Step 1: Take Inventory
Taking inventory refers to gaining
a good understanding of what you have to offer potential employers. It will help you later on when
you prepare resumes and cover letters, and as you network and go through job interviews. Your personal
inventory should include skills that relate to the jobs you are applying for, positive work traits
or habits, job experience, accomplishments, educational achievements, and any past recognition you
Step 2: Research and Plan
The research and planning
element entails getting to know your job market and environment. As you define your job market,
you begin to get a clearer picture of how your previous efforts in developing a skills inventory
fit into the overall picture. In this process, you’ll evaluate the status of your job market,
set a search objective for yourself, develop a strategy for your job search, define employer needs
and identify industry trends.
Step 3: Prepare Resumes
You may have noticed that
we said “resumes.” No single resume will work best for all jobs you apply for. Each
employer will be looking for their own particular preferences regarding skills, experience, job
knowledge, jargon, etc. Resume preparation is a critical part of the job search process. It entails
choosing a format, e.g., chronological vs. functional, making it concise and easy to read, passing
a “ten-second review,” and having a job-specific focus.
Step 4: Write Cover Letters
As is the case with
resumes, you will write more than one version of a cover letter. Your cover letters need to be focused
on the particular needs of the job and employer. A review of the job description or advertisement
will tell you what areas to emphasize in your cover letters. Be sure they are clear and concise.
Keep them short, focus on specific needs of the job, give them a “five-second review,”
and make them specific to the job title you are applying for.
Step 5: Network and Execute Your Search
Networking among friends
and professional associates is a critical part of a successful job search. Indeed, many jobs are
filled through networking that are never posted on the Internet or in newspapers. Networking opens
this hidden job market and expands your job search potential. As you begin networking, explore all
possible sources of contacts, be sure you provide them with your resume, offer a personal business
card, ask for referrals, and be sure you respect their time.
Step 6: Prep for Interviews
All of the previous steps
are ultimately designed to get you to the job interview stage. A successful interview depends largely
upon how well you prepare in advance. Interview preparation entails knowing what to expect, planning
for contingencies, assuring you’re prepared to make a good first impression, learning and
understanding what we call the “Four P’s” (Perception, Prediction, Preparation,
Step 7: Interview for the Job
Good interview preparation leads
to successful job interviews. That doesn’t mean you’ll always be selected over other
candidates. Sometimes, your competition will simply have more experience or better skills. Good
interviewing starts with preparation and practice. You must plan ahead to understand employer needs
and likely interview questions. It's important to present a positive first impression, demonstrate
your interest in the job, avoid displays of nervousness and show a professional demeanor.
Step 8: Negotiate
Eventually, a successful job
interview will lead to a job offer. When a job offer is extended to you, you may have an opportunity
to negotiate some of the terms and conditions of your employment. It is important to note, however,
that negotiation isn’t always an option. In some cases, and for some jobs, negotiation isn’t
appropriate. Part of negotiation strategy is knowing when negotiations are acceptable, and what
is negotiable. Knowledge of your profession and industry will help you understand what is acceptable
in this area.
The eight-step job
search process provides a general framework that gives the process some structure and predictability.
However; searching for a job is a dynamic process that requires flexibility and overlapping activities.
Each step can vary depending on your background and needs. An optimal job search requires that you
use the job search knowledge and tools provided here within the context of your unique situation
and career goals.
Eight Steps to Achieve Your Goal
Searching for a job is like taking on a new project. Like any other project, there are steps you can take that will help
assure its success. In effect, you become the project manager responsible for taking the proper steps to achieve your desired
To be successful in your job search, you must effectively manage the important elements of your job search project. The
Job Search eBook chapter on Starting The Job Search provides additional information about the steps found above.