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4 Critical Foundations For A Successful Job Search

Critical, Foundations, Successful Job Search, networking, resume, business card, technologySo you’ve recently been laid off or, since the economy is improving, you are thinking of moving on.

So what do you do?

Polish up your resume and start applying to every job that is remotely similar to anything you’ve ever done…

Call up everyone you know and ask them if they know of any jobs…OR

Step back and assess how well prepared you are to undertake a job search

This is a guest post by Sharon Hamersley.

This article focuses on getting you prepared in four key areas of job search:

  • Technology
  • Organization
  • Material
  • People

Let’s look at technology first. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Is your computer protected from viruses and malware? This seems so basic that you may wonder why I’m asking. But job search will surely be put on hold if your computer becomes infected. You risk sending out infected files and making yourself very unpopular.
  • How are your documents backed up, or are they? There are many options. Figure out what works best for you and fits your budget.
  • What e-mail address are you using? Is your user name professional? Now might be a great time to create an account that has a professional user name and is used only for job search.
  • What does your outgoing voice mail message sound like? Call and listen. If you don’t like it, change it.

Next is organization. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Where are you going to work on job search? (Hopefully not at work if you are employed!) Create a dedicated work space for your computer and any files you need to manage. If you live with others, make it clear that they are not to touch this.
  • What organizational system are you using to track activities? Outlook works fine, or for that matter an Excel spreadsheet or a physical planner. The focus is on recording everything you do – applications sent, interviews/networking events attended, follow-ups, everything!

What about your materials? Here are some items you need to consider:

  • A professional business card is an absolute must. The FlashCard™ template is a great place to start. Always carry your business cards, as you never know when opportunity will present itself.
  • When did you last update your resume? Now is the time. If possible, get professional help. It may seem expensive, but you will avoid the cost of being overlooked for positions because your resume does not draw the reviewer in.
  • Do you have an “elevator speech” written out, practiced, and ready to go? The Tim’s Strategy blog has many ideas and tools to develop this, or you can use the BigPitch™ tool.
  • Is your interviewing wardrobe up-to-date? Does everything still fit? If money is an issue, great outfits can be obtained at minimal cost at second-hand shops. You only get one chance to make a personal impression.

And now for the most important foundation of job search: people! Ask yourself the following:

  • Who are my references? Would they know what to say if a potential employer contacted them? How familiar are they with my work?
  • Which local professional organizations am I a member of? Although membership fees can be steep, this is an investment in your visibility and a chance to connect with others who share your passion for what you do. Some organizations offer reduced fees for membership and event attendance if you volunteer.
  • How complete is my LinkedIn profile? (Actually this is a subject that really requires a whole new blog article!) Suffice it to say that being visible and connected on LinkedIn is today’s best way to connect to those who can help you find that next opportunity.

If all of this sounds like a lot of work, it is. However, it will be a lot more work to find a job if you do not lay a proper foundation in these four critical areas.

Thanks riekhavoc for the photo via flickr

Written by: Sharon Hamersley
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Categories: Finding New Job

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