A Better Way to Look for Work

Posted February 29, 2012
By Clay Cerny

What causes job seekers to get stuck when they look for work? A lack of focus and a failure to act.  Too many people conduct their job search in a haphazard manner.  They look at a few websites and possibly call a network contact.  If they apply for a job that feels like a perfect fit, they will often stop looking when they aren’t called for an interview.  In a similar, job seekers often slow down their job search when they interview for a job.  They wait to be called for a second interview, or they wait for an offer.  Don’t wait.  Stay focused and active. 

1.  Focus

Focus in the job search begins before you send out your first resume.  First, identify the kind of jobs you want to pursue.  Then look at 5-10 job postings for those positions and be sure that your resume speaks to the needs of those employers.  If you write your resume with attention to what employers need, you shouldn’t have to rewrite for every job posting.  That is why being focused matters. 

2.  Get Active

I normally hate job search “rules,” but here’s one that works: Once you start your job search, don’t stop until you have a new job.  There will be frustration along the way.  You will feel like you want to quit.  However, stopping only delays the process.  Whenever you feel tempted to quit looking for work, try to send out two resume or call two of your network contacts. Find a friend who can be your career personal trainer, someone who will be able to get you moving again.  Whenever you get stuck, call this person and let them push you forward. 

3.  Stay Active and Focused

While it’s important to stay active, it’s just as important to stay focused.  Sometimes, when people don’t get a job within a month, they start applying to any job, which just means more rejection.  Most job searches take at least 3-6 months.  Expect some silence, and expect to hear the word “No.”  Another mistake people make is fiddling with and tweaking their resume rather than applying for jobs.  If you resume is focused on the kind of job you’re seeking, you should be able to send it out with few or no changes. 

A good job search is like a good sales campaign.  It has a clear objective as well as several ways to reach that goal.  A good sales person knocks on many doors.  Similarly, a good job seeker will apply for as many jobs as she is qualified for an interested in.  She will stay in contact with her network and look for new ways to meet people who can move her career forward.  Most of all, a smart job seek will do two things:  Stay focused – stay active.