Essentials of the job search

Despite the slow economy,  people are finding jobs.

  • How do they do it?
  • What have they learned?
  • How can you benefit from their experience?

Getting the right job may remain challenging for some time. The good news is we’re witnessing more and more success stories and from them learning how to adapt yesterday’s job search methods to today’s needs.

We’re in these tough times together. We don’t know when the economy will turn around, nor how. What we do know is that the more knowledge we share, the faster people will find work. When we see what works today, we can use it again tomorrow.

How do they do it?

People who find work take a proactive approach. First, they identify their marketable strengths. Second, they target specific organizations and research them thoroughly. Third, they decide which specific problems facing those organizations they can help solve.

Then they network online and in person to find people with contacts inside the organizations they’ve selected. They meet with those contacts and explore both current and potential opportunities. Only then do they apply for specific positions.

People who find work are open to full-time, part-time, and temporary positions. They know that once inside an organization, their chances of getting hired full-time increase.

What have they learned?

The #1 thing they’ve learned is to use their time carefully.

Successful job seekers realize that applying to positions posted online means competing against hundreds and is often a dead end. They do check job boards and company web sites, but mostly to find out who’s hiring so they can follow up.

They have also learned to respect other people’s time and act in ways that demonstrate that respect.

They summarize their skills and what they’re looking for in 30 seconds. They answer interview questions concisely. They know to call someone a second time politely, if they haven’t heard back from a busy person in a week.

They have learned to manage the unique stress of looking for work.

Some meditate or play with their pets. Others listen to music or take long walks. One man vowed to exercise to the point of breaking a sweat every day until he found work, and he achieved both goals. Because people are making conscious efforts to stay healthy, they can remain focused, keep a sense of humor, and persevere.

How can you benefit from their experience?

Here are some things you can start doing today:

  1. Make a list of your strengths.
  2. Target potential employers.
  3. Network live and online.
  4. Demonstrate respect for people’s time in concrete ways.
  5. Prepare thoroughly for every call, meeting, and interview.
  6. Keep email and voicemails short and to the point.
  7. Find stress management activities you enjoy.
  8. Know that everyone is under pressure, appreciates upbeat people, and remembers how your presence made them feel.