Looking for a job is a job in and of itself. If a person is unemployed, he should be spending the same amount of time seeking employment as he would actually working the job. For most people in the United States, this means a 40-hour week.
Filling 40 hours each week with job-search activities may seem daunting. The key is to list the various tasks necessary for success and allot time to each task. A calendar with large spaces for writing in planned activities will help with this.
These are the tasks every job seeker must perform:
- Identifying Possible Employers
- Maintaining a Targeted Resume
- Making Contact to Follow Up a Resume
- Presenting a Professional Image
- Preparing for the Interview (more info)
- Performing the Interview
- Following Up After the Interview
- Identifying Possible Employers
If a job search has stalled, it is time to widen the field of prospects. Using a computer with internet access will assist the individual in finding leads.
One important strategy is to network. Write down every individual with whom you have worked or who may have information about possible openings. Organize the list and keep current contact information. Store this information in a separate file on the computer, labeled “Network.”
Many jobs never get advertised because employers prefer to hire someone they know rather than a stranger about whom they know very little. It feels safer. Those network contacts often know of openings that are not advertised, or can point to opportunities to make contact with employers not currently seeking new hires.
Employers who say they are not ready to hire are likely to have future openings. If they already know a suitable individual, they will be inclined to seek him out.
Maintaining a Targeted Resume
Hiring personnel are looking for people with specific qualifications. Especially in a competitive job market, they want to identify suitable applicants quickly so they can narrow down the field. The resume is an advertisement whose purpose is to secure an interview.
It is important that the resume be targeted to the particular employer. Generating a targeted resume for each prospective interview may seem overwhelming. Keep the job simple by maintaining computer files with the information to assemble in a professional manner.
The resume should be outstanding because of the information it carries regarding the prospective employee. It should look like a standard business document and be printed on high-quality white, off-white or very light grey paper.
Place your contact information at the top for easy reference. Organize information according to the most important issues from an employer’s point of view. You need:
- Name, address, telephone number, email address
- Experience in chronological order
- Accomplishments targeted to the job announcement
- Statement that references are available upon request
- On a separate page, place references targeted to the specific job announcement with current contact information.
Most of the information will remain the same on each resume. However, the accomplishments statement will be targeted to the job announcement. For each skill or quality requested on the job announcement, give an accomplishment that demonstrates the expertise.
Each section of the resume can be stored in a separate document on the computer so that a targeted resume can be assembled quickly and sent out. Use keywords gleaned from the job announcement so that a scanner can identify the resume sender as a good prospect.