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What's Your Resolution?
Job seekers, let’s all get 2011 off to a great start with these 6 ideas for a successful job search. As we all know, a new year normally signifies change, the opportunity of change or the desire to change. People make resolutions to eat healthy, exercise, quit smoking, lose weight, or do something else to improve the quality of their lives. It’s equally common to consider a search for a new job or career.
If you are amongst the thousands of people who will continue to pound the pavement for work, you will need to re-equip and get armed with what will get you the desired result that you wish for quicker.
What is it about job hunting in 2011 that will make it different from any other year, you may ask. Well, there are far more qualified people looking for work now, Social Media has come into the midst of things, the Internet has made it easy for hiring managers to pick and choose candidates, and the need for a job seeker to stand out and be noticed is far more greater than ever before. So, if you want 2011 to be the year you embark on a fabulous career, it would help you to take a few steps to improve your chances and put you above competition. See: Be a Superstar Job Seeker
1. List whatyou want to accomplish and set deadlines.
When you feel relaxed, grab a paper and a pen, then think hard and come up with a list of challenging but ‘do-able’ job search accomplishments that you hope for in 2011. Not only that, also attach deadlines to the accomplishments. Keep your list where you can see it daily. The important thing for you is to make the list a ‘work in progress’ list. Each time you accomplish something on the list, tick it off and celebrate it. For instance, your list could be something as simple as this:
2011 Plan -
Map out skills Jan 4 to 5
Identify areas of improvements and derive a solution Jan 5
Enrol for part time studies, join clubs, professional bodies, volunteer work or acquire certification if necessary (investigate) Jan 5 – 6
Get another pair of eyes to check CV, analyse and make further tweaks, Jan 10 – 12
List potential employers: contacts, business, products etc. Jan 9 – 13
Get LinkedIn and Facebook accounts, join pertinent groups Jan 13 – 15
Get references for LinkedIn Profile from former colleagues/boss Jan 16 – 25
Apply for 3 – 4 targeted Jobs January 17 – 30
Start a blog based on your job interest – Jan 18
Get more connected (10 people) – network like there is no tomorrow. Jan 13 – Feb 20.
Attend interviews, apply for more targeted jobs in the interim Jan – March
Create Opportunities (what else?) – Feb to March.
Review and update list – April
2. Know your skills and what you want.
What are your attributes and skills? Have you charted them and documented them? Have you tied them to your past achievements? What are your proven abilities and can you showcase them successfully in front of a hiring manager? It is important that you know your skills and what they could be used for. What are you interested in? What is your ideal job? Reading any job adverts without knowing your skills or what you want to do is a waste of time. If you don’t know what you want to do, you won’t be able to convert any conversations into opportunities. No one can do the talking for you.
If you don’t know what you want to do, figure it out first. A Book titled What Color Is Your Parachute which has sold millions of copies will help you to figure out what you do best and what you want to do. Buy a used copy from Amazon or borrow from a friend or your local library.
You need to review yourresume or CV. If you looked for work in 2010, and received few or no interview call backs, perhaps your CV is not that up to scratch. So, pretend as if you have no CV prepared and start all over. Make your second job search resolution a complete resume makeover. If you have documented your skills and tied them to past achievements, it should not be too difficult to do a new CV.
This is stating the obvious; recruiters do not have enough time to read each CV from cover to cover. Remember the Three ‘P’s: - Professional - Punchy - Pertinent
Your CV must be informative and relevant, but punchy too, highlighting only relevant or important points. If your current CV is crammed with pages and pages of text, then edit it to a super two page CV.
What have you done that is noteworthy in the last year that should be added? Add any unpaid Charity Work done while you were unemployed to your CV, they all add up and your gained experiences should not be disregarded. Are there skills and positions that are too stale to keep listed? Remember that it is important to keep things current, for instance, if you are in IT, it’s important to stay current because trends change quickly. It’s nice that you can master HTML, but some companies will want to know if you can handle PHP.
