How to Improve Your Job Search

You need to have a prepared plan and be organized throughout the process.

Did you know that job searching is a lot like working a full time job? It takes a coordinated effort to plan out your steps. From updating your cover letter and resume to fit specific jobs to changing your resume to match key words in the job description, there are several moving parts and these are just a couple.

How do you get started? What do you mean a prepared plan is needed? Let us start with why you need a plan. When you decide to start searching for a job, how do you decide where to apply? How do you pick which job or which types of jobs to apply for? You should be starting to see a trend here. How much time and thought do you put into your job search? Do you think about your long-term happiness or just that it pays enough to pay your bills? Will your personality mesh with the team while doing what is required? I can go on and on here. This is why creating a strategic plan prior to beginning your job search is so important.

Where do you begin when creating this plan? Personally, I want to make sure that both my personal and professional needs are met in this role. What are my personal needs? Income is the top one that comes to mind. Benefits is another one. I need to ensure that I have health care, dental, vision, and 401k with this job. These are my default benefits meaning that if the employer doesn’t offer these then I will not even apply. It is important that you know what you need personally prior to applying to any job. Don’t forget about vacation and sick time.

Professionally, I want to ensure that my experience and skill set align with what is required in this job. I do not want to be walking on eggshells during my time with this employer being afraid that I will get fired because I don’t know what I am doing. It is important that you are setting yourself up for success. How often do you see people in positions where they do not belong? The waiter who lacks people skills and the cashier who is not a people person. You must pick jobs where your skills align. It is important that if you are not a people person not to seek jobs that put you in a position that requires for you to work with the public. Now, let’s be honest. Some people do not want to work hard while others prefer it. So why not choose a job where you are doing the type of work that meets your needs. This must be considered when selecting which jobs to apply.

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Other things to consider are location, hours of operation, holidays, overtime, and advancement opportunities. Some people are okay with long commutes. I am not okay with working too far from home. That is unpaid time that takes me away from doing things that I would rather do. Hours of operation are important too. Most people would prefer a Monday through Friday, 9 am to 5 pm schedule. Most people would rather have weekends off, but there are a lot of people who need to work on the weekend or work nights because of their personal situation. You need to know what you are available to work and what you are not. Some people prefer to work holidays while others do not. Having the opportunity to work overtime and make additional income is another factor to remember. If this is something that you need or desire, then this is something that you need to plan for. Not everyone wants to be promoted or take on more responsibilities; however, this may be important for many individuals.

I want to address something that is frequently overlooked. I mentioned that being aware of the hours that you are available to work, but I want to acknowledge family and children. I know that it is hard to find a job that will allow for you to work around family needs and activities, but it is easier when you plan for it. Adding this to your list is important on so many levels. It is not just about you when it comes to your job when you have a family at home. Please be considerate of this fact. Another factor that you want to plan for is work/life balance. A lot of employers will advertise this as a draw to get you to apply, but you must know what you need that will truly allow for you to have work/life balance.

How can I use this information when I actually start looking for jobs to apply? Having this plan will allow for you to apply special filters when utilizing job sites. Once you identify specific employers that you are interested in applying, then you can further research them by going to Glassdoor.com and going on to LinkedIn.com to review pay ranges, benefits offered, employer reviews, and more. Now that you have selected employers that meet your needs and that you want to apply. Next, you can probe the recruiters and hiring managers deeper with more of your concerns. Employers respect the applicant more when they have done their homework and have a real desire to work for them. This helps them to identify an employee who wants to work there and most likely will be a long-term employee. Everyone wants to be wanted, from the employer to the employee, so finding a match is the goal of both.

In conclusion, we covered a lot of good points to improve your job search. Self-reflection is vital for you to really look within and think through what you need both personally and professionally. Planning to look for jobs that meet all of those needs from income, benefits, location, schedule, level of challenge, match your skill set, offer overtime, and provide advancement opportunities are all things that you need to know prior to applying.

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