Sunday, May 13, 2007

Job Search Strategies - For Candidates

Copyright 2007 - Jennifer Britton
With university and college graduations just behind us, a huge number of new graduates are heading out to secure full-time paid employment. The next few months especially will be very busy with resume development, interview preparation and lots and lots of hopefully strategic planning for the job you want to land.

As an HR consultant (and having sat at the table at the other side for thousands of interviews) and in my career coaching work, I often receive a number of inquiries regarding tips for job search and interviewing. Today's post, and likely a couple of subsequent posts, will focus on interviewing tips for candidates. If you are an employer, you may want to review my recent posts for you, in the last few months (Interviewing Tips 101 for Employers and Interviewing Tips Part II).

If you are a new graduate, or someone looking to transition to a new position, consider the following:

1. Create a clear vision of what type of position you want:
Ask yourself the following questions: Ideally,
* what job do you want to move into?
* How much pay?
* Where is it located?
* What type of working envrionment is it?
* What's the culture of the organization like?
* What are the hours like?
* What benefits (monetary or other) would you like?

Also consider the following questions:
Where would you like to be in 3 years time career-wise?
Where would you like to be in 10 years time career-wise?

Once you've answered these last questions, ask yourself "What do I need to do to get there?" Working backwards is sometimes the easiest way.

2. Spend time doing research
Based on your vision, spend time doing research on possible companies you would like to work for, or positions you would like to apply to. Time spent on planning and research, and in developing a "game plan" can pay off in multiple ways. Beware, however, of getting stuck in the "research" trap and not moving from this place. The results of your research should inform your next steps and game plan.

3. Build your network
What is the strength of your professional network? Do you belong to any professional associations related to your career? Personal and professional networks continue to play a key role in job search strategies. From keeping abreast of what is new in your industry, to learning about best practices, and what employment opportunities may exist, time spent on building your network can also pay off. Discussions with individuals in your network can help inform your expectations and understanding of what opportunities may exist.

If you feel that your network could be more extensive, look into opportunities within your local community. In addition to in-person formal networking events, there are now a number of virtual/online networking communities.

Relationships continue to play a key role in the world of business -- how can you continue to strengthen yours?

4. Invest time in preparing your resume
Given that it is common for many positions to have hundreds, if not thousands of applicants these days, invest time in preparing your resume. Presentation is key, and watch out for any grammatical mistakes, as well as typos. It may also be necessary to tailor your resume for different positions you are applying for, by highlighting your different skills and experience, based on the job posting.

With the rise of many online recruitment banks/sources, keywords are playing an even larger role. Rather than having an individual scanning through the different resumes received, computers now do this. If certain keywords do not show up, your resume may not be picked up out of the thousands in the "bank" for that important first cut.

More on resumes in a future post.

5. Dedicate time for the job search and Persevere, Persevere, Persevere:
Your job search could take time, depending on the type of employment you are looking for. It can also be a frustrating experience, especially when you do not hear back from companies for an interview. Keep persevering, and strategically applying for new positions as you hear of them. Depending on how you like to work and plan, it may be useful to set aside small blocks of time on a regular basis to scan your recruitment sources, develop your application packages and send them out.

I am interested in hearing what other questions those of you who are looking for jobs have. Please feel free to comment below.

Upcoming posts will focus on interviewing tips, resume preparation and general career transition support.

I will be offering a group coaching program starting this summer on career transition. More details will follow on this blog. I expect that space will fill quite quickly. I will also be offering in the next month or so a free call on career issues - please drop me an email with "Career Call" in the header. I will keep you posted as dates and times for the free call are set.

With best wishes,

Jennifer Britton, CPCC, CHRP, CPT
Potentials Realized
Toll Free: 1-866-217-1960
Email: jennifer[at]potentialsrealized[dot]com

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