January and February are by far the busiest months for a resume writer. My schedule is filled with folks up to the brim with New Year’s resolutions and career goals. Setting a goal is great – and an important first step to jump starting professional growth – but you should always back that goal up with a PLAN.
Though I realize this may sound simple and rather common sense, it doesn’t make it any less true. Make. A. Plan. Here are the steps that I advise my clients to take to seize control of their job search.
Step 1: Have a target. My favorite analogy is shooting a bow and arrow. While you can actually draw back and let an arrow loose, there is no way that you will hit ANYTHING unless you have a target. It is the same with a job search. It is critical that you know where you’d like to end up!
Step 2: Take a look at the market. If you are a professional sheep shearer, you will probably find that there are no jobs listed during the winter season, and that the best opportunities are in the spring. Think this is a silly example? Probably! But this doesn’t make the cyclical nature of sheep shearing in any less seasonal. This should really go without saying, but there need to be actual opportunities in your field for you to have a successful job search.
Step 3: Get your documents in order. So often, I’ve heard career professionals recommend that a job seeker write their resume and cover letter first before even looking online to see what’s out there. This couldn’t be more wrong! I’ve blogged extensively about resume writing, so please free to read some of my other posts, but the critical take away here is that you need a job target firmly in mind BEFORE you write.
Step 4: Customize your resume. I realize that you’ve already spent countless hours revamping your resume and probably don’t even want to look at it anymore, but now that you have opportunities identified, you need to make sure that your resume reflects the job ad. Use the same keywords and phrases you see online to get past the scanning software.
Step 5: Keep track of your job search activities. You probably track your performance on the job and make note of your work related activities, right? The same rule applies to your job search. You need to track each job that you apply to, so keep the job description, note who you’ve spoken to, and document the end result. Why? So you don’t apply to the same job or company multiple times and waste your precious time with duplication.
Step 6: Get ready for the interview. This is pretty much its own topic, but when your dream job comes knocking, you need to be ready! Research the company, its most recent innovations, and even the folks you think might be interviewing you. Bottom line? Be prepared.
Running the risk of sounding preachy, the most important part of how to do a successful job search / how to find a job is PREPARATION. As a leading resume writing service – I know that if you follow steps 1-6, you WILL be successful in finding your next dream job!