Job Search Smarter - Not Harder

by Shalom, Debbie Monday, February 22, 2010
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You don’t need a Ph.D. to conduct a successful job search campaign. Achieving your career goals requires an organized strategy and disciplined approach. Below are six tips to help you SEARCH Smarter, Not Harder.

Sell your value. What makes you unique? How will your strengths, skills, and accomplishments solve prospective employers’ problems? Determine your Unique Value Proposition (UVP) and use this information as an integral part of your personal marketing plan. Consider every document (resume, biography, business card) or face to face meeting (networking, interview) as an opportunity to communicate your value and address strategic business needs.

Energize yourself. Searching for a job can be exhausting if you do not have a plan to reenergize yourself. Staying motivated and on task is easier when you develop a practical plan and stick to it. Arrange a daily schedule that is feasible and fits into your lifestyle. Determine how many days and hours a week you will invest in your search and create a document to track your progress.

Activate and build your network. A strong network can provide you with job leads and information to access the Hidden Job Market. Research shows that more than 60% of all jobs are found through networking. Everyone you know or meet and every situation you encounter is a genuine opportunity to grow your network. View every family member, social or business acquaintance as a potential member of your network.

Research your options. The internet is an excellent place to begin your research. If you want to know more about specific industries, average salaries, or educational requirements, visit sites such as www.bls.gov, www.salary.com, or www.hoovers.com. Employer’s web sites are another source of valuable information; there you can learn more about key decision makers, products, and services. If you want to speak to someone within a specific company, try searching for them on LinkedIn or Facebook.

Customize your job search strategies. You will increase your chances for success if you focus on personal preferences. Select two or three strategies that fit your personality and lifestyle and build your job search around them. If you like to meet new people, volunteer for an organization or apply for work at a temporary agency. If you are introverted or shy, contact others through social networking sites or alumni associations. Other job search channels you can try are job boards, networking groups, job fairs, and trade shows.

Harness your creativity. Market yourself with imagination. Five years ago, job applicants would print their resumes on colored paper to get an employer’s attention. Today, employers want to hire qualified applicants who know how to present their value. Producing project portfolios or video resumes are two original ways to showcase your candidacy.

Whichever method you choose, conduct your job search in an organized, targeted, and creative manner. It has been said, “Success is the end result of creativity and all of the hard work around it.”