5 steps for an effective job search

Written on Feb 28, 2014

By preparing and organizing up front, you set the stage for positive outcomes in the future. Set yourself up for success in the job hunt by following these five practical tips.

Determine your career goals. Before you even begin looking for a job, it’s important to establish your career interests and goals. What gets you excited? What are your passions? What makes you happy? Identifying what you expect to gain and achieve through your career is the foundation for determining exactly what type of position you're interested in.

Perfect your resume and cover letter. You’ve established what you want out of a career, now it’s time to go after it. In order to do so, you need the proper tools. A strong cover letter and solid resume are two key tools that help get your foot in the door. Often times a candidate’s cover letter and resume alone are used to determine whether or not an interview will be granted. These are powerful documents that represent who you are, so it’s important to get them right. It’s a good idea to ask for help from a counselor, mentor or campus career center consultant to make sure your cover letter and resume are polished, professional and appropriate.

Find employers. Job opportunities are out there, you just have to find them. Talk to a career counselor on campus about your career goals and the type of company you want to work for. Search online job postings and upload your resume to websites for career seekers. Attend job fairs. Seek out job opportunities listed in newspapers, trade magazines or business journals. Directly call companies you want to work for to inquire if they are hiring. Make sure your family and friends know what kind of job you are looking for and ask them to keep an eye out for any leads. Social media is another way to find unadvertised job opportunities and alert others that you are seeking employment. Do your best to stick to the standards and goals you previously established as you explore and apply for jobs.

Keep track. Maintaining a detailed list of your job seeking activities will help you in the long run. To stay organized, create a spreadsheet with categories listing the positions you applied for, companies you’ve contacted, sites where you’ve posted your resume, etc. Not only will it be useful to have all of this information in the same place, it will also make the follow-up a lot easier.

Don’t give up. Keep plugging along and putting forth your best effort. Searching for a job can be tough, and even more challenging when the job market is difficult. Try not to get discouraged and remember that finding the right job often takes time. Stay focused and positive and the right career opportunity will come along.

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