The job search process can be a very anxious time, especially when you are too focused on the outcome. Of course, it is human nature to focus on outcomes, but unless you’re extremely lucky, finding your next job will the result of the steps you take. If you focus on the steps and are comfortable that you are taking ALL necessary steps, then you should feel comfortable that the result of finding a job is well within reach.
Step 1 – Build Your Brand
Start with identifying your key skills and then write them down. Common areas to consider: recent work/school projects, emails from coworkers, year-end evaluations, volunteer work…
Spend some time building your online brand. The key is to leverage your current online presence and then work on expanding it. Start with your personal email. Review your address list and send emails to those individuals who might be able to help you. Ask for job leads and summarize you key skills. If you have a Facebook account, leverage your Friends to help. If you have LinkedIn, reach out to your contacts for help. Use Twitter to Direct Message everyone who might be able to help.
-stayed tuned for an upcoming posting on “Online Brand”
Step 2 – Career Research
Now that you are comfortable with your key skills, you need to map them to specific job openings. Stay as broad as possible and consider companies, government agencies and non-profits as appropriate. Job boards can be valuable resources include the big ones like Monster.com, Careerbuilder, Idealist and Craigslist. Also consider local job boards and industry specific ones.
Step 3 – Networking
This is where the rubber meets the road. If you are looking for a job, it is important that EVERYONE who might be able to help you is aware. Reach out and touch somebody including: friends, friends of friends, recruiters, association members, volunteers you have worked with, friends at church, parents of your children’s’ friends… If you are not working now, try to find a volunteering opportunity to prevent any gaps in your resume.
Step 4 – Interview Prep
Good news!! Because of your brand, career research and networking, you have identified an opportunity (or several) and the company is interested in interviewing you.
Take time to review your key talents. Review all the times when you have demonstrated those talents. Re-research the company. Have they been in the press recently? Google the names of the individuals who will be interviewing you. Have they been in the news? Perhaps have a blog? Prepare for common interview questions, such as: What are your strengths? Weaknesses? Give me a summary of your background.
Step 5 – Interview: The Big Day
Be sure to walk into the room with confidence. Give a good strong handshake. Make sure you are dressed professionally. Remember to ask questions letting your curiosity guide the conversation. If possible, avoid salary conversations.
If you are interested in the job, make sure that you make it crystal clear to the interviewer.
Step 6 – The Art of the Offer
OK, you are almost there. After your interview, be sure to research your worth. What have you made on past jobs? Check online sites such as glassdoor.com.
Before you discuss a salary with potential employer, make sure you know the benefits. Do they offer health care insurance? 401K match? Vesting? Vacation pay? Sick leave? This will allow you to come up with an apples to apples comparison.
If possible, let the employer come up with the salary number. If you are asked for your salary requirement, give a range. If the salary offered is low, there is nothing wrong with asking if there is room for negotiation. If there is not room for negotiation on salary, ask if they can offer you a Sign On Bonus to make up the difference. At the end of the conversation, ask how much time the employer needs for you to make a decision.