The Concept of a Job Search Process

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As we've explained, a job search is not a series of random events. Rather, it is a series of connected events that together form the job search process. It is important to know the eight steps that go into that process:

1. Evaluating yourself

Know thyself. What skills and abilities can you offer a prospective employer? What do you enjoy doing? What are your strengths and weaknesses? What do you want to do?

2. Establishing your career objectives

Where do you want to be next year, three years, five years from now? What do you ultimately want to accomplish in your career and your life?

3. Creating a company target list

How to prepare a "Hit list" of potential employers researching them, matching their needs with your skills and starting your job search assault Preparing company information sheets and evaluating your chances.

4. Networking for success

Learning how to utilize every contact, every friend, every relative, and anyone else you can think of to break down the barriers facing any would be PR professional. How to organize your home office to keep track of your communications and stay on top of your job campaign.

5. Preparing your resume

How to encapsulate years of school and little actual work experience into a professional, selling resume. Learning when and how to use it.

6. Preparing cover letters

The many ordinary and the all too few extraordinary cover letters, the kind that land interviews and jobs.

7. Interviewing

How to make the interview process work for you from the first "hello" to the first day on the job.

8. Following up

Often overlooked, if s perhaps the most important part of the job search process.

We won't try to kid you it is a lot of work. To do it right, you have to get started early, probably quite a bit earlier than you'd planned. Frankly, we recommend beginning this process one full year prior to the day you plan to start work.

So if you're in college, the end of your junior year is the right time to begin your research and preparations. That should give you enough time during summer vacation to set up your files and begin your library research.

Whether you're in college or graduate school, one item may need to be planned even earlier allowing enough free time in your schedule of classes for interview preparations and appointments. Waiting until your senior year to "make some time" is already too late. Searching for a full time job is itself a full time job! Though you're naturally restricted by your schedule, it's not difficult to plan ahead and prepare for your upcoming job search. Try to leave at least a couple of free mornings or afternoons a week. A day or even two without classes is even better.

Otherwise, you'll find yourself, crazed and distracted, trying to prepare for an interview in the ten minute period between classes. Not the best way to make a first impression and certainly not the way you want to approach an important meeting.

The Self Evaluation Process

Learning about who you are, what you want to be, what you can be, are critical first steps in the job search process and, unfortunately, the ones most often ignored by job seekers everywhere, especially students eager to leave the ivy behind and plunge into the "real world." But avoiding this crucial self evaluation can hinder your progress and even damage some decent prospects.

Why? Because in order to land a job with a company at which you'll actually be happy, you need to be able to identify those firms and/or job descriptions that best match your own skills, likes, and strengths. The more you know about yourself, the more you'll bring to this process and the more accurate the (match ups." You'll be able to structure your presentation (resume, cover letter, interviews, follow up) to stress your most marketable skills and talents (and, dare we say it, conveniently avoid your weaknesses?). Later, you'll be able to evaluate potential employers and job offers on the basis of your own needs and desires. This spells the difference between waking up in the morning ready to enthusiastically tackle a new day of challenges and shutting off the alarm in the hopes the day (and your job) will just disappear.

The Value of a Second Opinion

There is a familiar misconception about the self evaluation process that gets in the way of many new job applicants the belief that it is a process which must be accomplished in isolation. Nothing could be further from the truth. Just because the family doctor tells you that you need an operation doesn't mean you run right off to the hospital. Prudence dictates that you check out the opinion with another physician. Getting such a "second opinion" someone else's, not just your own is a valuable practice throughout the job search process, as well.

So after you've completed reading all the features in this article, review them with a friend, relative, or parent just be sure it's someone who knows you well and cares about you. These second opinions may reveal some aspects of your self description on which you and the rest of the world differ. If s", discuss them, learn from them and, if necessary, change some conclusions. Should everyone concur with your self evaluation, you will be reassured that your choices are on target.
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