Job Search Strategies
Searching for a job is something you will do more than once, using a variety of methods and strategies. At any stage in your search, make an appointment with a Career Counselor to develop your own plan of action, especially if you have a very specialized job search. Below are some strategies that anyone can use:
Clarify your interests, skills, and goals. Spend time identifying your interests (what you like to do), your skills (what you do well and which did you use to lead to your accomplishments) and your values (what gives you satisfaction and is important to you). Often referred to as self assessment, this is the process of learning more about yourself and clarifying some of the things that are most important to you. Fit is also very important – reviewing the type of work environment as well as the type of work you like are important factors to consider before you begin your job search. Another step to take is reviewing your accomplishments and asking yourself: What challenges did I face? What actions did I take to meet those challenges? And what were the results? Whether it is your first position or fifth, taking these steps before you begin your job search are critical.
Find out about careers and explore your options. Once you have identified your most marketable skills, accomplishments and experiences, the next step is to find the opportunities that fit you. Get ideas about occupations by reading about careers, attending alumni networking events in your regional area, and contacting alumni about who may work in the positions or fields in which you are interested. Networking with alumni for informational interviews can be a great source of ideas and information at any point in your job search. Determining your next steps where you can build upon your experiences and skills to date will enable you to develop strategies for your search. If you are unclear, reviewing web sites with job postings can also be useful to read job descriptions and understand what responsibilities different positions require.
Establishing a clear direction and focus for your job search is important and should result in a focused job objective which drives your search process. Polish your resume and cover letter and tailor them to each opportunity. Your meetings, informational interviews, and direct marketing outreach should all be as focused as possible.Take time to create your own two-minute drill or marketing pitch which highlights your background and your unique strengths. As you introduce yourself in an interview, in a networking meeting, or in a cover letter, this overview gives a focused overview of you.
Review all possible strategies to find and create opportunities. Understand the job market and the most effective ways to enter it. The job market is composed of both published and unpublished opportunities, and you need to uncover both areas. Review advertised positions, consider targeted mailings to individuals and organizations, career fairs, search firms and recruiters, as well as networking events that may be held in your area, including Princeton alumni meetings and business and social events. Many unpublished opportunities are created through your personal contact network. Create a database for networking using Princeton alumni databases (Alumni Careers Network and Princeton Alumni Directory) as well as those you may know from your work, friends and acquaintances, and graduate school. Whenever possible, set up face to face meetings and telephone conversations to enhance your visibility.
For published opportunities use all publications such as newspapers, journals, association newsletters, company publications, organization web sites, links by industry. If you know which industries interest you, you can research employers and browse our links by industry. Also, CareerSearch is a valuable tool for focusing your search geographically. This database can be searched by industry, geographic locations, as well as other key criteria and includes both U.S., Canada, and International organizations. Call Career Services (609-258-3325) for the client referral password.
Maintaining structure through your job search is critical. Create a plan to keep it focused with time spent in each of the activities to uncover opportunities. Structure your day and time and keep track of your applications. It may sound like common sense, but set up a system to manage your job search. Keep copies of the cover letters and resumes you submit, as well as of the position announcements you respond to. If you apply to something online, print out the posting in case you are not able to access it later. You can then refer to them as you prepare for interviews.
Follow up with employers and contacts. After submitting a resume, check in with the employer to reiterate your interest in the position and ask about their interviewing timeline. You should also send a thank-you note to employers after you have interviewed, as well as to contacts you’ve met. Continue to add to your networking database since this network will be important as you prepare for a job search or career transition in the future.