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Job-Search Basics
- by Nimish Thakkar, MS, MBA
Director and Résumé Consultant for ResumeCorner.com

Whether you are new to the job-market or a returning bee, the most challenging question that you will face is: Where do I start? The job-search strategies outlined in this guide will serve as a roadmap, if not a complete solution, for this all-important process. The guide is a result of days of research and serves as a comprehensive resource for all candidates seeking employment. Most of the resources outlined here are free (to the exception of a few).

Finding a new job should be considered – a full-time job in itself; the search demands the same degree of professionalism and dedication as a regular job. Our strategies will give you a head-start while embarking on this demanding process. Get your coffee mug, as we walk you through the essentials of a successful campaign.

CREATE A GAME PLAN

Staying focused is the most essential element of a successful job search campaign. Think of your job-search campaign as a marketing project, the difference being – you are the product/service that needs to be marketed. You need to convince potential employers that you are absolutely indispensable. As with any marketing project, you will begin with a game plan. Plan what you want to achieve, and how you intend to get there. A plan that is well thought, but not written will never be implemented. It is critical to put your ‘Plan of Action’ in writing.

An ideal game plan would involve the following steps:

Define your target market:

Analyze yourself. The analysis will help you in determining your target market. On determining your strengths, weaknesses, skills, qualifications, and achievements; write on a piece of paper – your career aspirations and goals. You may focus on two (or even three) target markets. If needed, you can get professional help to determine your aptitude; there are several career planning and assessment services available in the market. If you want a greater insight into different occupations, the following resources explore a variety of occupations: http://www.acinet.org/acinet/default.asp - This site is a part of America’s Job Bank Network and provides information on hundreds of occupations. http://www.bls.gov/oco/  - The site provides a wide range of information on different occupations

You are the best:

Convince yourself about your suitability for a particular job. Make a list of reasons that convince you about your competitiveness. Be persuasive! This is not the time to be humble. You will perform much better in an interview if you are prepared in advance. If you’ve just been laid off – be optimistic! Always think of it as the company’s loss. The organization’s management couldn’t handle the strains of a competitive economy. As an easy measure, they let go of an amazing talent like you. When you create a strong self-confidence, you will easily handle any challenge or strenuous situation. Always keep in touch with your past employers; they may be able to provide you with some very good contacts. If not, they could serve as an excellent reference. You may explore the following resources post-layoff: http://www.labor.state.ny.us/working_ny/finding_a_job/whatnext/toc.htm - a site by New York State Department of labor, provides information on survival after a layoff. http://www.layofflounge.com/ - career portal and information on innovative career networking events

Research background information:

You must thoroughly acquaint yourself with your industry. Before going for an interview, research all the details about your company. Find out the current salary norms and standards for the position. However, do not mention your salary requirements on a resume/cover letter. Knowing the salary range will give you a better understanding and the ability to answer challenging questions at a nerve-wracking interview.

Chart your roadmap:

Clearly define how you will get to your goal of finding a great job. When you drive from one place to another, you have a map to follow; don’t you? In the same way, you must create a map for your job search. Your map, in this case is not driving directions, but strategies (and their plan of implementation) that will get you to your destination. You must clearly outline the resources that need to be explored to reach your goals. These resources could include traditional (networking, newspaper ads, library, career center, newsletters/industry publications, government resources, recruitment firms, career fairs, cold calling) and online resources (online job boards, online newspapers, career resources, company websites, online job postings).

Maintain a schedule:

It is essential to be organized and maintain a schedule. Set aside times and days for specific tasks, such as resume maintenance, responding to newspaper ads, interviews, etc. While it is important to follow a schedule, be flexible enough to accommodate unforeseen tasks or emergencies, such as a long distance interviews, follow-up meetings, telephone interviews, career fairs, etc. Do not set unrealistic goals. Finding a job could be stressful; make sure you have enough time to play.

Implement:

What is the use of a plan that never goes into action? A lack of implementation may render the best strategies or resources – as a wasted effort. Remember to implement your plans accurately and efficiently.

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© ResumeCorner 2002, All Rights Reserved

Nimish Thakkar is the Founder/Director of ResumeCorner.com. ResumeCorner.com provides expert résumé-writing and career management solutions to job-seekers.

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