Finding work that you love, that also meets your financial needs, doesn't happen by accident. It requires a well-thought plan of action and an intense level of commitment.
According to April 2008 figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, the length of the typical job search is 16.9 weeks. Most job-seekers are not mentally, emotionally, or financially prepared for the hard realities of the current job market.
A dismal economy punctuated by the worse job loss in years has resulted in a volatile, intensely competitive job market. Published job ads can easily generate hundreds of resumes from desperate jobseekers.
Overwhelmed employers and recruiters sift through mountains of resumes trying to quickly eliminate candidates. The average resume getting just a 15-to-30 second review unless the candidate is able to capture the employer's attention. So what can you do to get noticed by potential employers and shorten the duration of your job search?
An ultra-competitive job market requires a winning strategy, thorough preparation, compelling marketing documents, and an intensified effort. Let's examine a five-point plan of action that can ignite your job search and give you an edge over your competition.
1.) Step one: an honest self-assessment. An honest self-assessment is the first step to finding work for which you are well-suited and that you will truly enjoy. Ask yourself: Where do my skills, strengths, and passion lie? What skills, education, or experience am I lacking? How can I fill skill gaps that could prevent me from qualifying for my ideal job?
Consider your skills and experience from the viewpoint of a potential employer. Identify opportunities for improvement and find ways to overcome problematic voids. Take a class at your local community college to learn a new software application. Volunteer to gain additional skills and experience.
2.) Step two: assess your ideal work situation. Review your past work, school and volunteer experiences. What did you like about each of your past positions? What tasks would you never consider doing again? What do you require from your work, emotionally and financially? What positions, companies, and industries fit your ideal work profile?
Having a clear vision of your ideal work situation will help you to focus your job search efforts. It may become necessary to take on work that you don't love to meet your immediate needs. Do not get discouraged. Simply use the information you've gathered to continue a part-time search for your ideal work situation.
3.) Step three: create a customized self-marketing plan. Getting noticed by potential employers requires an effective marketing strategy. You are the product and potential employers are your customers. Develop a comprehensive plan to target ideal companies.
Jobseekers often find it more comfortable to search for work using online job boards or by responding to want ads. But, it is typically advisable to incorporate strategies designed to access both the published and unpublished job market. Don't rely too heavily on any single strategy.