by Denise Felder
Your current job search might be one of the most important activities of your life. But it doesn’t have to be complicated. If you’re not getting desired results from your job search tasks, a review of the basics could help steer you in the right direction.
- Target Your Resume Toward the Job You Want. How do you know if your resume is good? Simple: If employers are calling you for interviews, your resume has the right stuff. If employers are calling you for the “wrong” type of jobs, or no employers are calling you, then get help to revise your resume. An employer should be able to look at your resume and know exactly the type of job you want. Don’t waste your time with a one-size-fits-all resume. Create different resumes for each career path you are pursuing.
- When an Employer Calls or E-Mails, Respond Immediately. It’s common courtesy for you to respond to every employer’s inquiry. If an employer calls or e-mails about a position that you don’t think you want, don’t ignore it. Call back to get more information about the job before you turn it down. Remember: Employers keep track of which job seekers they’ve contacted and when. If you ignore an employer once, you might not get another call for future positions.
- Ask For Help. Do you feel like you’re doing everything you can to find a job, but are not getting the results you want? It’s time to ask for suggestions and encouragement. Talk to other job seekers, your networking contacts, potential employers, and others who know about your chosen career path. Maybe there’s a simple fix to turn your job search around. You’ll never know unless you ask.
- Accept Every Opportunity to Interview. Every job interview has four purposes: 1) To be considered for a specific position; 2) To learn more about the company, the industry, and possibly find out about other positions; 3) To confirm which of your skills and experiences employers are most impressed with, and what technical skills you need to work on; and 4) To practice your interview skills. How do you develop good interview skills? Practice, practice, practice. If you get overly nervous in interviews, or don’t know how to “properly” answer interview questions, do mock interviews with a career advisor before you talk to employers.
- Understand that a Job Search Is More Like a Decathlon Than a Sprint. Your current job search is just one leg of your lifelong career. Pay attention to the things that you do (and don’t do) that could help you land a job quickly. Also pay attention to opportunities to advance your career further down the road. Each choice that you make — accepting a low-level job to get your foot in the door, volunteering to increase your skills, taking contract and freelance assignments to build your resume — will lead you closer to your goal of a fulfilling career.