Adding structure to your search will decrease the amount of time it takes to get the job you want and will organize your job search. You need to have a job-search system whether you are employed or unemployed, and even if you are not ready to move on to a new job right away. The system is the same whether you are looking for full- or part-time employment, consulting, casual, or contracting work. Why? Because searching for a job in a changing economy means you need to be constantly aware of the market, the opportunities inside and outside your present situation, and what you have to offer.
The time to become aware of your opportunities is not when you are under pressure to find a new job. Make sure you are always looking around, so you are not overwhelmed if and when the time comes to find a new job.
Choose Your Market
Your job search should start by choosing or targeting your job market. Select a city or town you’d be willing to work in, an industry, a company size, and a job or function within that industry. For example, you may want to be a Web Project Manager in a small company in Toronto. That’s your target market. Then it’s time to embark on the steps involved in looking for a job. There are resumes, cover letters, follow-up letters, and thank-you letters to compose. You need to network by contacting personal friends, colleagues, and executive search firms. You need to answer ads and constantly follow up. It is easy to lose sight of what is most important – be careful to keep your goal in mind.
Four Main Job Search Aspects
There are four main aspects of a job search. They are: targeting, getting interviews, interviewing, and following up. Every step of your job search develops from your targets, which lead to interviews and then to job offers (The wonderful words you are waiting for, “We would like to make you an offer”). Make sure you don’t accept just any offer. Learn to negotiate for a mutually beneficial offer. Many job searchers wonder how long their search will take.
Each phase of your search can vary significantly in length, depending on your needs and desires, as well as the number of available opportunities in your area. For example, selecting the area in which you want to work can be as simple as saying, “I want to be a sales associate in a large established store.” It could be as detailed as, “I want a management position in a growing new media business in any major city, where I can make decisions freely show my creativity and work with team players who are influential in their industry. The position needs to lead to advancement.”
It helps to be well-connected and to know people in hiring positions. It helps if you and the interviewer hit it off quickly. It would be nice if all job searches were like this, but in reality, they’re not. From beginning to end, your job search could take a few months. The average job hunt takes longer. Statistics show that professionals and middle managers take an average of five to six months, and sometimes longer. Career changers take longer. People currently employed usually take longer, because they often don’t have as much time to devote to their search. It is estimated that for every $10K you want to earn, your job search will take one month.
There are many reasons a job search can take longer than this. For example, you may not be clear about what you want, or what you want may not be practical. Maybe your goal is realistic, but there are no immediate openings. Maybe there are openings, but you don’t know where. Maybe you hear of an opportunity, but do not know the person in a position to hire you. Maybe you meet someone in a position to hire you, but the two of you don’t hit it off.
Dedicate plenty of time and energy to your job hunt if you seriously intend to find an appropriate position. A thorough search is so much work that the job you finally land will seem easy by comparison. On the other hand, job hunting is like any other skill: you’ll get better at it with practice. You’ll study the techniques, and you’ll learn more about what’s right for you. You’ll become aware of what’s happening in your chosen field, so that when you start a formal search it won’t take as long.