Following a disciplined routine is important. Not having a job gives you a lot of free time. It can be hard to get motivated to get back out into the world to find work. There is an interesting saying that goes, "If you want something to get done, give it to a busy person." For some reason, when you don't have much going on, it's harder to get started on projects. It is easy to find a lot of time to waste either on the internet, TV, around town, etc. To curb this lethargy, hire yourself to find yourself a job. You need to be dressed and ready to start at 8am. This means you will need to get to bed at a reasonable hour and set your alarm for an early morning start. Treat your morning as if you are going to an office. Wake up early, take a shower, get dressed sharp, have some breakfast and start your job search. You should spend at least 2-4 hours minimum towards finding a job. You can always do more, but start off with this goal every day.
2. Searching for a job
Now that you are already to get down to business, you need to know where to start looking. There is a wide variety of places to start looking, but you need to start thinking differently from the masses to set yourself apart. Looking online is always the first place to start. You can get a few suggestions here. This is where the masses will go to find work as well. So now you have a crowd of people looking for only a few jobs. You must always be thinking to yourself, how do I set myself apart from the masses. This is harder to do online since you are a virtual person and not a real one where people can meet you. Find places that you think would be interesting to work in your surrounding area. Then show up in person to ask if they are hiring. You have done something very few people do. Every time I have seen someone show up at my office and dropping off a resume, I remember them, even today. It is a unique event because it is rare and impressive act. Dress sharp and bring your resume, ask to meet a manager. Make sure you have brushed up on your people skills to get a conversation going.
3. Tailor your pitch
Your work experience is written in a particular way on your resume. But each job position may require particular experiences. These may be experiences you have which are not emphasized on your resume. It is important to know as much about the job opportunity as possible. Everyone can see the job posting on a website, so you will need to find out more. Call up the company and ask them if they have any more information about the position. Find someone who may know something about the company, this is how you need to be creative. The more you know about the job position, the more you are setting yourself apart. With the information you have about the position, tailor your resume to emphasize the key skill sets an employer is looking for. You should have some direct or indirect experience in the area. Make sure to have this stand out in your resume when applying for that particular position. For example, if you weren't a formal manager but was more of a team leader, you could say, "Lead a team of x employees through the development of a project". You may have had a small part in the project, but for that small part, you did lead the effort.
4. Keep a log of all your job search communications
As you begin your job search, keep a log of your job searching activities. You will be applying to many different companies and making many different calls and emails. There will be responses of 'no', 'yes' or 'maybe'. There will also be a few 'call us in a few months from now to check back in' discussions. It's important to keep all these activities straight. Write down who you spoke with and what you spoke about. Use this in a a follow-up email so they remember who you are. I've made the mistake of sending a resume twice to the same person who already said no the first time. Not a good mistake, but as you go through the process you can get tangled with all the work that you have done. Keep this straight with meticulous records. Save these records after you find a job as they can act as a future network for other opportunities that may have been a better company or opportunity then the one that you settled on to get in the door.
5. Jobs are timing
Looking for the perfect job at the same time as that job becomes available is rarely in sync. Finding the ideal job relies on timing. Finding the ideal job could take time. If you can wait it out, there is a good chance that the company you want to get into will eventually have a position opened that you can interview for. It takes time and persistence to find these opportunities. Having a discussion with someone in the company and letting them know that you are interested in working for them will put you to the head of the interviewing line. Keep records of your discussion with the people you spoke with at the company (see #4) and tell them that you will check in with them in a month to see if there are any new developments. The company will already be aware of you when they are ready to post a job opening. You will still need to compete for the position, but this way, you will have a leg up on the competition since the company should already know about you. Again, this helps you in building a network as well. Companies need employees (obvious but needs reminding). Your early interest in working for a company will put you on the top of their list when looking for candidates to fill a position.
6. People Skills are important - Practice!
Any human interaction in the above steps will require a good set of people skills. Approaching someone who doesn't know you to get them to help you out is not an easy task. You need to make sure you practice up on your people skills so that when the opportunity presents itself you are ready for the task. Just as people lift weights and jog to exercise their muscles, you will need to exercise your people skills. People skills are not taught in schools but are critical to be successful in the interconnected world we live in. The better prepared you are, the better you will perform. Please consider taking a look at our books - especially our top seller 'Skill With People'. It's an easy read and the reviews are stellar. For the price of a sandwich, you will have all the training exercised and techniques you need to not only get the interview, but to help you become more successful in all parts of your life.
Next post will tell you how to Master the Interview. Stay tuned!