Question: "How do I go about finding a new job?"
by Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D.
What's the most critical factor in finding a job? Having a job-search strategy -- and following it.
Besides having some sort of plan, the other key issue is having the tenacity to stick with it -- and adjust it as necessary -- for as long as it takes. There are no magic formulas or guarantees. Job-hunting is hard work, but the more you plan, and the more committed you are to finding a new job, the better your chances.
So, with that introduction, here are the 10 steps to finding a new job.
Step 1: Examine your life/career. Are you where you want to be in your career? How well does your current job and career path meet your life goals? Do you feel as though your life and career are in or out of balance? Be completely honest with yourself in answering these questions.
Step 2: Set career/job-search goals. Create a vision of where you see yourself in six months, in six years. Research careers, jobs, and employers. Be sure all your goals are realistic.
Step 3: Reconnect with/expand your network. Your network of personal contacts is the most powerful job-search tool under your control. Expand, build, strengthen your network.
Step 4: Upgrade your knowledge/skills. Employers want employees who have a set of what's termed "soft" skills, including communications (written and verbal), interpersonal, teamwork, problem-solving, analytical, and adaptability.
Step 5: Consider additional training/education. One of the best ways to improve your employability is to gain additional knowledge, training, or certification.
Step 6: Update/polish your resume. There are so many new rules of resume-writing, including different formats and versions, that you best spend a fair amount of time on this step. (See my Career Doctor Question 9 for more details.)
Step 7: Learn/refresh job-search techniques. Do you know how to generate job leads? How to use your network? You must stay current with the latest job-search techniques.
Step 8: Practice interviewing. One of the most overlooked areas of job-hunting is preparing and practicing for job interviews. Research the employer; practice answering common interview questions.
Step 9: Test your marketability. Job-hunting is all about marketing yourself to employers. Determine what makes you unique among all other job-seekers.
Step 10: Consider advancing internally. Don't always assume the best job opportunities are those waiting for you outside your current employer.
Get more details and resources on each step in this article: 10-Step Career Tune-Up.
This article is part of a series from The Career Doctor's Cures & Remedies to Quintessentially Perplexing Career and Job-Hunting Ailments. Read more.
See a list of all the most common college, career, and job questions -- and Dr. Hansen's solutions.
Who is the Career Doctor? Learn more, read his current career column, or browse the column archives when you visit the Career Doctor's homepage.
Dr. Randall S. Hansen is a nationally recognized career and job-search expert. He is founder of Quintessential Careers, one of the oldest and most comprehensive career development sites on the Web, as well CEO of EmpoweringSites.com. He is also founder of MyCollegeSuccessStory.com and EnhanceMyVocabulary.com. He is publisher of Quintessential Careers Press, including the Quintessential Careers electronic newsletter, QuintZine. Dr. Hansen is also a published author, with several books, chapters in books, and hundreds of articles. He's often quoted in the media and conducts empowering workshops around the country. Finally, Dr. Hansen is also an educator, having taught at the college level for more than 15 years. Visit his personal Website or reach him by email at randall(at)quintcareers.com. .
Questions about some of the terminology used in this article? Get more information (definitions and links) on key college, career, and job-search terms by going to our Job-Seeker's Glossary of Job-Hunting Terms.