After a few attempts, you will gain experience, and you will be better prepared to apply for the positions that are at the top of your list.
There are several resources to search for jobs, whether on the web or offline (newspapers, local ads, etc.). Online, you can do your research on generic search engines, specialized search engines, social networks, employer websites, etc.
You can also try to attend a job fair. It will give you an opportunity to meet with employers and ask them questions.
It is possible that there are vacancies that are not displayed. Do not hesitate to contact employers directly and submit a spontaneous application.
Finally, use your network. Employers say that networking is the most powerful tool you can use to find a job. Many opportunities are filled by candidates known to the employer through network contacts.
Step 7. Prepare for interviews
All what you have done so far allows you only to get interviews. There is still one step before you get the job you want: successfully complete your interviews.
Even if you have successfully completed interviews in the past, each new experience is unique. This step should never be underestimated. There is no secret: you have to practice, practice, and practice!
Prepare to answer questions about your skills and past experiences. Prepare yourself for questions about the position you are applying for. If you have skills that are lacking, be prepared to explain how you think about acquiring them. The interview is a “selling” opportunity that allows you to convince the employer that you will succeed and help their organization. Seize this opportunity and make a nice “sale”!
Step 8. Follow-up
After each interview, you will be wondering if you had succeeded or failed. The answer is simple: there is no failure in interviews. What you consider to be a failure is only a temporary disappointment. Even if you have not been hired, you have surely learned something new. For example, if you were asked questions that you do not know the answers, take that as a new learning opportunity. After each interview, add notes in your tracking tool and do some research to acquire the knowledge you lacked during the interview. After a few interviews, you will realize that your tracking tool contains invaluable knowledge that will help you get closer to the job you desire.
Making follow-ups with an employer after an interview or even after submitting your application is a good practice. If the follow-up is done correctly, it will demonstrate to the employer your enthusiasm and interest.
Make sure to respect the employer’s policy. If the employer has requested “no calls” or “no e-mails”, then follow these instructions. If the employer has no restrictions, then you can follow up by phone or e-mail to show your enthusiasm, make yourself available for more information, etc.
For some employers, positions can take a long time to be filled. There is nothing you can do about it – this is the reality of large organizations. Be patient and do not lose hope!
Step 9. Prepare your Answer
After the interviews, you will receive the answers from the employers. Whether good or bad, you should always remain positive. There is no failure – each experience makes you closer to your final goal. Be optimistic and take the answers in a constructive way.
If you have received a rejection, then try to analyze your application to understand why you haven’t been hired. Make your own self-criticism. This will allow you to improve and find the job you want.
If you have received good news, then be prepared to answer. You have the choice to accept the offer, to refuse it, or to negotiate it. At this stage of your job search process, you already have a very clear idea about what you want to do. It should not be complicated to make your choice.
Job search is a process that can be long and difficult. If you follow these 9 steps, you can put all the odds on your side and succeed in finding the job you desire. When you find a job, a new adventure begins. Make sure you give the best of yourself and keep in mind your career plan.
If you have any questions or suggestions, please leave a comment below. I will be happy to respond.