So you’ve polished your resume and you’re ready to start looking for a new job. Maybe it’s been a while since your last job search, or maybe you’re looking for the first time. Regardless, a successful job search means having clear goals and effective strategies to achieve them. Here are some easy ways to jump start your job search for Spring.
Define Your Goals
What do you want to be when you grow up? It’s a good question to ask yourself whatever your age. As we grow older, we tend to push aside our childhood dreams for safer, more practical pursuits. But often those dreams are key to what makes us happy and successful.
Ok, at this point, maybe it’s unrealistic to think about becoming an astronaut or a prima ballerina (unless, of course, you’ve already prepared for those careers). But if you aren’t happy in your current job, it’s useful to reflect on why. We all know what we’re good at. How we shine. What makes us feel useful and accomplished.
Does your current job or career choice make the best use of your talents? Does it provide the kind of work environment or culture in which you thrive? Even if you aren’t prepared to take a trip to the moon, maybe you have skills that are applicable to a job in aerospace.
Knowing what you want helps with your big picture career strategy and simplifies your immediate job search.
Review Your Job Skills
With your resume in order, you can tailor and customize it to suit the job for which you are applying.
Ask yourself which skills, experience and character traits are valued by prospective employers in your field of interest. Play up your strengths and emphasize the qualities that identify you as an ideal candidate for the position.
If you’re just starting out or are lacking in relevant skills, consider taking classes, internships or volunteer positions.
Manage Your Online Presence
These days, it’s easy for employers to learn a lot more about you than where you’ve worked or gone to school. One Google Search can pull up pages of information that says more about you than any cover letter. So it’s important to make sure what they’re seeing represents the image you want to project.
Take a moment to check Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc. to make sure nothing objectionable turns up. If something does, remove it. Manage your account settings so that pictures of that drunken weekend in Vegas don’t become public domain.
Take Advantage of Technology
Conversely, use the Internet to find the right job and promote your brand: you. To begin with, make sure your LinkedIn page and/or online portfolio is up to date and presentable.
Second, avoid the slog of sifting through online job boards by having them come directly to you. When you sign up for job alerts, you receive daily emails alerting you to new job opportunities in your specified industry and location.
Third, maintain an active online presence. The best and most natural networking takes place when you’re not looking for a job. Be genuinely interested in others. Keep in touch with friends and nurture connections with a wide range of people.
Finally, don’t be afraid to pursue your professional or personal interests through sites like Pinterest, Tumblr, or Blogger. The more you can position yourself in an interesting light, the better. Just remember to be authentic. And always be aware of what your online identity says about you.
All of your time spent looking for a job won’t mean a thing unless you’re prepared for the next step. Anticipate the kinds of questions you might be asked in an interview and know how to answer them. Have a clear idea of your strengths and know how to showcase them through stories and examples.
And remember, a job search is not simply about convincing an employer to give you a job; it’s about finding the right fit professionally, for both you and the employer. So relax and enjoy the journey.