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Jumpstart your job search for 2010

Step 1: Know What You Need to Know
Not understanding what you need to know is a critical mistake made by most job seekers. An unfocused approach usually means extended time spent unemployed and lower wages when landing that next job. But applied knowledge can really turbo-charge your efforts and put you ahead of the competition. Your success will depend to a large extent on what you know and how you use that information. Here are things you’ll need to know:
• Yourself, and be able to articulate exactly what you have to offer an employer
• How to prepare and execute a targeted job search
• The essential functions and requirements of the job you are seeking
• The company, its culture, its products and services, the people in the company, and its hiring practices - research is critical
• Your job search success also depends on your level of commitment, planning, willingness to take risks, and your ability to follow up aggressively on any and all leads you generate in your search. To execute this strategy well you will need to:

Step 2: Get Yourself in the Right Mindset
Looking for work by using the more traditional (and less successful) approaches can really wear you down and through desperation, force you accept a position that is not a fit for you or enhance your career development. Develop techniques to keep yourself positive and avoid the “poor me” attitude that is toxic and transparent and will undermine your efforts.

Step 3: Know What You Want
Define the kind of work you're seeking - what is your realistic and obtainable job objective? In other words, your objective should be a job that you are qualified for and that your experience shows your potential employer you can do well.
One critical error made by many unsuc¬cessful job seekers is lack of vocational focus or applying for a job for which you are not qualified. Without a targeted objective your job search becomes confusing to employers. It's always easier to look for “anything" rather than a specific job and hope for the best. I’ve heard this described as being addicted to “hopium.” Determine what you want in return for your labor and commitment. Determine the lowest salary or wage you're willing to accept. Consider all aspects of your employment and benefits “package”. Identify the job satisfaction components that you want from your next job

Step 4: Determine What You Offer Your Next Employer
Successful job seekers thoroughly know what they have to offer and can effectively communicate this to an employer better than their competition.
• Identify your most marketable job-specific skills, transferable skills, and interpersonal and integration into the organization skills
• Identify and be able to quantify your most powerful and relevant work related and educational achievements
• Learn to analyze job titles and descriptions, incorporate them into your presentation Use job descriptions and online publications to build your career vocabulary
Step 5: Do Company Research
If you don't know the rules of the game and the field the company plays on, I can almost guarantee you won't make it past the initial screening. Research, first the field in general, then the companies of your choice. This will give you a competitive edge over your competition. Find out about each company's culture, services, products, and personnel. Be aware and learn how to master techniques to move past gatekeepers who are skilled at screening people in - but most importantly out of the interview and hiring process

Step 6: Employ Effective Job Search Tools
Every job seeker needs the right tools for the job, but most people just don't take the time to create them. Solid job search tools build your confidence, get you in the door and keep you at the top of the list of those being considered for the job
Take time to develop a professional and polished resume, a good rule of thumb is: if you are getting interviews your resume is effective, if not - it needs revision
Power-up your application process with an attention-grabbing cover letters
Create memorable hand written follow-up and thank-you notes

Step 7: Develop Effective Interviewing Skills
The interview is where the decision is made - you need to be prepared
Learn what questions you will likely be asked and know how to respond in a conversational manner, not simple one sentence answers
Learn how each employer makes hiring decisions
Practice methods that alleviate your interview fear and help build your confidence
Persuasively communicate your value to employers
Develop appropriate answers to problematic questions or shortcomings in your background i.e. gaps in employment
Have several questions prepared to ask the interviewer or expand upon a point made during the interview – don’t miss any opportunity to present positive information about yourself
Ask for the job – leave the interviewer with the impression you are a fit and actually want the job
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