Here is a starting check list of what may be involved in a Job search “job.” If you can suggest more, let me know. This is the condensed version. For the detailed version, click here.

Set career goals and job search strategy

  1. Understand what you would like and love to do and also what things you want to avoid doing in your career.
  2. Develop your long term career goals and understand why those are your goals
  3. Define the skills you need and skill gaps to achieve your 3 to 5 year career goal
  4. Define types of jobs you would like to have next and how each type would fit with your goals.
  5. Define detailed characteristics of your ideal next job
  6. Analyze your financial situation
  7. Define your plan A, B, and C and when will you implement each

Package yourself for your job search

  1. Ask people who have the job types you want
  2. Develop your story about your career goals, what job you want next and why, and why you are qualified
  3. Practice your story as often as possible in social situations
  4. Create a resume for each job type you are searching
  5. Build an online presence

Apply for jobs based on your career goals and plans

  1. Apply for jobs the usual way (e.g.,monster, hot jobs, craiglist, company website)
  2. Find creative ways to get your application in front of the hiring manager.
  3. Write tailored covered letter / resume for each job application.
  4. Practice mock interviews
  5. Research & prepare for job interviews
  6. Go to interviews – all of them even ones that may not be a great fit.
  7. Don’t wait for them to get back to you – be proactive
  8. Learn from your experiences

Network, network, network

  1. Tell everyone you know you are looking for a job – friends, contacts, even your hairdresser.
  2. Go to networking events (industry, function, alumni, job search, etc..)
  3. Ask for help – think of people in your life that may be better than you in doing job search and ask them for help to improve your skills.
  4. Follow up – If you meet people at events that could help you in some way, follow-up.
  5. Thank your contacts / friends for help – Amazing how many people forget that.

Make job search enjoyable – this is probably the hardest section

  1. Develop coping mechanism for “low” times – No response or negative response from companies is part of the nature of this “job.”
  2. Reward yourself – as you achieve milestones
  3. Have regular downtime – don’t do job search all the time. You will burn out fast.

Closing the Deal

  1. Learn how to evaluate jobs and companies to see if they are a good fit.
  2. Develop salary negotiation skills

As you can see, like any other job, there is plenty to do and lots of skills to develop. You can either do it reluctantly “kicking and screaming” or you can choose to take the reins and start mastering your job search skills – one step at a time. Good luck out there!

– Lei

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