Jayne Mattson is Senior Vice President at Keystone Associates, a leading career management and transition services consulting firm in Boston. Mattson specializes in helping mid-to-senior level individuals in new career exploration, networking strategies and career decisions based on corporate culture fit.
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A new job typically does not magically fall from the sky into one’s lap. Finding a new job usually involves a great deal of research, networking, perseverance and creative thinking. But, the real secret to landing that next job is to be organized and methodical in your job (re)search. Developing a structured job search plan will keep you focused and motivated, helping you achieve your targeted goal of finding a new job while you are either employed or unemployed. Below are structured plans for both types of job seekers to implement into your job search.
If You Are Unemployed
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Since we know that looking for a new job is a full-time job, your new job title is “Job Seeker” and you need to structure your day for full-time work. This is a new job, therefore; you will need to learn from the career management experts what it will take for you to be successful.
Where Do You Begin Your Search?
Answer the question: What you are looking for in your next job? Think about what you want in your next position that you did not have in your past role? Develop a realistic job search plan with achievable milestones. Practice self-care by taking care of your emotional, physical and spiritual needs, which will give you the energy to do the work. The time, exertion and mental stamina needed for finding your next job can be long and stressful, so be patient. As Benjamin Franklin wisely stated, “He that can have patience can have what he will.”
How to Better Structure Your Day
Set the alarm clock for your regular wake up call for work or one hour later (you might need some extra sleep.) Maintain your regular morning routine … exercise, read the paper, take the kids to the bus stop, etc. It is important to your self-esteem to dress as if you were going to work; after all you are going to work: finding a job! Don't wear sweats or jeans because you never know who you might see, and you want to be able to present yourself with confidence. Go to your "office," the designated space at home just for you or office space at another venue, and use it daily to keep your day structured.
Develop a job search strategy by identifying how you will conduct your search using various methods, including online job listings, recruiters, career fairs, and by building relationships through your networks. Document everything you do: Who did you call and email, and when? What networking events have you attended? Who did you meet? What industry websites and job boards have you visited? Review your milestones each morning and evaluate what you are doing well and where you need to increase activity. Remember, the activity that will bring you closer to starting the first day at your new job is having between three to five face-to-face, informational meetings each week. Refrain from spending more than 15% of your time answering online job postings.
If You Are Employed
Since there are many components to a job search, identifying and measuring realistic milestones are very important to maintain your self-confidence and positive attitude during the long process. You might think it is easier to look for a new job while you have a job, since a potential employer might find you to be a more attractive candidate. However, looking for a new job while working is quite a challenge because a job search can feel like a full-time activity. Since you are already working full-time, think of it as your new part-time job. Remember, you are trying to stay under the radar of your manager’s watchful eye, and too much time away from the office can become suspicious. It is very important not to use company time to look for a new opportunity, as this would be taking advantage of the company that is currently employing you.
Where Do You Begin Your Search?
Really think about this question, and answer it as completely as possible: Why are you looking for a new job? Think about what you want in your next position that you are not getting in your current role. Develop a realistic job search plan with achievable milestones. Make sure that your references are informed that you are on the job hunt and ready to provide updated stellar reviews or you and your work. It is also important to keep your family informed, as it will affect your obligations and schedule for a period of time. It is stressful balancing looking for a new job while also working at your existing job, therefore, know that you are fortunate to currently have a job and that you will eventually find a new position.
How to Better Structure Your Day?
Get up earlier each day, so you can review your milestones and assess your progress and challenges. Check the online advertised job listings for openings at companies where you might have a connection. Using it as research tool is also useful because it helps you see what companies are looking for in qualified candidates. Send emails to trusted former colleagues to schedule face-to-face networking meetings before or after work or during lunch. Register to attend professional association meetings to learn more about what other people are doing and to assess your marketability. Bear in mind, the activity that will bring you closer to reaching your targeted date of employment is having three to five face-to-face informational meetings each week. Stay away from spending more than 15% of your time answering online job boards. Most importantly, send out thank you notes, and put in a $5 gift certificate for a cup of coffee with a handwritten note. This will leave a great impression with those you meet.
Anytime you are searching for a new job, it will be time consuming, stressful and often a soul-searching experience. Having a detailed, structured daily schedule will be vital to accomplishing your goal of happy employment. Good luck!
Social Media Job Listings
Every week we post a list of social media and web job opportunities. While we publish a huge range of job listings, we've selected some of the top social media job opportunities from the past two weeks to get you started. Happy hunting!
- Social Media Coordinator at Ultimate Fighting Championship in Las Vegas
- Online Senior Marketing Manager at Time in New York
- Senior PHP Developer and Project Manager at Upright Citizen's Brigade in New York
This story originally published on Mashable here.