Build Your Strategy
Part of conducting a successful job search is having a well thought-out strategy. This includes:
1. Know Yourself
You are your greatest asset. Plan to market yourself so that employers will see how you will benefit their organization. What is it that makes you the best candidate for the job? Be prepared to tell an employer how you are different from other candidates. For example:
- Have you had the opportunity to work on a special project that relates in some way to the position you are seeking?
- How can you demonstrate what you did to meet the needs of the employer?
- How can you creatively link your past work experience together with your new LIS skill set to present a unique package of skills, abilities, and qualifications?
- Have you had the opportunity to travel and/or work abroad? Do you speak a language other than English? Think about how you can turn these into an accomplishment statement that demonstrates your cultural awareness, flexibility, global perspective, cross cultural communication skills, etc.
2. Have a Plan
Be able to articulate your goals and objectives to an employer and confidently explain why you are qualified for and want their specific job.” It makes good sense to be strategic and have back-up plans. Develop a clear Plan A, a Plan B and even a Plan C. This way you approach your job search in an open-minded, realistic, and prepared fashion. For back-up plans, consider:
- Are you willing to relocate for a position (even if for a short period of time)?
- Are you willing to lower your salary expectations for a job (for example, in order to gain greater experience)?
- Are you willing to work in a nonprofit, a government agency, or an educational or high tech environment when you had imagined working someplace else?
3. Know Where to Look
Successful job seekers are creative job seekers. Sending out a resume and waiting for a response is not an effective approach. Use a combination of job-hunting strategies for best results.
- Internet — Although the internet is a powerful job-hunting tool, it shouldn’t be your only job search resource since thousands of job seekers reply to advertisements posted online.
- Job search web sites — These provide a good overview of the visible job market, its activity, and current trends.
- Temporary employment agencies — These are a good strategy to use if you want to get your foot in the door of a specific organization or industry or if you are interested in trying out a particular career position. It can also help you gain some professional experience while you continue a targeted job hunt and can work well as a viable option in a slow economy.
- Direct employer contact — If you know the type of organization you are interested in, a direct approach may be effective. Persistence is the key when using this strategy. Ask questions such as, “How can I find out about future job openings with your company?” or “Where do you post your job listings?” This strategy involves being proactive, diligent and resourceful but not pushy or annoying. Also, you can often sign up to receive job alerts on the Careers or Employment section of your target employer’s website (and if not, check for a LinkedIn company presence, which will allow you to do this through LinkedIn).
- Listserves/email lists — Listserves, blogs, and email lists are generated by many sources including academic departments providing career information and job listings.
- Professional associations — Join and get involved in professional associations to network with people in your field and gain access to positions not posted to the public.
- Network — Establishing and reaching out to your personal network is the most successful job hunting strategy for tapping into the hidden job market. In this situation, your most helpful network contacts will be those who can provide you with relevant career information, have the power to hire you, or can introduce or refer you to another contact.
- Online social networking — There are a number of networking websites where you can make great professional contacts including LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. You can also use discussion opportunities such as blogs, listservs, and forums to network on the internet, make contacts, and find out about job postings.