Expert Panel

Focus on these things to succeed in Career Change / Job Search

Six Steps to Finding Your New Job


Starting your job search can be overwhelming whether you are looking for new opportunities, making a career change or seeking a promotion.  There are lots of resume tips, interview recommendations and other resources out there, but how do you know what type of job you should be looking for?  If you begin your job search with the mindset to first reinvent yourself, you may find your options for employment evolve into opportunities you would not have previously considered.  Here are Six Steps to Finding Your New Job.
Step One: Define what you are good at doing.
What skills do you excel in?  Do not base this list on what you want to do, or what you like to do, really take a good look at yourself and define what you are really good at.  Are you good on the phone?  Are you a good negotiator?  Are you a numbers person?  Are you good at solving problems?  Are you good at identifying problems?  Are you good at creating process efficiencies?  Are you good at managing people?  Are you good at leading others or following instruction?  Are you a good team player or leader?  Are you a self-starter or a quick learner?  Are you creative or good at following rules?  Are you a good listener?  Write down everything you are good at and follow it with an example or two in your career that defines why you think you are good at each skill.
Step Two: Define what you have experience doing.
What skills do you have experience with?  This list should include the items you would list on your resume.  Some examples include: Negotiating multimillion dollar contracts, setting up accounting systems, managing large groups of people, establishing quality control systems, developing efficient work flow systems, creating successful marketing campaigns.  Some of these skills may already be on your “good at” list, and that is ok.  The difference with this list is that it is specific to your job experience.  It helps you define yourself in comparison to others you may be competing with to get a job.  Once you create this list, follow each item with a description of your role in the skill.  Did you lead the activity or were you a member of a team?  What was the specific experience you had?
Step Three: Define the industries you have experience working with.
What industries have you worked in and what industries have you worked with?  You may have touched several industries if you worked for a company that sold products to other industries for example.  The industries that you touched through your customers are potential industries that you have experience with.  Document them and your association.  When you do your job hunt this exercise will guide you to areas you may not have considered looking at.  For example, if you worked in the fiberglass industry it may relate to having worked in the manufacturing sector.  If you worked in a call center you may consider opportunities in the broader service sector where your skills might translate very nicely.
Step Four: Define what type of move you are interested in.
Are you looking to move up the ladder in your current field, maintain your current position in a different industry or transfer to different company?  Are you interested in making a full career shift to a different type of work outside of your current background and training?  Are you interested in moving somewhere in particular or open to wherever the opportunity may be located?  Are you looking to transition now or what timeframe are you considering?  What pay range are you aiming for?  Are you considering starting your own business?  It is OK to list several options for your move, just be honest with yourself.
Step Five: Prioritize & Chart your opportunities.
Once you have completed steps one through four, rank each item in order of importance.  Starting with the highest-ranking items from each step, use this information to chart out your action plan.  You should be able to outline several opportunity channels to focus your job search.  Start looking at online job boards, researching companies located in the areas you are interested in, or industries you are interested in.  Proactively send your resume and introduction letter to target companies.  Contact recruiters who focus in your target industries or skill sets, and introduce yourself by explaining what you are interested in.  Use your network to open doors for you, maybe consider joining associations where you can meet people in your field that can point you to opportunities.  You may even consider sharing your job search chart with someone who can help you develop your resume. You should have enough information to talk in depth about yourself, so get started with confidence.
Step Six: Run to something that suits your needs.
Too often people run from their current job to anything that is available because they are either out of work or not happy with their current situation.  When you run away from something you may be walking into another environment that does not make you happy.  If you do your homework and self-evaluation, you will be in a position to run to something that suits your needs.  When you find positions that meet your criteria, look through the qualifications that they have listed.  You may need to take some classes or brush up on skills, but don’t be discouraged; finding the right job takes time.  Most companies will list their dream candidate, but the likelihood that anyone meets all the qualifications is very small.  Take a chance on jobs that match the criteria in your opportunity chart.
If you keep an open mind throughout this process, you will be surprised at how many avenues take you to your new job.


Is your job search local or national?