It’s been said that finding employment feels like a job in and of itself, and that can certainly be the case without having a measured and tactical approach in place. According to WebJunction, an online library forum and program of OCLC (global library cooperative), there are five stages in the job search process:
- Establishing career objectives
- Preparing job search tools
- Finding hiring companies
- The interview
Most often, job seekers don’t really know what they want to do or how to apply their skills and interests. Performing a self-assessment that includes identifying one’s personality, interests, abilities and career objectives; and researching various careers by type, industry and geography will significantly help the job seeker begin to narrow down job possibilities.
After creating and polishing the necessary job search tools (resume, cover letter, and references or letters of recommendation), the job seeker will want to focus his/her search and find suitable hiring companies by attending job fairs, attending conferences and seminars in field(s) of interest, and engaging in intentional career networking. Career networking, both online and face-to-face, is especially important, as it allows the job seeker to expand his/her personal rolodex. Indeed, it often boils down to “who you know.”
The last stage of the process, the interview, is arguably the most important. Here are a few helpful interview tips:
- Research the employer, hiring manager(s), and position well in advance of the interview
- Review common interview questions and prepare answers. Also make a list of questions to ask (about the position, company, etc.) during the interview.
- Be prepared. Remember to bring paper, pens, the resume, a list of references, a portfolio of work samples, etc. Also, turn off cell phones or put them on silent.
- Arrive on time! In fact, plan your schedule so that you arrive 10 to 15 minutes early.
- Make a strong first impression by dressing in a manner appropriate to the job, arriving early, and when greeting your interviewer stand, smile, make eye contact and offer a firm handshake.
- Be authentic, positive, focused, confident, concise and honest. Provide solid examples of solutions and accomplishments, but keep responses to interview questions succinct. Never badmouth a previous employer, boss or coworker.
- Remember the importance of body language – no slouching, looking off in the distance, chewing gum, mumbling, etc.
After the interview, it is imperative to thank the interviewer(s) for their time. The job seeker will also want to follow up the same or next day with an email or handwritten note (the choice between the two is dependent upon the characteristics of the company and position). There are a multitude of sources online that cover tips for and samples of writing thank-you messages.
Best of luck in the search, job seekers!