Job Search is a full time job



Action Plan

In the past many jobs were for life. The employer took on an apprentice, trained them and looked after them. In return they expected a level of loyalty.

In the information technology era mobility has increased, employees seek new challengers and employers expand, contract and relocate resulting in workers changing jobs, industries or even careers several times over. This ongoing flux is known as "churn". This continuous churn of workers means that even in times of high unemployment rates or company cutbacks there are plenty of jobs open to you.

In a tight job market  there is more competition for fewer jobs and you don't have any real job security. So you face redundancy, you didn't see it happening. You have been laid off. You don't have three to six months worth of money in savings to cover you. And now you add the stress of finding the perfect job. Recognize that you'll likely experience the five steps of dealing with loss: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and finally, acceptance. Realize a termination is not the worst thing that could happen. Sometimes terminations are for not being the right fit. With the changing job market, getting fired is more common than you may think. Make it an opportunity, not a catastrophe. Realize you've gone through other life changes and made it through. You will this time, too.

Some employers may allow you time to use the company's telephone, post and e-mail to contact potential employers and send out CVs. They may also have arranged with the local Job Centre and third party organisation to help staff prepare their CVs and set them up for the task of job searching. If the company goes into receivership this will not be possible.

Check with the employer about the termination of benefits, such as medical plan, life insurance and the use of the company car. Find out about any redundancy payment due and payment in lieu of holiday entitlement. Ask your line manager for a letter of recommendation and if they are willing to be contacted directly for a reference.

Next register for any unemployment, housing and council tax benefits. These have been determined in law as your rights. Some of these may not start immediately but can not be back dated. The forms will take some time to complete and you will need to bring proof of all income, savings and bank statements. The various benefit sections are not interested in your debts and will not offset savings against debt repayment plans. Income for any member of your immediate family will be considered before deciding what benefits you may be entitled to. Besides some financial benefit there may be other benefits that could help you when you do return to work. Such as training grants, trial periods, clothing allowance and travel to work schemes and continuing benefits until you first get paid.

The temptation is to immediately broadcast to everyone and anyone that you are looking for work but without the planning and preparation to take advantage of any leads and at the expense of raising your stress level. Visit family members and close friends - reduce your stress and in a timely manner plan your strategy back into work.

Leave your worries, fears and anger at home - stay calm and focused. Looking for work is hard enough without becoming stressed over it. Use the skills you've already acquired on the job to make it easier. Most people have felt the pang of losing a job and the frustration in trying to find a new position. That's why it is important to properly plan the process and treat job hunting as a full-time job. 

Step 1 : Take stock of your life and skills.

Ask yourself some important questions before embarking on the next phase of your career.

  • Do I need to work full time?
  • Do I want to do the same kind of work?
  • Take a step back and evaluate your industry.
  • Is it time for me to think about a new career?
  • Do I want to start my own business?
  • How else might my skills be applied in this industry or others?
  • Do some research and find out the sectors that are hiring the most.
  • What is my income requirement and what is my risk tolerance?
  • What motivates me most about my work and where else can those motivations be satisfied?
  • What skills do I have that are of most value in the marketplace and how do I best package them?
  • What constraints do I have on travel (both distant and time), family commitments, etc.

Whilst it may seem that you are restricting the amount of potential companies, in fact it makes it easier to find that company. Once you know where you want to take your career, take steps to make it happen. Commit. No job search is easy. Network. Let people know you are looking for another job. Talk to former co-workers to see if they're willing to be a reference. During an interview, be honest about being fired, and keep it brief. Share how you've learned from the experience. Don't badmouth your former employer during an interview.

 All the energy that a job seeker used to put into the daily eight-to-five grind now needs to be harnessed and focused on finding that next great career opportunity. Utilizing basic abilities like organization, planning, and interpersonal skills will come in handy and make the job of looking for a new position just that much easier.

You are not obligated to stick in an unfulfilling job or be constrained to looking only for jobs similar to your immediate work experience. You have to maintain a positive attitude. You are in demand, a resource empowered to negotiate for a job that is satisfying in terms of compensation, social fulfilment and personal satisfaction.

Find out if you can get on a workshop or join a networking and support group.

Step 2 : Get organized and pull together all the resources available to you.

  • Work out your budgets. A budget allows you to see what your expenses are and where you might be able to make savings. How much money do you need to stay afloat during your job search process? When you apply for a vacancy consider the transportation costs, child care and other costs that taking this make incur. You should have a good idea about what you want and what you need before you begin to negotiate.

