Got Job? Currently, a staggering 14.8 million Americans are out of work. That’s 9.6% of the eligible workforce. And according to the U.S. Department of Labor, that statistic is unlikely to change any time soon. If you’re one of those 14.8 million Americans currently searching for work, you need to make yourself standout from the pack and get yourself noticed. How do you do that? By following four time-tested, yet often overlooked strategies to energize your job search that will get you noticed by potential employers.
. The most important part of any journey is the beginning. And with a job search, that’s you. So why not take advantage of that information when looking for a job? Answers to some questions you need to know to effectively target your job search are:
*What are your strengths and weaknesses? Where do your primary skills lie, are they technical, administrative? Do you work best on your own, or as part of a collaborative team?
*What subjects interest you the most? Think about any previous jobs you’ve had. What excited you about those jobs? What bored you silly? What classes in college interested you the most? What hobbies do you have and enjoy?
*What kind of company do you want to work for? Big, small, established, just starting out, local, regional, or global? Do you want to work for government or private industry, for profit or non-profit companies?
*Where do you want to live? Do have any geographical preferences; where would you like to live? Are you free to relocate, or do you want to stay where you are? Can you commute; how far away from your job are you willing to live?
. Never base your job search exclusively on an ad; more often than not, you’ll be sorely disappointed. Instead, research the company or organization thoroughly before applying for a position.
*Attend job fairs. Your local unemployment office will hold regular job fairs that feature specific employers or employers from certain industries. Job fairs are the perfect place to learn not only about specific companies you may want to work for, but the industries you may be interested in as well.
*Research your current or desired field. Learn about current and expected trends, what’s hot and what isn’t. Find a copy of the Occupational Outlook Handbook published by the U.S. Department of Labor and read about the fields that interest you. Attend the meetings of local chapters of professional societies to get the scoop on what’s happening. Participate in chat rooms and speak to the people currently working in the fields you are interested in.
*Research the companies that you are interested in. The Internet is your friend, use it. If you don’t have access to the Internet, both your local library and employment office will have computers you can use to search the Web.
. How long you’ve been out of the job search market will determine on whether you need to update your current resume and cover letter or create a new job application package. In either case, take this opportunity to create concise, targeted job application materials that are specific to the industry, company, and/or position you are interested in.
. Create a portfolio. For technical professionals this might include proposals, presentations, letters of recommendation, Web sites, presentation graphics, slides of oral presentations, etc. Even if you aren’t a technical professional, you can still include letters of recommendation and other documents or media to show a prospective employer what you are capable of.
The current unemployment rate of 9.6% is unlikely to improve any time soon. Competing for jobs with hundreds, possibly thousands of candidates is difficult and often frustrating. While following the four strategies above to energize your job search won’t guarantee you a job, it will tremendously increase your odds of getting noticed and getting that elusive interview. After that, it’s up to you.