A Guide to Starting a Job Search Strategy

Although the latest news is the unemployment rate is improving, it would be smart to have a job search strategy. Searching for a job can be daunting and leave you feeling worn out. Here are some tips to get started.

Get organized : Create a schedule that fits into your lifestyle. Decide how many days/hours you want to invest in your search. Use a calendar, notepad, or your smart phone and write down your schedule. No matter the tool, the important thing is that you use it. Allow for breaks, days off, and other responsibilities. Get up, and get dressed for your “finding a job” job. Stay in the habit of maintaining the hours you did when you were employed. Maybe even take a walk before you start for the day to help clear your mind and get you pumped up.

Research : Find out what is going on in your specific industry/trade, and who are the company leaders of the competition. Learn what educational requirements are needed for a certain job. Visit employment websites, school websites and employer websites and/or subscribe to industry specific newsletters. Join groups in your social network that are on topic.

Network: Talk or write to people you know or ask them to introduce you to others. Build on an association; trade groups, other parents, church groups, neighbors, former co-workers, etc. Networking is a two-way street. As you ask people for help, expect to help them in return if you are asked. More than 60% of all jobs are found through networking, so however you do it, just do it. Wikepedia has a great list of social networking sites.

Prepare: Create a list of all your former employers. Include dates, address, phone numbers, a supervisor, and your salary. This is more in-depth than your resume and is only for your use (great tool when filling out employment applications). Make sure the information is still valid.
Know your statistics, list your awards and recognition you won; It is the belief of those hiring that you are competitive, so be ready to prove it! Update your resume. Have someone proofread it. Spelling and format counts. Go back 10-15 years of work history. Keep it simple. Use bullet points of your accomplishments. There are a lot of websites that can help you write a resume, including Monster or even the local EDD office.

Fit your strategy to your personality : If you like to meet new people; attend networking meetings. If you prefer a more subtle approach, contact people using email or chat groups. Try job boards, job fairs, industry events, employment agencies or just simply walking in.

Stay involved : Help your fellow unemployed start their job search strategy. This is just the beginning. Now the real work begins. If you are well prepared and organized, you will be ready to start your job search strategy and be on the road to your new career.

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