Sunday, October 26, 2008

Stop Muddling Through Your Job Search - Get Focused!

I overheard a conversation on the train recently. One jobseeker was explaining to another rider how hard it has been to find a new job. From what I could tell, both were employed, but one was clearly more frustrated with her job than the other. It sounded like the more frustrated of the two was actually looking very hard for a new job. She recounted her experience at a recent job fair where she handed out many resumes to several companies.

When she was asked what kind of job she was looking for, she said, "Anything really."

I am not sure she realized just how much of a negative effect that lack of clarity and focus would have on her job search.

An effective job search strategy must begin with an acknowledgement of what is possible for one's ideal job. I am not talking here about "dream jobs". I am at least talking about knowing the basics like:

- Industry preference - retail? healthcare? education? banking?
- Type of work - administrative? call center? customer service? sales?
- Job skills you want to use - supervisory? training? writing?

I know that job seekers sometimes get desperate in the job search and think that they should expand their options. Many feel that if they limit their needs they are limiting the options. On the contrary, if you have no sense of what you want, you will show no passion in the search and employers will see that.

Muddling through the job search by applying for any and everything rather than focusing on your preferences, can make your search way more frustrating than it has to be.

Think about how much more impressive the job seeker could have been had she said, "I am looking for something in retail, where I can use my customer service skills. I really like training people so something where I get to do that would be important to me also."

The person hearing that information is much more likely to remember you when they come across a potential opportunity for you. Saying you will take "Anything", doesn't demonstrate lot of confidence and makes you forgettable.

Know what you want and stay focused by working towards the outcomes you want.

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