  • Think carefully about your new resume and covering letter. There will be lots of competition for new jobs that may be created in the next year or so, so it's important to highlight your quantitative accomplishments. You want to present yourself in the best way you can, and your resume should clearly show your ability to deliver results. Have others provide you feedback. Check for typological and spelling mistakes. Always include two to three sentences at the top of your resume that explain instantly to the reader what you offer and what you seek.
  • Each job you held has added to your skill profile. Solving new problems and developing skills makes you more qualified for your next, better job. Don't just make notes on job title, dates and addresses but also on what you actually did in the job. What were your responsibilities? What were your achievements and what skills gained can be transferrable to other jobs. Did you gain communication and team work skills? Did you have conflicts that you had to resolve? Not all of this goes down on your CV, but you may be asked leading and open ended questions at an interview. Besides your stock CV you may need versions tailored for different types of jobs that you are applying for. Likewise the covering letter needs to be strategically written for each job. There are no CVs and covering letters that guarantees you an interview for all the jobs that you apply for. Review the details of the vacancy and make sure your CV and covering letter high light how you match the job specification. Employers want to see what you have accomplished on the job. Add a specific achievement list to your resume. Describe the benefit that your employer gained from each item. That by itself should make your resume stand out from the crowd. Think of yourself as a mini profit-and-loss centre rather than just an employee. If you saved your previous employer money, then highlight it. Put together specific examples and be ready to rattle them off to a prospective employer.

    Remember, resumes are a valuable sales tool designed to accomplish one goal, and that is to get the interview.

  • Print a set of networking business cards and carry several with you.

  • Prioritised your contacts and create a call list of professional contacts with the aim of getting a face to face meeting that in turn leads to referrals and introductions to expand your network. 80 to 85 percent of employment comes through the hidden job market.

  • Make a list of internet job sites where you can look for openings is compiled. Get in touch with head hunters, agencies and staff bureaus, particularly those working in the region and business section you want to work in. Get in touch with head hunters who specialize in your field of expertise. Sign up for iProfiles and LinkedIn, apply to numerous agencies and sign up at staff bureaus.  Stay on your computer constantly going through various job search engines and career websites such as Job Centre Plus Jobsite, Monster to name a few. Don't just try one. Get on all of them.

  • Compile a list of companies where you might work. Research the names of managers so that your covering letter can be addressed to a named person.

  • Document your work to help keep track of what you have done, what you have committed to and what you need to follow up on.

Step 3: Prepare a personal business plan.

It helps to think of your job search as similar to starting a company, only the company is you. Your job now is to find one, taking into consideration what you would need to do if you were starting a company.

Focus on employment goals. Break your goals onto small steps. Outline daily, weekly and monthly actions, such as making five cold colds each day, meeting a former colleague or following up on previous applications. Visualise desired outcomes. Define what success looks like. As with any project lean on your team of family and friends. Get input from those close to you who can give you objective insights to the questions and options you are considering. Your job search should have a schedule and a delivery date. Within that time frame establish some milestones.  

If you in employment then set aside three hours per day for your job search. If you are unemployed this is your full time eight hours per day task. Plans are essential but you must remain flexible so you can respond to change when the opportunities arise. If you get a hot lead and an interview double your efforts to get more. If you can acquire additional offers you are then in a great negotiating position.

Plan for changes. Anticipate obstacles that make you revise your your plan. Don't become discouraged by the media's reporting on the economy. You are only looking for one job and the odds of that are better than gambling on the lottery.

Develop a positive mindset. Reinforce the positive by focusing on what you have to offer and the rewards that you will receive. Believe in yourself. The job seeker who gets hired is not always the most qualified but the one who made the best job-hunting effort. Deal with challenges constructively. Make cold calls and maintain records of who you contacted, what was said and include follow ups into your schedule. Once you apply take steps to minimise the chances of your resume disappearing into the waste paper bin. Invest time into finding an internal referral who'll help you get your resume in the right hands.

Apply to the voluntary sector which can provide additional work experience, new references as well as provide your expertise to worthwhile organisations. Participate in professional organisation, online forums and attend job fairs, review newspaper advertisements and trade publications.

It is your responsibly to review and execute your action plan.

Finally, don't forget to take care of yourself. It is critical that you feel good about yourself. If the job search is not going as you would like take some time off to do something that you can be proud of completing. That might be washing the car or digging the garden. Eat well, get plenty of rest, exercise and focus on building up the relationships in the marketplace that will ultimately help you get through the next phase of your life.



Last updated 12th November 2013