Whether you are looking for your first job or your tenth, these tips will help you make the most of your next job search.
1. Career Planning
How do people decide what they want to do for a living? Some people know from the time they are very young that they want to follow a certain career path. Most of the time, things aren’t quite so well defined. Determining what you enjoy doing is often the first thing to look at when deciding on a career goal. Why? If you consider how long you will be working at this job, it ought to be something you like. Unfortunately, many people do not take the time to think through their likes and dislikes, goals, past successes, needs and so on. If you focus on what you enjoy and what you want to accomplish in life, you will be happier with your career path in the future.
Your resume has to truly stand out if you are going to get noticed. There are so many competitors in today's marketplace. How do you make your resume stand out? You MUST make every word count. Fortunately, you are writing about a subject you know very well YOU! The employer doesn’t read the resume from top to bottom. Your resume gets scanned. If you use active language, use the appropriate format and ensure your resume is error-free, you’ll be ahead of the majority of your competitors.
3. Cover letter
If you want to get an interview, you have to write a cover letter than creates so much interest in the eyes of the employer that they can’t help but call you for an interview to find out more. Yes, the cover letter leads to the resume and that leads (hopefully) to the interview, but what you write in the letter sets the stage for everything that follows. Inject enthusiasm, warmth and determination to succeed and the employer will be more likely to want to meet you.
4. Employer Research
When you can, tailor your resume and cover letter to the employer’s needs, goals and interests. Specifically, you will want to include information about the position you are seeking and how YOUR qualifications can satisfy the requirements of the position as well as fit into the organization as a team player. In the interview, you will also be much better prepared to adapt your answers to the employer’s expectations and the organizations goals.
5. First Impressions
From the type of paper you use to print your materials on to the way you shake a prospective employer’s hand, you are making an impression of one kind or another. Obviously, making a good impression is essential. It is almost impossible to overcome a negative first impression, so strive to create a positive imprint on the employer’s mind from the beginning. Quality materials, clothes that are free of wrinkles, cat hair, etc, and a positive attitude go a long way to impressing the employer.
Prepare for the interview. Practice answering the questions that employers are most likely to ask. When you are in the interview setting, it will be much easier to recall the answers and you will feel more confident. If you can find someone to role play with you, that’s even better. Being able to respond to each question in an appropriate way, providing clear examples of your skills and accomplishments, is the best way to ensure you are the candidate of choice for the job.
7. The Fit
If you have done your research on the employer, you will already have some idea of the kind of climate that exists in the organization. If they are conservative, you will need to determine if that is a good fit for you. If they are work-a-holics, then you have to decide if you are willing to work a lot of hours as well. Reading a job ad carefully can tell you a lot about a company, but sometimes it means reading between the lines. If nothing else, you will certainly get the clues you need during the interview. Make sure the fit is right so you are happy with your job.
You’ve made a great impression, aced the interview and like the organization. Now it is time to talk money. The employer will want to pay you as little as possible. You will want to make as much as possible. The goal is to reach a compromise. Do you know how much you are worth? Do you know how much a position like the one you’re taking should pay? If not, contact a competitor and ask them for a range and/or check the Bureau of Labor Statistics web site. Finding the right balance can be tricky, but having a good estimation of what the position should pay is a key element in negotiating a fair salary.
9. Accepting the offer
If an employer indicates to you that you are the person for the job and you have agreed on a salary figure, the next logical step is to get it all in writing. Some employers are more likely to do this than others. Smaller companies might not be accustomed to formal employment agreements or contracts, but it is in the best interest of both of you to write one out and sign it. Oral agreements are next to impossible to prove. If you’re told you get a company car at the interview, then do not get one later, you have nothing to fall back on if you do not have it in writing.
10. Last, but not least
You’ve started working at your new job. Everything is going great and you think you will be there until you retire. Whoa! Just in case that doesn’t happen, go ahead and prepare your resume NOW in case you need it later. The best time to work on your resume is when you don’t really need it. You aren’t pressured and you are free to take your time with it. It is also an excellent time since you are doing the work that you will be writing about. Everything is fresh in your mind and you are in a positive mood to write about it.
Following the advice in these ten tips will ensure you find success in your next job. Take the time to work through the process on step at a time and you will be well prepared for the journey ahead of you. Choosing a career and making the effort to achieve your goals is paramount in being happy and enjoying what you do. Best of luck in your career.
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