With the new year comes the resolve to upgrade, up-end and undo aspects of our 2012 lives. Many begin with the behemoth known as the work life. Work gobbles-up a whopping 33 percent of each day and possibly much more.
If you find yourself woefully unhappy in your current employment situation, don’t despair; don't stay stuck and attack the problem with organization and a strategy for not only finding a job, but of finding the right job for you.
Looking for a job is work. If you’re unemployed, then you need to spend your eight-hour work day hours developing your tools, honing your skills for interviewing, seeking, networking and preparing for each step in the process. This is the busiest time of your career. You can rest when you land the job (just kidding).
Joking aside, this is no time for lying in bed, getting depressed or gabbing to your other unemployed friends, unless the talk is about where jobs are available. You’ll need to spruce-up your image, dust-off your interview suit, even get a hair makeover to give yourself a fresh look.
Select more than one job category
Take a broad approach your job search. Select at least three areas interests and qualifications. The categories should be closely related to your skills, abilities and education, but give yourself some latitude in the keywords used to optimize your search, especially when using online search sites.
The job title you really want is your primary job category; the number one area in which you wish to work. Don't stop there. Just in case the job you really want isn't available or not in demand in your area, select a second and third area in which your skills are relevant and you would enjoy a position. Give yourself some breathing room, room to find success in your job search.
If you’re working as a teacher and the little faces of the cherubs in your classroom cause you to cover your head and never get out of bed, it’s time for a change. While classroom teacher may continue to be your primary job title, it is not the only job title for which you can search. There is many more areas compatible with your degree in education. Don’t view your Bachelor of Arts degree in education as a life sentence in the classroom.
As an educator, you could also search for positions in training. The same skills used to prepare lesson plans and deliver knowledge in a clear, concise manner are utilized by corporate trainers. Look into positions in administrative jobs in an educational setting. The work environment is well-matched to your background. You have knowledge and understanding of the needs of the educational landscape which is valuable to any company looking to do business with educational institutions.
Perhaps you would like to make a transition to sales. You could parlay your educational background to textbook publishing and sales or admissions and recruitment for private schools, colleges and universities or you could be a tutor. The point is, don’t limit your job search focus to just one job title or category.
Organize your job search
Be organized. Keep track of the businesses you have contacted for jobs. Record the contact names, phone numbers, email addresses. Keep a record of the job titles and the source of the job information. If you’re using an online job search site, visit the website of the actual company you’re applying to, as well. Keep a chart of this valuable information. It will tell you several things:
1, This information will help you follow-up. Often, simply submitting a resume to an anonymous site through Craigslist or some other site isn’t enough to get an interview. You need to follow-up directly with the company to let them know you are genuinely interested in employment. All your contact information will be laid-out at your fingertips and available.
2. You will be able to see which sites have valid job advertisements and which are truly helpful in navigating your search for a new and better job.
You will be able to recall the job description and specific employer when the phone call comes asking to arrange an interview and speak knowingly with the employer organization.
3. Job search activities are tax deductible. By organizing your job search and keeping note of job interviews, printing receipts, resume costs, everything that is associated with your job search can be deducted on your taxes. Keep records of all of this and the costs associated with it for tax time.
Your Job Search Record should be separated in the three categories you’ve chosen for yourself. Note the job titles under each category that you apply for, print job descriptions and maintain in your file. You’ll need these descriptions to refer to when you’re preparing targeted resumes and cover letters.
You need more than one resume
This brings us to the next caveat in your expanded, organized job search. One boilerplate resume is not enough. You need a well-formatted, thoughtful resume developed for each job category.
Employers are busy; they are not going to take twenty minutes reading your wonderfully worded resume. Job seekers get about thirty seconds to interest the prospective employer. Make it count! If the employer doesn't see what they’re looking for right up front it’s tossed.
Put your best foot forward. At the outset of your job journey, take time to design a basic resume, that is, one which slants your skills, background and education toward the primary job category for which you are applying. Then create a basic resume for your second job category and one for your third chosen job category. Make sure each resume you send-out is slightly altered to match the advertisement to which you are responding.
In the example of an educator, place the education section of your resume close to the top, otherwise, put it last. State the same job title as your Career Objective. Review the “desired skills” description to give a clear indication of how you can match your qualifications to what the employer is looking for, you’ll need to mirror the language in the job advertisements to let the prospective employer know for certain that you have the skills he or she desires. Identify specific descriptive words used in the “qualifications” section of the advertisement; use the employer's language in your targeted resume.
Putting this much effort into organizing your job search at the outset will yield greater results in the end. Each time you review and labor over the smallest aspects of your cache of skills and talents, you’ll feel better about what you have to offer prospective employers, you will be better able to articulate your special skills and credentials in the eventual interview and radiate the confidence necessary to attract employers and get that all important job offer.
One last thing:
If you are not getting responses and interviews from the resumes you’re sending out, revamp it! The resume is your window-dressing, if you’re not stopping traffic, it’s not working for you.