Many job seekers view their job search as an unpleasant experience filled with frustration, stressful encounters with strangers, a loss of control over their life and an opportunity for personal failure. Job hunting can be difficult, but it doesn't have to be! With proper preparation and a good attitude, looking for the right job can be an opportunity to truly enhance your career.
Prepare for Success
Finding a job requires preparation. To do it right, start with a thorough self-assessment that includes exploration of your work and school history, military service, hobbies, volunteer activities, ambitions, preferred lifestyle, values and needs. From this review, determine which occupations best match your personality style and then establish appropriate job-hunting goals. If you find this step difficult, seek assistance from a professional career counselor.
Prepare your resume and portfolio of accomplishments, organize a support group of friends and relatives to help you conduct your job search, and you're ready to begin.
Accentuate the Positive
Just as important as good preparation is the right mental attitude. Job hunting will most likely take time, so pace yourself accordingly and be patient. It will also require you to occasionally operate outside of your comfort zone. Control your fear of the unknown, welcome the challenges that await you and be willing to explore new experiences. See the job search process as what it really is -- an opportunity to explore and evaluate new career options that can add value and enjoyment to your life. Don't allow your fears to govern your behavior. It's difficult to see the real world when your head is buried in the sand.
Find the Right Strategy
Once you know what type of employment you're looking for, you're ready to start seeking a position. Research has shown the most successful job seekers use a variety of these job-seeking strategies:
- Direct Employer Contact: Research and identify employers for whom you'd like to work. Contact each employer by letter or phone, indicate how you can be of value and ask for an opportunity to visit and discuss employment opportunities.
- Use Your Network: Contact your relatives, friends and professional colleagues and ask them to share valuable advice and employment information. Remember, the more people working with you, the more leads you can produce.
- Employment Recruiters: Contact employment recruiters who place people in your career field and industry.
- State Employment Service: Each state offers a wide variety of information and assistance designed to help you find employment. Check out their career centers for valuable information on career and industry trends, salary surveys, job-hunting tips, interview techniques and more.
- Placement Office: If you're a college graduate, contact your placement office and inquire about employment assistance, including job leads, available to graduates and alumni.
- Professional Associations: If you work in a professional career field, several state or national associations likely exist and provide career information and services to members. Find associations in your field through your local library and contact them to ask about employment assistance.
- Job Hotlines: Employers nationwide have created job hotlines that you can call -- usually via a free 800 number -- to learn about employment openings. Most bookstores and libraries have books listing hundreds of job hotlines.