Take Charge of Your Job Search: 12
Steps to Success
by: Michelle Casto
Despite what many people may say, a
job search does not have to be an unpleasant experience. There are
those people who choose to take charge of the process, who actually
find the process to be very rewarding and stimulating. Conducting a
job search is in many ways a self discovery process and an
opportunity to put your true endurance and attitude skills to the
Here is the secret to experiencing
job search success: Be Productive, Be Proactive, Be Positive, Be
Persistent, and Be Polished. It is a very easy formula to follow: Do
your homework on what you want to do and where you would ideally
like to do it. Do more than you think is necessary before it needs
to be done. Maintain a positive attitude, it will make all the
difference in the world. Don't give up too easily, good jobs go to
those who "keep at it." And throughout the entire job search
process, be sure to look and act the part of a professional.
Steps to Help You Take Charge of Your
1. Clarify Your Career Goals: When
you know what you are looking for in a career, it is much easier to
locate a job in that field. If you are not sure what you want to do
with the rest of your life, see a career coach or counselor for
2. Tailor Your Resume and Cover
Letter: Invest in a resume and cover letter reference book to view
examples of good resumes. Use the examples as a guide to create your
own version. Think of your resume and cover letter as
"self-marketing" tools. Then, have a few, qualified people review
and critique your first few drafts. (Remember, these are works in
progress that are never really finished, as you will be continually
3. Identify Potential Employers:
Appropriate employer directories and resources are available for
your use in the library or local university career center. Get
familiar with books, magazines, and on-line reference materials in
your career field and use them regularly. Only rely on the resources
that help you to identify relevant employment contacts.
4. Establish a Network: Identify
people in various organizations and companies who can give you
insight into their employment needs. Identify faculty,
acquaintances, friends, and relatives who can assist you in your job
search. Become actively involved in professional organizations.
5. Research Potential Employers: Read
literature about them, talk with people who know of their work,
check them out on the internet. Gather as much information about the
company as you can, so if you ever get an interview, you will
already be prepared.
6. Practice Your Interviewing Skills:
Make an appointment for a mock interview session with a qualified
career counselor. If possible, video-tape yourself to see how you
can improve your interviewing technique.
7. Conduct an Informational
Interview: Ask your contact(s) if they have a half hour to talk with
you about their industry. Ask a lot of questions, listen up, and
take notes. This is an ideal time to ask if there are any job
opportunities within their company and/or people they may know that
you should contact. Have a resume in hand, just in case they ask for
8. Follow Up with a Thank You Note:
Immediately following the interview, send the person or persons you
met with a thank you note to show your appreciation. For actual job
interviews, follow up with a telephone call within an appropriate
amount of time to find out the status of their decision. Show
interest without being overly aggressive.
9. Get Organized: Place all of your
job search materials in one binder, so that you can refer to the
information easily and quickly. Make notes to yourself about the
interview, something the person said you would like to remember, or
other important information.
10. Develop the Skills and Qualities
that Employers are Looking For: Desirable skills include: Good oral
and written communication skills, initiative, honesty, reliability,
the ability to work in a team, and resourcefulness. Equally
important skills to have are appreciation of diversity and the
technological know-how for access into your industry.
Character (someone who abides by
morals and high ethics in all situations),
Confidence (someone who is
comfortable leading and following, composed, and has healthy self
Competence (someone who possesses the
knowledge, skills, and motivation necessary to succeed in their
11. Continue to Learn: Stay abreast
of current trends in your field. Read, Read, Read. Attend workshops
or lectures about your field of interest. Always be open to new
12. Repeat this Process: Repeat this
process until you have secured your desired position.
Keep in mind that a full time job
search may take anywhere from six months to a year to conduct, so be
sure to start early. And remember that in the job search game, there
are three kinds of people:
There are those who are destined to
There are those who are determined to
There are those who are neither
destined or determined to be successful.
Which kind of job searcher are you?
To be successful, take charge of the process and use the 5 P's. All
it takes to land your ideal job is a lot of hard work, fore-thought,
maintaining a positive mental attitude, having a high level of
energy, and displaying professionalism.