Taking this stance can help you avoid being caught off guard with no safety net or Plan B should your employment situation change unexpectedly. It also will make you less likely to knee-jerk and immediately write off opportunities that may arise over the years. As the saying goes, “The best time to look for a new job is when you already have one.” Just because you’re relatively happy in your present job doesn’t mean that there might not be something better out there. From a practical standpoint, it’s wise never to become overly comfortable in what may become your “temporary” position. Always have a Plan B that you can activate quickly.
Be sure you have two items in top shape and ready to go at all times-your attitude and your resume.
Develop Your Strategy and Tactics
When you are first launching your job-search campaign, take a page out of the military playbook by thinking through your strategy and related tactics. Almost all successful projects are well planned. Sure, there are stories about someone’s best friend who got a job by slow dancing with an HR recruiter at a wedding, but these are flukes and not sustainable strategies in the long term.
Most people will spend more hours of their lives in their place of employment than at home with their loved ones, so you really want to think through your job and career.
Don’t wing it. Make sure you have a strategy BEFORE you start sending out resumes.
In the field of marketing, strategy consists of two components: targeting and positioning. When it comes to marketing yourself, targeting is the process of deciding which fields you want to consider and which organizations you want to approach for a job. Positioning refers to how you want to present yourself in order to maximize the opportunities of being hired by your target organizations.
Tactics are the actions, activities, and tasks that you must perform in order to achieve your strategic objectives. In this case, that means finding the job that you want. Here are some examples of tactics you may employ:
Writing articles about your areas of expertise
Posting blog entries Creating personal profiles on social networks Researching job boards to help you position yourself correctly Likewise, here are some strategic questions you must consider before beginning your job search:
What job types, companies, or industries are you planning to target?
What sources will you use to research other target organizations that might meet your job-hunting criteria? Which social networks will help you connect to people who can then help you contact key people in your target set of employers? Positioning:
What are the most effective ways of presenting yourself to your target organizations? What is your marketing message or, as it is sometimes known, your 30-second commercial or 60-second elevator pitch? How does your message to individuals in your social networks differ from the message that you present to prospective employers? That is, how do you present yourself to those who may recommend you to others who could ultimately give you a job?
Is your message targeted enough? Will you create different versions of your pitch to meet the needs of different companies that you target? How will you go about actually connecting to people on social networks? How will you use blogging to help you in marketing yourself? Will you become a blogger yourself or maybe comment on other peoples’ blogs? Will you create a video of your 30-second commercial or 60-second elevator pitch?
What will you do to monitor and manage your online reputation? Knowing the answers to questions like these before you start looking for a position will help save you time, money, and energy during your job search. Take the time to think through your strategies and tactics at the start of your job search, and you’ll save yourself a great deal of frustration along the way.
Although it’s a trite expression, remember that cliches often stick around because of their simple truth: Remember that those who fail don’t actually plan to fail-they simply fail to plan. Hence, adopting a new approach to job search as an ongoing exercise, will help you to be ready for any changes within your organization–as well as any changes you are ready to make.
Sherrie A. Madia, Ph.D. is an educator, author, and trainer. Her most recent books include The Social Media Survival Guide (Also available in Spanish), The Online Job Search Survival Guide, and S.E.R.I.A.L.PRENEURSHIP: The Secrets of Repeatable Business Success. She is frequently cited by the national media as an expert in social media. She is Director of Communications, External Affairs, and a Lecturer at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
To schedule an individual consultation or group workshop on online job-search, visit http://www.OnlineJobSearchBook.com.