If you want a job – and better yet a long-term career – understand what employers are looking for. They’re not looking for people, they’re looking for solutions.
So make sure you’re the solution to their problems. And then make sure they know it.
Here are some good hints on how to do that.
- Know what you want, and what you can do. Make a list of every skill you have – even if you don’t think it’s work-related. Skill at home repair can lead to a construction job. Coaching a kids’ sports team teaches leadership and management skills. Then figure out which skills are most attractive to an employer.
- Match your skills to your desired career – and employer. Do your research, not every company in the same industry has the same needs.
- Make a plan. If you know your skills – and your ultimate career goal – go step by step to make sure you can meet it. Maybe you need further training or education. Maybe you need investment capital to start a business. Make a list of all those needs and plan to fulfill them.
- Network. Network. Network. Ninety percent of all job openings are never advertised. So call friends, relatives, former co-workers, professors and classmates. Social networking sites like LinkedIn or Facebook can be extremely helpful. (But make sure you don’t put anything even faintly embarrassing on them.)
- Job hunting is a job, treat it like one. Spend a certain amount of time every day or every week sending out resumes, or networking, or making calls. The pay-off is delayed, but definitely worth it.
- Consider cold calls. It’s intimidating, but it’ll show a potential employer you’ve got the chutzpah to take action.
- Be flexible. Temp jobs, contract jobs and consulting can teach you skills and give you a chance to demonstrate your value. And even if that employer doesn’t work out, it gives you a chance to build contacts and expand your network.
- Get some help. Employment agencies, or CDO counselors, can be a great source of ideas and information. Support groups of other job seekers, friends and other people can give you ideas, help you stay focused, and provide critical support.
- Keep track. With nearly 80,000 job websites, countless tasks for each potential job, and as many contacts as you can befriend, it’s easy to lose track. So whether your records require a database or simple pen and paper, make sure you know where you stand with each potential job.
- Take care of yourself.Looking for work is stressful, even if you have a job. So make sure you can deal with it. Exercise regularly, even if it’s just a daily walk. Take a day off to have fun with friends or family. Keep in mind what you’re working for. Your improved physical and mental health will show up to employers.