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General Job Search - What do I do first?

by - 07/06/2011
"In a recent coaching session, my client thanked me for helping her to determine what to do first, second and third. “It’s pretty confusing," she said, “when you start to look for a job. You don’t really know what to do because no one’s ever trained ......"
In a recent coaching session, my client thanked me for helping her to determine what to do first, second and third. “It’s pretty confusing," she said, “when you start to look for a job. You don’t really know what to do because no one’s ever trained you or taught you about it.”

So I thought I’d describe my viewpoint about how to go about looking for a job, and finding one, from the very start, from ground zero. In project management parlance, there are some things that precede others and others that can be done in parallel and still others that can be done at any time. Obviously, you can’t send a response to an online listing if you don’t have a resume to do so with. You can’t negotiate for benefits and salary before you’ve gotten an interview and been chosen.

The first thing to do is somehow rid yourself of any hostility about being laid off, if you’ve been laid off. This might involve sending a letter to your ex-boss or company, venting all the anger you feel, but not mailing it. Or it could be expressed in a self-help or support group. Or you might try a therapist who could help you work through any such feelings.

Next, re-orient yourself about what kind of job you want to go for this time around. Do you want to find exactly what you had before? Do you want something similar but in a related field? Or do you want to try to change what you were doing? The reason for this is obvious -- because you next want to write a resume that targets your intended job and field.

Sometimes (and here’s where it gets complicated), you may want to network first to help determine what jobs might be available for someone with your talents and experience, and then go to the resume-writing stage. If you go the networking route at this stage, you will need an “elevator” speech.

Then it’s resume-writing time. With some of my clients, I find, multiple resumes for two or more job-hunting “tracks” make sense.

Once your resume (or resumes) has (have) been written, you can begin signing up for on-line services (the more, the merrier) and placing your resume out on them. In addition, if the service permits it, you need to create PSA’s (Personal Search Agents) to automatically e-mail you descriptions of positions that match your criteria. And you need to search that old stand-by, the want ads, weekly.

At this point you can begin to branch out to pro-active networking. You can also create a broadcast letter if you have targeted a specific industry.

Then it’s a matter of resolutely answering ads and networking, supplemented by special pro-active broadcast letter mailings. It’s a numbers game, very much like the marketing campaigns I used to conduct.

Before you do connect and get asked for an interview (unless you’re networking, in which case the interview is usually so built-in you won’t even know you’re participating in one), you need to learn how to conduct yourself in any interview so that you’re the one who is chosen, and, if chosen, you need to learn how to negotiate the best benefits and salary.

In addition, it helps to understand how to work with recruiters. And, for emotional support, it might be a good idea to know where to find a support group and/or job coach or “buddy” to work with.

Hopefully, this sequence makes it a little easier to confront the tasks you need to perform, and the sequence you need to perform them in, to begin the arduous work of finding your next job.
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