The beginning of the year is a great time to dust off your resume and look for a job that matches your skills and personality traits. Before you start your job search, take some time to review your professional goals and determine the best way to reach them. Then, follow these tips to find a rewarding job that pays well and gives you opportunities to advance your career.
1. Identify a Goal
All goals should be specific and measurable, so it's not enough to say "I want to find a job." Before you start your job search, review your priorities and set a goal that is easy to measure. If your employer pays below market rate for the work you do, for example, your goal might be to find a job that pays 10 percent more than you currently make.
2. Set Deadlines
It's easy to get distracted from your job search if you don't have a way to stay on track. Every time you start a new task, give yourself a deadline. If you are doing something easy, such as tweaking an existing cover letter, you might only need 20 or 30 minutes. If you plan to apply for several jobs, give yourself at least two or three hours to complete the task.
3. Work as a Team
Make your job search more fun by partnering with someone you trust. It's much easier to practice your interviewing skills if you have someone to ask questions and give feedback on your answers. Also, if you don't get the job you really want, it's nice to have a partner to provide encouragement and emotional support.
4. Get Organized
Being organized reduces the amount of time it takes you to apply for each job. It can also prevent embarrassing mistakes, such as applying for the same job twice or sending the wrong cover letter to a potential employer. Every time you apply for a job, record the job title and date of the application on a notepad or in your favorite spreadsheet program. If the hiring manager contacts you, update your records accordingly.
5. Streamline the Process
Make your job search a little easier by taking steps to streamline the application process. Save several versions of your cover letter to a hard drive so you don't have to scramble to write a letter from scratch every time you see a job posting that appeals to you. If you plan to apply for jobs via mail, make sure you have plenty of envelopes and stamps on hand.
It takes some time to find the perfect job, so don't be discouraged if your job search doesn't pan out right away. Instead of accepting the first offer that comes along, keep looking until you find a position that aligns with your professional goals.
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