Saturday, December 2, 2006

The 10-Step Action Plan to Finding Your Next Job

The 10-Step Action Plan to Finding Your Next Job
by Melanie Winograd

Looking for a job sounds simple, but it can be a daunting task without a guide. Once you devise your plan and use it, keep it handy and ready to reactivate. Research shows that you will be back in the job market several times during your lifetime.

Use these 10 steps to guide you in your job search.

1. Assess career options based on determining your strengths, skills, and passions. This is the perfect time to determine if your goals are up to date and in alignment with what you love to do. Ask yourself questions. What provides meaning in my life? What are my core strengths and purpose? How does work fit into my vision for life?

2. Create a resume that encompasses your work experiences, training, and formal education. Start with an overall statement that describes you as if you were being introduced. Follow with your work experience, most current to your first job, list training classes and formal education. Always be completely truthful in this document.

3. Gather reference letters from former colleagues, mentors, trainers and supervisors. If you are new to the workforce, consider who you know who can create an accurate account of your work habits: for example, a college professor, the leader of a volunteer organization, or the director of the summer camp where you worked as a counselor.

4. Network. Everyone you know is your network. The more people who know you are looking, the more people there are who can ultimately refer you to a hidden job opening.

5. Research companies as potential employers. You read about this in step 4, but it is very important to know what types of companies best fit your requirements. Do you want to gain experience, have the ability to move up, and/or secure medical benefits? Learning more about what options are out there and how they match up against your requirements will ultimately help you through the negotiation state.

6. Search online job sources. Jobs are posted on the major job boards, corporate sites, industry associations, professional organizations, local sites and many, many more places.

7. Attend job fairs and networking events. Dress much as you would for an interview, take copies of your resume, business cards, and be prepared to answer what type of work you are seeking. If you are not sure, review step 1.

8. Practice interviewing. This is a critical skill where you discuss your strengths, perhaps also your weaknesses, your abilities and your related education and work experience. You will need to pose intelligent questions that you craft based on your research of the company, its customers, its services, and what real world problems it is in business to solve.

9. Prepare your interview clothes. Business attire, matching pieces, clean, and pressed will present you as a serious candidate. Polish your shoes, avoid heavy perfumes and colognes, and accessorize with restraint.

10. Send a brief, thoughtful thank you letter after the interview. Pick up a business card from the person who conducts the interview so you can address the letter with the correct name and title. This step alone will make you stand out since it is rarely done, but always appreciated.'s Career Coaches are ready to help you throughout this checklist! Use them to practice your interviews and write a STAND OUT resume. Start your research in our 'Research' section on our FREE Virtual Career Center. GO NOW to


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