Form a Strategy for Your Job Search

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Looking for a job means having a strategy, and the earlier you define one the better. Here are a few tips.

Once you’ve taken stock and chosen a direction, it’s time to get moving. But — there’s no sugarcoating it — looking for a job can be one of the most challenging experiences you’ll ever endure. It demands mental discipline, emotional resilience and even physical stamina. You’ll have days when you are feeling encouraged and hopeful; you’ll also have times when you think it’s impossible even to get an interview.

Looking for a job means having a strategy, and the earlier you define one the better. Here are a few tips:

Start with prayer. Remember, God knows where He can best use you and when. If you don’t immediately anchor yourself to God, you will find yourself drifting into worry, anxiety and fear instead.

Ask for feedback about your skills, abilities, talents and gifts. It may have been a while since you took inventory. Now is the time and opportunity to update it and reflect it in your resume and job applications. Ask for help in getting your resume to stand out.

Put a network together. Let others know that you are looking. Social networking Internet sites like LinkedIn¬Æ and Facebook,¬Æ if used with discretion, can help you connect online with folks in your profession and field of interest. Register with job boards like Monster¬Æ and CareerBuilder.¬Æ Have plenty of up-to-date resumes on hand and even some business-sized cards with your personal information on them. Even if your friends and business contacts don’t immediately know of any leads, they may run into someone who does. You’ll be glad they have your information.

Maintain a positive attitude. This can be difficult when you encounter repeated frustrations. Remember that the general statistics need not apply to you. You are one person looking for one job. Think about some volunteering. It demonstrates an upbeat attitude, a willingness to learn and contribute, and it can also be another source of networking.

Don’t forget temporary assignments. Register with several established temp agencies. This can be an extra source of income and another possible networking pool.

Once you get an opportunity to interview, keep these things in mind:

Do your homework. Know something about the organization you are interviewing with. If you don’t, the interviewer will pick up on that, and it will hurt your chances of getting the job.

Understand their culture. This is key to making or breaking a hire. As in families, unspoken rules are very powerful and are present in every organization or company, so it’s a good idea to know some of them. Talk to people who work there or once did. Also know the dress code, whatever it may be, and present yourself accordingly.

Come prepared with several specific questions about the position, organization and culture. In a sense, you are also interviewing the company. You both want to know if the fit is the best one possible.

Be yourself. Nobody likes surprises after the sale. Remember that the “real you” will eventually be revealed, so it may as well be right at the beginning. Honesty and genuineness actually help you go into the job with more confidence. If you think being unemployed is bad, imagine landing a position that you are unqualified for and having that fact come to the surface.

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