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The Reality Of The Ongoing Job Search: 4 Steps To Prepare

The following is a guest post by Melissa Cooley. Melissa is a career consultant specializing in resume writing, interview coaching and job search strategy.  She is also an approved career expert here at Tim’s Strategy™. Readers may remember Melissa’s great guest post from May 2011 called “Should Your Resume and LinkedIn profile be carbon copies?”.

“We were trained to finish our homework, our peas and our chores. Today, we’re never finished, and that’s okay.” ~Seth Godin, Dancing on the edge of finished

In his post, marketing expert and author Seth Godin was talking about the continual stream of work that awaits us. We’re never “done” with anything. There’s always more to be accomplished in the new day, and that’s just the reality of life in the modern world.

The exact same concept applies to job hunting. When a person who has been out of work is hired, it is often said that s/he “landed.” But that’s not a very accurate description anymore; rather, the person is “between migrations.”

Given the nature of the work environment today, careers that span 40 years with the same company are virtually extinct. There is much less loyalty from both companies and employees. Because of this shift, folks in all walks of life need to be prepared to move to a new job or career when it is necessary.

The problem, however, is that the general population’s thinking hasn’t shifted with this trend. As soon as people find new employment, they breathe a sigh of relief and say to themselves, “Thank goodness that’s over!”

But it’s not. This cycle repeats itself again and again in the lives of basically every working person. There’s nothing wrong with that, except for the fact that most people aren’t prepared for when the cycle repeats. They get caught with their proverbial pants down, panic because they don’t feel prepared, and throw their résumés and other materials together haphazardly to attempt to catch up with what is happening in their professional lives.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Here’s a four-step process to help you prepare for today’s ongoing job search:

1. Make the mental change. In many ways, this step is the hardest because you have to wrap your head around a new way of thinking. Job hunts are no longer episodic; they are ongoing. It’s just a matter of how active the job search is at any given point. Once you feel comfortable with this new paradigm, the rest makes perfect sense.

2. Keep a written record of your accomplishments. You need to do this very regularly, either as they happen or at the end of every week. Don’t try to tell yourself that you will remember your achievements when the time comes. You won’t, and then when you need them, you will be wracking your brains over what you have done and when it happened. It’s an agonizing process to try to come up with these details 2+ years after the fact. Trust me, I’ve seen enough job seekers do this, and it’s painful to watch.

3. Update your résumé. This should be done every six months to a year. To go longer than that, even with the record of accomplishments, it then becomes stressful to try to figure out how everything should fit in and what to cut. Doing this incrementally has more of an organic feel to it, plus it keeps you in touch with the subtle changes that may be happening with the focus of your career.

4. Network all the time. I’m not kidding here. Networking should happen every day, and it needs to be as natural as breathing to you. I’m not necessarily referring to formal events where everyone has a name tag and you are trying to figure out who to mingle with, though that is certainly a part of it. Also include networking on social media, at work, during informal gatherings, at volunteer experiences, and in various classes as part of your overall networking strategy.

The beauty of doing this is that the networking isn’t coming out of desperation. If you network constantly, you are making connections based on a shared industry or other mutual interests. Depending on the cycle of your career, this may very well have nothing to do with getting a job. You’re just creating new connections or deepening existing one. When the time then comes for your next job search, it won’t feel as awkward to talk with your network about it because you are touching base with them on a regular basis.

How prepared are you for the ongoing job search?

Melissa Cooley is a certified résumé writer and career consultant with a passion for helping clients reach their job hunt goals and maximize their career potential. Melissa also provides a fresh perspective and other resources for job hunting and career management on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. Melissa’s advice can be found on The Job Quest and Bottomless Briefcase. She is also a contributor to Nourish Your Career, a career book that brings together top tips from leading career professionals.

Thanks landrovermena for the great photo via Flickr.

Written by: Tim Tyrell-Smith
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Categories: Finding New Job

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