Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Job Search A-Z

It's funny how things come together once you emerge from the cloud of activity....

I have been doing lots of opportunity-hunting these days and actually it has lead to a point where I am in salary negotiations with an employer. Kind of like the dating is over, we are just trying to figure out the wedding details!

Looking back on it, the job search has had three distinct phases for me, the discovery, the exploration, and the development. Here is a recap:

Phase 1 - the Discovery of jobs. This was filled with searching job boards, visiting job fairs, reading newspapers, and telling anyone who would hear that I was getting laid off. I talk to a lot of people & read a lot of job ads. I even went to a job fair and an out-of-town conference. The goal here was just to find jobs opportunities where employers were looking for a worker like me. It was all very exciting to hear about the different interesting jobs & very attractive organizations. In this phase, I did a lot of daydreaming about what a day in the job would be like. I had lots of promising conversations. However, I didn't just rush off and send in a resume.....

Phase 2 - the Exploration of a job. This phase consisted of reading and rereading the job advertisements, researching the web-sites, looking at employee profiles on linked-in, and talking to people involved with the job, the manager, and the organization. I talked to hiring managers, employees that worked there, and clients of the organization. I talked to hiring managers to see what they were looking for in a "right fit" for the job. I talked to employees about the specific hiring process and potential threats to my success getting the job. This brought my daydreaming down to reality as I discovered some of the barriers to my potential success and the less attractive features of the job, manager and/or organization started to show through, if there were some. However, I still did not just rush off and send in my resume........

Phase 3 - the Development (aka the Chase) of a job. This phase consisted of customizing my cover letter and resume, applying to the hiring manager and through the job board, following up with the hiring manager, interviews, and follow-up discussions. Again, I talked to a lot of people and specifically asked a lot of questions. I scrutinized the job advertisement for clues to what my application should contain & what the interview might be like. I went for an interview, and dealt with the positive or negative outcomes. This really shed a light on the pros and cons of the job, the manager, and the organization. This phase was a litmus test if I was right for the opportunity and if the opportunity was right for me. I didn't always get an interview and I didn't always succeed at the interview. But I took the search to its end.

So, when you see a great job or hear that a company might be hiring, make sure you go through the three phases. You will end up not applying for some jobs (time saver) and when you do apply, you will have a more dedicated strategy - and hopefully some measure of success.

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