Developing a Job Search Strategy
Looking to make a career change? Develop a strategy to ensure this stressful time will benefit you and your family
A job search is similar to a typical business developmental plan: you identify your objective, you identify the resources needed to achieve your objective, and you develop a well-thought-out plan. So, if you are one of the 4.1 percent or more than 5 million who are part of the unemployed in this country, we encourage you to develop a strategy similar to the one listed below that addresses the three parts of a typical developmental plan.
- Make God the centerpiece of your search strategy.
- Trust God.
- Check your spiritual pulse.
- Spend extra time in prayer and Bible study. Read the Psalms and Philippians in particular.
- Make a list of your assets as a person and as an employee.
- Identify your transferable skills and abilities, personality strengths, and career focus.
- Identify your work priorities.
- Outline your work history to show the responsibilities you have had and the types of work you have done.
- Develop a résumé. Keep it to one page unless you have been employed 10 years in the same field.
- Be ready to tailor it to fit particular job openings.
- Develop a reference pool.
- Compile a list of people who know something of your work history and are in a good position to evaluate your job performance.
- Communicate with others.
- Get involved with an accountability/support group.
- Share with God and other believers your feelings of loss, anger, depression, and stress.
- Pay special attention to the needs of spouse and children.
- Seek out at least one primary support relationship besides your spouse to help serve as a career coach. This should be someone of your gender.
- Develop a short-term financial plan.
- Immediately take stock of your finances, including savings, spendable assets, and income, and include severance pay or state unemployment compensation. Acceptance of unemployment compensation while you are out of work and looking for another job is neither unscriptural nor unethical. Unemployment compensation is an insurance that your employer (or you, depending on your state) has paid for you. If you have peace about accepting the government’s aid, then you should accept it. We urge you to pray about this matter and let God direct you.
- Set up a short-term budget.
- Cut expenses.
- Know your bottom-line monthly needs.
- Project your cash flow and determine how long you can afford to be unemployed.
- Call on believers if you need financial assistance or help getting through this transitional period.
- Accept help from your church.
- Get the word out about you and the objective you are seeking.
- Network. Use leads from people you know to make direct contact with potential employers.
- Consider having business cards printed with key phrases regarding your career objective and your major qualifications printed on the back.
- Get involved in a church-sponsored job network group.
- Set and meet goals for daily calls and personal contacts.
- Qualify your contacts.
- Search the Internet for job-listing Web sites and respond to classified ads.
- Follow up on all contacts. If you were granted an interview, follow up with a letter.
- Maintain a normal daily routine.
- Get up and get dressed for work. Physically go to your “office,” whether it is a room in your house dedicated to job search or your local library.
- Covenant with your spouse or friend to call you and hold you accountable to your goals and encourage you.
- Spend six to eight hours per day looking for work.
- Relax, read, and relate to your family members.
- Continue to trust God and wait patiently for Him to provide your next job.
At this nation’s present rate of industrialization and technological advancement, we are forced to come to grips with the fact that jobs are now less secure than they have been in the past. Over the long haul an employee generally cannot look to his or her employer for job security. However, the best way to increase the odds of being employed or staying employed is to know your talents, develop them, and be truly excellent in work habits. Since jobs are so insecure, flexibility is essential. Therefore, knowing how to find a career that best fits into the parameters of your talents, abilities, and capabilities and then focusing on the follow-through of that search—while relying upon God’s guidance and His directive—are the primary ingredients needed to insure success in the job search market.
Adapted from the article "When Facing Unemployment," courtesy of Crown Financial Ministries. Copyright © 2007 Crown Financial Ministries. Used with permission. All rights reserved.