When you look for a job without a list of possible employers you are targeting, you are at the mercy of the jobs you find advertised or stumble over in your networking. You may get lucky and end up with a good employer, and you may not. Why leave it to chance? Why not target the employers that you like to work for, follow them on Twitter, and fan them on Facebook. Know their products and follow their news. Investigate how and where they post jobs. You probably know the best employers in your location or industry. As long as you’re looking for a job anyway, why not target the best? If you don’t know the best employers, do some research to identify them. Ask friends, colleagues, your mentor and your network. Make the internet your friend and know .
If the target employers have jobs posted on their Websites, visit those job postings regularly. Sign up for e-mailed updates if you can.
Check LinkedIn, Ziggs, ZoomInfo, etc. to find people who work for those target employers. Do not be afraid to reach out to those people, and connect as this will help to expand your network further.
With interviews, the more thorough your preparation, the most likely your chance of being hired. Once you are invited for an interview, read the invitation letter carefully, be sure to check the day and time of the interview and the venue; make an electronic entry in your Outlook diary, a manual entry in your diary and do not rely on just your memory.
To further prepare, think about the following:
Who is going to interview you?
What kind of interview is it likely to be?
Are you expected to do any tests and, if so, what tests will they be?
Is there a job specification or outline, and do you have it?
If you do not know the answers to these questions, you should telephone the writer of your invitation letter and politely and ask for clarification. There is no harm in doing this; it only shows that you are proactive.
Research the company: If you apply for a job, you must investigate the company.
Review the job application: If you have a job specification, then read it carefully again. See if there any new points that were not apparent in the advertisement or were not covered in your original application.
Look to showcase your Skills or Prime Selling Points: Look at a copy of the CV sent to them, consider your skills that are linked to their requirements. Go through the evidences that will showcase the skills. Remember that the skills won you the interview.
Prepare questions and practice answers: It a brilliant idea to prepare a list of anticipated questions and suitable answers. Look at ways of turning the answers to further illustrate your skills.
An opening statement: Prepare the answers to this popular question:
‘Tell me something about yourself’. This is a very popular opening to an interview. The invitation often comes within seconds of your arrival in the interview room. Do not be caught unawares so that you do not provide a waffling or muffled response.
Your strengths: ‘What are your strengths?’ This is another popular, almost inevitable question. It may come in a variety of other guises, but they all mean the same thing. Using the information you have prepared regarding your skills, the answer should be obvious.
Possible ‘weaknesses’: There are both positive and negative aspects to any interview’s tactic. As expected, the first will explore your strengths to see why you are the right person for the job while the second will probe your weakness or areas of improvements to see if you are not a suitable candidate.
Your own questions for the hiring manager(s): Interviewers will always ask if you have questions for them. Create the right impression by preparing at least one question for them. Waste no further opportunities to promote your keenness at securing the job.
Leaving statement after the interview: It is important to prepare the scene for getting off the interview chair. Visualise gathering your belongings, rising with a smile, a firm handshake with a friendly but business like parting statement: ‘Thank you for your time. I have enjoyed the interview and feel that it is been very useful. It has increased my interest in the job and confirmed my ability to be of value to your company.’
With some practice and preparation, employment interviewing need not be a mystery or a horror. Ask a friend, a mentor or your partner to conduct a mock interview so that you can practice before the real thing.
6. You are not your work
A final resolution is to recognize that you are not your work. Your work is what you do. Feel good about yourself and remain optimistic and positive because this will show in how you present yourself to potential employers. While maintaining a positive attitude is vital to a successful job search, there will be times when you get discouraged. It may seem impossible to revive that positive energy level. But there are many things you can do to bring your good outlook back to life and keep it in good shape.
Use times of unemployment to explore other aspects of your life and world. Have you always wanted to go to a dancing class, start a blog or play music? Now is the time to start. Have you decided to make exercises and fitness a regular portion of your daily plan? Now is the time to establish good habits that you can keep when you are employed again. You won’t find a better time to do some interesting things that will support your new employment.
We take this opportunity to wish you a happy New Year and feel free to share your New Year resolution with us.