PERSONAL APPRAISAL / CAREER EXPLORATION / CAREER INTERVIEW / JOB OFFER REVIEW / JOB SEARCHING / TO DO
EFFECTIVE JOB SEARCH STRATEGIES
On the next page you will identify specific jobs you are interested in researching and pursuing. Once you know more about a particular field or you want to explore career options, use the form on the following page to help you explore your options.
Step 1: Identify jobs that interest you and write the titles on the following page.
Step 2: Find out the salary range and necessary skills. Compare these to your financial needs and transferable skills.
Step 3: Identify the training experience you need to qualify for the positions you find interesting.
Step 4: Include your family members in your decisions.
Now that you have done a personal appraisal and some career exploration, you need to make some career decisions to provide direction for your job search. You need to establish realistic goals, then figure out the best way to achieve them. There are three types of goals:
• Short-range (6 months to 1 year)
• Intermediate-range (1 to 5 years)
• Long-range (5 to 10 years)
You may need to make realistic career goals for each time range. What you want to be doing in five years may not be feasible now, but you can work toward that goal. You may need to find a short-term, stopgap job before you can obtain the appropriate, long-term position you really want. You may need to obtain a position or training in the short-term in order to qualify for the long-term position you would like to pursue. You need to have some consistency between your short-term and long-term goals. Each job along the way should be a step toward your long-term goal. You have already started the process of personal appraisal. This is an important step in goal setting.
You might also want to refer to your individual transition plan from preseparation counseling.
It is difficult to make decisions about which goals to pursue if you do not know what your goals are or how you want your career to progress. Your goals must be SMART:
Specific Measurable Adaptable Realistic Trackable
1. Specific If your goal is not specific you may not have a firm idea of how to get that job. EXAMPLE: I want a good paying, daytime job so I can continue my education. This job goal is not specific enough to suggest where to start looking for this kind of employment. Your job search will not be focused. You may find a job, but it will probably not be the most appropriate one. EXAMPLE: I want a job in warehousing because I already have military experience doing this type of work. It needs to be part-time and at night so I can use my military education fund to attend school during the day which will enable me to change my career. The position must pay at least $7.00 per hour and have a minimum of pressure so I can concentrate on my studies. This employment goal is specific enough to suggest where to start looking for this kind of employment.
2. Measurable Make a realistic, daily/weekly time table. This allows you to measure whether or not you are consistent in your employment search efforts. EXAMPLE: I will contact 3 employers per day on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. On Monday and Friday, I will answer newspaper ads and send resumes. Setting up a time table avoids procrastination.
3. Adaptable Setting an employment goal is like using a road map with optional routes. If your search is not getting results, try an alternative route to your destination. EXAMPLE: I have been looking for a $9.00 per hour, part-time, evening warehouse job so I can go to school during the daytime. I have not had any results. I will begin looking for a $8.00 per hour, daytime warehouse job and will go to school during the evening. Change your search method if it is not working. If your search method is working stick with it. Remember: You can stick with your employment search method but change your employment preference, the wage you want, or the hours you will be available to work.
4. Realistic Make sure your employment goals are realistic for your personal needs, the local economy and the job market. Your goals may be appropriate for your current needs, but not realistic for the current economic situation. You may have to settle for a position with less pay, less benefits and less advancement because the position you need and want is not available in your local employment market. You may have to consider other work until you can move to an area that has the employment opportunities you want and need.
5. Trackable You need to be able to trace your steps in your search for appropriate employment. Keeping track of where you go, with whom you speak and the results of each contact is extremely important. If your search is not getting results, you need to be able to look specifically at your efforts in order to see if there is some element that is missing or needs to be added. You cannot improve what you cannot track. Now that we have demonstrated the SMART technique, write your own short-, intermediate- and long-range goals. Make them employment related. It is easiest to start with long-range goals and work backwards to short-range goals.
Schedule Your Time Think of looking for a job as a job. It requires planning and follow-through. At the beginning of each week, prepare a schedule with blocks of time for each type of activity (phone calls, reading ads, writing letters, etc.). Then, as the week progresses, make changes to allow time for interviews. Below is an example of a weekly schedule.
NOTE: Set time aside to enjoy your family and friends, and relax. The sample schedule below shows Friday afternoon and Saturday as time off. The advantage of a schedule is it allows you to plan and use your time most effectively. It helps you avoid saying things like: “I really wanted to, but…”; I just couldn’t find the time…”; or “I wish I had….” At the beginning of each week, plan for each type of activity. Then, when an employer gives you a time for an interview, you can rearrange your schedule to use your time efficiently. Looking for a work is a full-time job. Keep good records. Use office software to organize company and interview notes, schedules, resumes, etc. Get a calendar and keep it current. Your time is valuable and there is much to be done in finding the right job for you. Schedule carefully, balancing your needs. The Company Information Record and Job Search Log further in this section will help you record your job search efforts and your progress in pursuing specific jobs. Be sure to prioritize your time. Some tasks are more important than others. The method you use to keep track of your job search is not important, but keeping track of it is very important! The chart shown is designed for a separatee doing full-time job searching. You may want to use the sample chart provided, or you may want to develop your own system. However you decide to do it, make sure you do it well!
