Developing a professional career search isn’t easy, but the rewards are great. In this article, I outline 16 career search steps as part of your strategic job plan.
Joseph Campbell, the philosopher and writer, once said “follow your bliss.” In these challenging times, it’s often difficult to follow his advice when you’re staring at bills. But I believe for your long-term career success following Campbell’s advice, combined with a professional career search will make you happier in your careers and jobs.
Manifest Your Potential, a useful website about Campbell and his philosophies, gives step-by-step recommendations on how to follow your bliss:
- Turning Idle Daydreams Into Actively Imagining Your Future
- Relying On Yourself To Figure It Out
- Realizing It Is Never Too Late
- Realizing You Are Not The Only One
- Knowing Where To Start
Employment and the Job Market
Much has changed in the employment market–not only due to the recession but a new definition of “work,” “career” and “job.” We can no longer use traditional, ineffective methods to find a satisfying job and career In an age of social communications and continuing change.
We must define our “brand” and market ourselves in innovative and, sometimes, uncomfortable ways. The pain is great, but the rewards are plentiful.
What follows is an outline of a more extensive career search plan that may turn into an e-book . Dive in now following the 16 steps, but realize there’s more “under the hood” that will make your career search more successful. Subscribe to ProCareerSearch in a reader or through emails to ensure you don’t miss anything.
Professional Career Search in 16 Steps
- Seek people, groups, organizations, companies and industries. Our economy is changing day-to-day. Opportunities appear, then disappear. Companies downsize and some go out of business. New companies start. Never before is it so critical that job seekers assume full responsibility for their careers and jobs.
- Make sure to keep a log of all contacts and information during your career search. Using Google docs is free and a great way to access all your job search information when the Internet is available. Word, an Excel spreadsheet or database program are other ways to track. If you prefer, keep a hand-written journal instead. Whatever method you choose, make sure information is readily available.
- Write down ten to twenty keywords and keyword phrases that reflect your strongest skills, knowledge, interests, experiences, desired industries and other preferences. Don’t concern yourself with job titles, companies and locations. Deal with those issues later.For example, if you’re interested in dogs, write down keyword phrases such as “work with dogs” or “train dogs.” If you’re intrigued by sales or marketing, consider “sell mountain bikes” or “health care marketing” (No parentheses).
- Explore different careers, jobs and opportunities without restricting yourself. If you’ve been a carpenter for ten years, that doesn’t mean you can’t use your skills in another profession or job. If you like working with your hands, for example, write down “work with hands.” You can also use single keywords as well: writing, bikes, parks, telecommunications, etc.
- Group your keywords into related categories and enter 5-6 keyword or phrase categories on your initial search into Google. Entering related keywords one search at a time will generate interesting results. related ideas about new careers, jobs and companies. As an example, here are keywords reflecting my interests, skills and industries
- Sales, marketing, writing, blogging, podcasting, managing, voice, mobile, twitter, piano, music, singing. First, I’d take each keyword, create five related phrases, like “become a writer,” “writing jobs,” “learn how to write” and “write for a living.”
- Note the menus at the top of the Google screen. Try keywords using these search categories: Videos, Maps, News, Shopping and more. Expand your keyword research further using Google’s groups, books, finance, blogs, YouTube, photos and more. Make sure to write down the resulting keywords of interest.
- Check the average number of local keyword searches using Google’s Keyword tool. Using your initial search, copy keyword phrases that interest you into Google’s Keyword tool. Google will show you average monthly searches–both local and worldwide–for the past twelve months. Add keyword phrases with at least 1,500 local searches per month to your list.
- Keep track of your career search results and continue adding new keywords. You’ll eventually use some of these keyword phrases in resumes, letters and interviews.
- Enter your keyword phrases into search boxes on Twitter and other social media sites, such as LinkedIn, FaceBook, FriendFeed, StumbleUpon and other social media sites. Capture group members’ names, topics, websites and more. On LinkedIn, for example, search for companies, people, jobs and groups. Note words found on these sites that interest you.
- Unlike Google, Yahoo, Bing and other search engines, use one or two keywords for each search on social media sites. On Twitter, for example, enter “train dogs” or “telecommunications” or “Internet marketing”. Start following people and businesses who share your interests. Tweet using your keyword phrases to attract others with similar interests.
- Constantly review your keyword phrases. As your list grows, continue identifying industries, companies, trends, products and services that match your interests, experiences and skills.
- Ask questions, interact and develop relationships with like-minded people. Let others know you’re “exploring” careers. Share job and career search information and interact with others both online and offline.
- Search for information about company and industry problems. Read articles, blog posts and other content on searching forr problems or needs. Think about how your skills and knowledge could help companies solve problems.
- Examples: “Improve operations,” “boost company morale,” “increase software sales,” “lower production costs,” “open new markets,” etc.
- Identify 25-50 companies that appeal to you based on your keyword searches on the Internet. Review their websites and other information about them. Disregard whether a company has job openings on its website. Companies are ALWAYS looking for talent, even during a recession. If you stand out by doing your homework, your chances of interviewing with companies and getting job offers increases dramatically.
- Keep your targeted company list to 50 or under. It’s easier to focus your energies on a limited number of companies than going after hundreds.
- Write or re-write your resume and social media profile, incorporating keyword phrases representing your strongest accomplishments, skills, knowledge and problem-solving abilities.
- Call companies to verify your target contacts within organizations. Phrase your question like this: “Mary, who is the person at your company who’s responsible for improving product quality?” “John, I understand you’re the VP of Marketing. Who is primarily responsible for boosting market share?” Don’t assume that the person you reach is the hiring manager. In the case above, for example, the VP of Marketing may tell you that his Director of Marketing is responsible for increasing market share. Then approach the Director, not the VP.
- Tailor resumes for each company. If you’ve thoroughly researched a company, you’ll better know its needs and problems. By including this information in contacts with company employees, you’ll stand out above other candidates–even those with greater skills and more experience.
- Remember that companies hire people just as they purchase products and services. The more you know about a targeted company, the more likely you’ll get job interviews and offers.
Sound challenging? It is. But marketers use the same process to market their products and services. Take it one step at a time (don’t jump ahead) and you’ll find jobs and careers more quickly through professional career search.
(Have strategies that have worked for you? Share them in the comments section.)