Ready to begin the job search, but unsure where to start? Employ these basic steps to organize your efforts and maximize your results. You will be employed in record time.
First, define your goal. How do you envision your career? What are your short-term and long-term goals? Carla Hunter founded Career Span, Inc., a career-coaching firm specializing in helping clients navigate the complex maze of today’s job market.
Hunter advises, “Today’s job seeker must have one goal: Be the solution to the employer’s problem and position yourself in a way you can demonstrate how you fit their gap.”
Next, consider the skills, knowledge, and personality traits essential or desirable for you to achieve your goal. Do you need additional training? How can you best highlight your strengths?
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Hunter recommends job seekers identify skills and knowledge critical to a role within a growing industry in your region. In Kentucky, she said these growing industries include professional and business services, leisure and hospitality, healthcare and manufacturing.
Third, prep your elevator pitch and rationale for your career goal using evidence of skills, knowledge, and personality traits desirable for the role.
For example, if you are seeking a role in sales, you might incorporate evidence of communication skills, sales strategy expertise and a competitive nature into your pitch. Be sure to incorporate this language into your résumé draft as appropriate. Ask a detail-oriented friend or trusted colleague to review your résumé draft. Focus on what is most relevant to your short-term and long-term goals as well as recent experience.
After that, start thinking of stories or instances demonstrating occasions in which you have displayed these skills, knowledge, and personality traits. Most interview questions will be behavioral based and will set you up to tell a story. For example, tell about a time you had to convince someone of something using data or share a time when you juggled multiple projects and how you prioritized your tasks. Having a few stories already in mind that revolve around skills related to the job will make the interview process more streamlined, and you will feel more confident in your responses.
Hunter says interview questions vary depending on company culture and preparation for identifying the best fit for the role. Behavioral-based questions are a good choice because past behavior is a primary indicator of future behavior. These types of questions allow employers to gain insight into a person’s work habits.
Next for the job search, consider geographic areas, industries of interest, position titles and a list of target companies. Most job searches involve applying to online job boards. Spend some time noticing how job titles differ online. For example, you will likely notice job titles vary within industries. The title of research analyst in one field may be described as data analyst in others. Hunter recommends a top 10 list of companies with emphasis on the highest five. This emphasis includes research and reaching out to professionals who work there.
Then, research appropriate salary ranges for the roles you have in mind. Use several reputable resources and look for themes. Highly recommended for salary research is Payscale.com or Salary.com. Hunter also recommends the Occupational Outlook Handbook online at Bls.gov and Glassdoor.com to research salary ranges.
From there, make a list of action items for your job search. How will you network into your target companies? Are there professional associations you can join? How many positions will you apply to each week? Each month?
Hunter says, “The clients I see land the offer they want have three commonalities: they are targeted, regarding where they want to work; they position themselves as the solution; and they are intentionally reaching out to others.”
Amanda Schagane serves as a career coach in the Gatton College of Business & Economics at UK. She is designated a Master Career Counselor by the National Career Development Association and has served as president for the Kentucky chapter of the organization. Join her on LinkedIn or email her at Amanda.Goldsmith@uky.edu.