APPROACH THE JOB SEARCH PROCESS
Finding a job is hard work. It is a job in itself. You should treat it just like a job, and use every resource available, including friends, acquaintances, relatives, teachers and professors. When you speak with these contacts, ask them about where they work. Job Search Methods
Answer ads in:
• Local, state, national newspapers • Professional or trade journals Apply directly: • Job fairs • Private Industry Council
• Employers Contact local organizations
Hidden Job Market The hidden job market simply refers to the fact that most jobs are not advertised. Eighty percent of all positions are filled without employer advertising. These positions are filled by, or created for, candidates who come to an employer’s attention through recommendations from employees, referrals from trusted associates, recruiters, or direct contact with the candidate. Effective networking—using your contacts to connect with the employer’s contacts—is the key to the hidden job market. You need to become skilled at finding the hidden job market in order to have access to as many jobs as possible. Employers are constantly on the lookout for suitable candidates to replace departing, retiring, or inefficient workers; to work on new projects or to add expertise in a particular area. Employers often have an immediate need to fill a position (someone resigns, a contract is awarded, etc.). Employers review resumes on hand or interview a prospective employee before advertising. Making these connections requires diligence and hard work.
• Your transition office
• State Employment Services
• Private employment agencies
• School placement offices
• Civil Service Administration(for testing)
• Union hiring hall
• Chambers of commerce
Networking Getting people involved in your search is called networking. It means using personal contacts to get information about job leads and contacts. Regardless of the type of job you are looking for, building a network will help you tap into the hidden job market. You never know where the best job lead will come from. The figure below will help you to consider those people you should involve in your effort to find work. Start building your network by making a list of all the people you know. Do not limit the list to people who know the work you do. The people on this list are your primary contacts. They do not have to be people who know about possible job leads, they just might be people who know other people that have knowledge of job leads, occupational information, specific employer contacts, etc. Before you begin contacting the people on your list, decide what type of information you want from the contact. You may be looking for:
• information about a particular company, industry or line of work;
• a referral to someone who might be able to help you; or
• advice on conducting your job search.
In many cases, you will want to ask to set up a brief meeting with the person. It is not a job interview. . . but it may bring you a job lead. Always have plenty of resumes available.
If you feel awkward or embarrassed contacting people to ask for something,
• most people like helping other people;
• many people have been in your shoes and remember how hard it was; and
• some people will have a job opening, or know of one, and feel that fate brought you to them!
Begin your networking by calling the people on your list you can talk to most easily and work up to making the calls that are more stressful. You may have to force yourself to make the first few calls, but it does get easier with each call!
friends of friends * fellow military personnel parents of children’s friends close friends/ colleagues relatives teachers acquaintances immediate family military transition office former co-workers former employers spouse supervisor
RESEARCH COMPANIES One of the most critical elements but least used job search “tools” is researching companies. Most applicants think it is difficult to get information, or simply fail to see the value of the effort. Research is a good idea because:
1. You may get to know someone in the organization, and therefore have a personal contact.
2. If you have information about the company, you can do a better job of identifying transferable skills and matching those to the organization and the job.
3. You can ask questions in a job interview that are based on information few other applicants have. Researching a company can make you “look better” when compared to other candidates, because so few applicants do their homework.
The Internet is a critical element of successful job searching. Items you might want to research: company growth, city’s average salaries for field, annual reports, cost of living.
For example, if you wanted to find the ABC Company’s annual report for last year, you’d go to a search engine and do a “key word” search by typing in “ABC Company Annual Report.” The search engine will then generate a list of links to webpages that contain the key words you specified. The list of webpages is usually sorted by relevance, meaning that the ones at the top of the list are probably most closely related to what you’re looking for. There are plenty of reference materials available in libraries to give you information on a company. You can do the research yourself or ask the librarian for help. A professional librarian is trained to find information from a variety of sources, or to direct you to other resources available in the community. Your local public library may also have a special Business Reference Section, which collects additional information on businesses in the local area. This information generally tends to be more current than annual publications. In any case, the Reference Desk at any library is a good starting point for your research.
After you have done research, you may then call the company to get additional information. You should call to ask for information for two reasons. First, to request printed material about the organization such as an annual report or brochure.
Second, try to speak with someone about the job you want. “What to Say on the Phone.”