Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Beyond Job Boards: 6 Effective Job Search Strategies

With thousands of job boards available online today, it can be easy to limit your job search to only applying to jobs found online. However, the most effective job search incorporates a variety of strategies and time spent applying to positions found online should only be a small portion of your search. For increased job search success, consider incorporating these strategies into your job search.

1. Know Thy Self. To plan an effective job search it is time well spent to assess what you love, identifying your values, interests, personality, and passions. You’ll also want to take inventory of what you are good at, recognizing skills, abilities, strengths, and accomplishments. Finally, make sure to clarify your financial needs and lifestyle goals and ensure that occupations and industries of interest meet those goals through market research. When you know yourself and what you bring to a job you’ll be able to choose jobs that are good matches for you – which is a big WIN for you and the employer!

2. Target Your Job Search. Your job search will be more successful with a targeted approach instead of just “applying for anything”.
By following this targeted approach, your process will be more focused, networking becomes easier, and you will be more convincing in your interactions with hiring managers.

3. Develop Marketing Materials. As you are job searching, you want to create a brand, as you “sell yourself” to companies. You can market yourself effectively through a host of tools including your info-mercial, resumes and cover letters, portfolios, social media profiles, and eventually during your interview. WGU Career & Professional Development is here to help you craft and fine-tune your marketing materials!

4. Network. Networking often sounds a lot scarier than it is. Networking is simply exchanging information with individuals to enhance your career and job search. 
  • Identify your network including family, friends, former colleagues, neighbors and anyone who has connections or is a connection that relates back to your job search goals. Identify individuals who work for the companies you would like to work for and seek introductions to current and former employees so you can do research on the best way to get hired.
  • Utilize LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a professional social media site designed specifically for networking and is an essential tool to incorporate into your job search. Also, by choosing WGU, you are now part of an international network of WGU students and alumni. Make sure to join the Western Governors University Student and Alumni group on LinkedIn and to check out the careers of fellow WGU Night Owls.  
  • Join professional groups and associations. Make time to attend industry events, trainings, and other in-person opportunities to meet like-minded professionals.
  • Conduct informational interviews. An informational interview is a meeting in which a job seeker asks for career and industry advice from an individual who is working in an occupation or industry of interest.  The job seeker uses the interview to gather information on the field, to find employment leads, and expand their professional network. The key to remember is that during the informational interview, you are NOT asking for a job, but gathering information.
5. Manage Your Job Search. Manage your search by keeping track of the jobs you have applied for and the correspondence you have had with an employer.  Consider creating a folder in your email account for job searching, with emails you send and receive. You can also create a folder on your desktop to save job descriptions, cover letters, and resumes.  Creating an Excel spreadsheet can be a great way to keep track of the jobs you have applied to and the interactions you have had relating to different positions.

6. Follow- up. 
  • Keep track of dates that you submitted applications and if possible, follow-up on the application with a phone call or email one to two weeks later.
  • Utilize LinkedIn to identify hiring managers and recruiters. Invite them to connect and review your profile, reiterating your interest in the position to which you applied.
  • Say thank you to any individuals who provide information and assistance along the way whether it’s an employer, friend, or networking contact.
  • Keep your network updated on your progress. If you are contacted for an interview because a connection passed along your resume to the hiring manager, provide them with an update and definitely thank them for their efforts!
For additional individualized support in developing a strategic job search plan, please contact WGU Career & Professional Development! We look forward to working with you.

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