Finding Your Perfect Job - Step 1: Develop a Job Strategy

Step 1: Develop a Job Strategy

Looking for employment can be an extremely challenging and intimidating task. Let’s face it – finding work is a big exercise in marketing or branding yourself. Some of you may have been exposed to the basics of marketing in the past, either through past education or prior work experience. In selling a product to a specific target market, you must choose what your product will be, who your customer is, and how you will get your product into your customer’s hands. This research and planning to bring your product to ‘life’ is the same process that is used in your job search – except the product is you!

In preparing to look for work you must first decide what you are going to sell - recognizing those skills you possess (taking an inventory of your skills is discussed in the next step); who you are selling to - which employers you are targeting to find employment; and how you are going to get your product to the customer – which methods will ensure an employer knows about you.

The process of marketing is not easy. There is a lot of competition out there. If you hastily choose a product without giving it some thought, or send out marketing material without considering the target market, you will have wasted a lot of valuable time and money. Even worse, your product will not sell.

To apply this to your job search – if you do not give thought to what you are offering an employer, or if you don’t learn about the companies you’re marketing your talents to – then you will have wasted much time and effort. You must develop a ‘plan of attack’ to ensure that you are setting realistic goals for yourself, and following a clear direction. It is important to take the time to think about what you want, and then go after it!

Deciding what you want to do takes some real soul searching. If you think about jobs or tasks you did in the past that you liked, and those that you disliked, you will at least begin to have a broader picture of where your interests lie. Make a list of these likes and dislikes and update it frequently. There are no easy choices. Some of it will undoubtedly be hit and miss. The best thing to do is try as many different types of jobs as possible, so that you can realistically assess their merits. This is where the saying ‘you never know until you try’ has significant meaning.

Whatever you do, make a concentrated effort to think about your job choices now! Do some research using social media sites like LinkedIn and Facebook. Many companies now have pages on these sites, so you can view company information quickly and easily. If you remain conscious of your environment, and work to continually upgrade your job search skills, you will be able to set clear concise goals. This is half the battle to finding employment.

A job strategy does not have to be a formal document with every imaginable contingency. It can be as simple as mapping out a few past experiences which have allowed you to gain valuable skills, and listing some specific ideas as to how best utilize your job search efforts. If necessary, speak with a career counsellor to obtain assistance in this area.

Also don’t forget to tap into the hidden job market. What is the hidden job market? It is simply when a job opening exists, but hasn’t been advertised yet. This type of situation occurs within a company more often than not, as hiring managers sometimes wait a period of time to see if they can fill the position before launching a full-scale search.

Make a list, or maintain a database, of every resume you send, every phone call you make, and the name and title of everyone you talk to. Keep track of all those job websites you visited that you liked and were helpful. This will help you in your follow-up efforts, and allow you to closely monitor your progress. Do the planning now! It will save you time and frustration down the road.

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