Job Search Success Factors
- 2009 1 Sep
You can become an "above average" job seeker by conducting a strategic job search in which you are focused, organized, and utilizing the best job search tactics. Some of the most important variables that impact how long it will take you to find a job are under your control. The following five factors can dramatically affect the length and success of a job search. Evaluate your approach to job searching. What are you are doing right? And, where can you improve, thus reducing the time it takes to once again be getting a paycheck?
Job Search Success Factors
1. Have a targeted job objective. Do you know specifically what you want to do? Can you state one or two job titles that are your job objectives? A job objective is a job title such as "administrative assistant" or "project manager," not "A position that allows me to use my organizational abilities and grow with the company."
Spend some time identifying your most marketable skills and experiences, and researching which types of job targets are the most viable. The O*NET database can be helpful in this process. Look up past job titles you have held, and take note of related jobs. This strategy can help you quickly expand your thinking about potential job targets.
2. If you need income quickly, aim for a position that is related to what you have done previously. People often think that unemployment is an opportunity to pursue their "dream job" (although they may be unsure just what that is). Whether or not you attempt to make a radical career transition depends on how quickly you need to be bringing in a paycheck. If you need to be employed within a few months, the better strategy is to find an interim job similar to what you have done previously to buy yourself the time to do more in-depth career planning. You don't have enough time or "mental space" to find your ideal job if you are pressured by unpaid bills.
3. Tailor your resume for each job target for which you are applying. Employers spend 30 seconds or less looking at a resume (particularly if they have received hundreds in response to an advertised position). A "general" resume is very ineffective and will hinder your job search. You have to do the work for them of showcasing the skills and experience you have that specifically qualifies you for a particular position.
4. Spend 75-80% of your job search time accessing the "hidden job market," and only 20-25% of your time utilizing the "advertised job market." Internet postings, newspaper classified listings, etc. make up the "advertised job market." Although there are a mind-boggling number of Internet postings, the advertised job market still represents only about 15-20% of available jobs. The vast majority of job seekers, however, use the advertised job market as their only source for finding job openings. Therefore, there is a huge amount of competition for a minority of the job openings
In contrast, the "hidden job market" consists of job openings that are not advertised. Strategies for accessing the hidden job market include using personal contacts and contacting employers directly to inquire about possible openings. Finding these openings takes more effort and initiative, but has been proven to be vastly more effective. A Harvard University study found that 75% of job hunters found their jobs through personal and employer contacts. (And of those, 44% had new positions created just for them!)
5. Develop a strong support system. Job searching can be stressful and challenging. When you have an increased amount of challenge in your life, you also need increased support. Support can come from encouraging friends and family members, your faith and spending consistent time with the Lord, physical exercise, "time outs" from job searching to do something fun, and from professional assistance. Take the initiative to create the support system that will work best for you!
September 1, 2009
Kevin Brennfleck and Kay Marie Brennfleck are the authors of Live Your Calling: A Practical Guide to Finding and Fulfilling Your Mission in Life. As National Certified Career Counselors and Life Calling Coaches, they are recognized experts in helping people identify their giftedness and find their purpose in life. If you are interested in career coaching and testing to discover work that fits your God-given design; or would like assistance with writing a powerful resume, interviewing effectively, finding job openings, or other aspects of a successful job search, you can schedule a free consultation session at www.ChristianCareerCenter.com.