Before your job search can truly begin, you must be able to identify your personality strengths and your skills. Interview five people who know you well. First, ask each person to list ten words to describe you. (Be sure not to let participants see anyone else's responses.)
Recognize Your Assets
We all know some things about ourselves that we like and some things that we wish we could change. It's important to focus on your good qualities as you go through life, especially when under the stress of job hunting. Fill out the following questionnaire and refer to it when you need a boost before an interview.
Take Action to Be Your Best
When you feel good about yourself, others can sense your self-confidence. Probably no other quality will make you more marketable as you search for a job. Now is a good time to make some positive moves toward improving how you look and feel.
Read down this list and check off the actions that you would like to take. Then write down a strategy for how you plan to make a change. Remember that the first step in making a positive change is recognizing a problem.
Evaluate Your Priorities
As you progress in your career, moving from your first job up the ladder of success, you may find that your priorities change. They may be influenced by such variables as your economic needs, your marital status, your career goals, your desire for personal time, and your family needs.
Take a moment to consider what your priorities are in life. For example, if you're seeking your first job, your goal may likely be to obtain a position that will give you good training and serve as a steppingstone to more advanced positions. If you have young children, you may prefer a job that does not require any overtime or weekend hours so you can spend more time with your family.
Look over the following list of job and personal variables. In the left-hand column, number them in order of priority to you. Renumber them in the right-hand column based on the priorities you anticipate having five or ten years down the road.
Choose the Right Job for You
As you embark on your job hunt, it's important for you to clarify your thoughts about the type of position you might like and the type of company for which you'd like to work. Once you've answered these questions you'll be better prepared to market yourself and to find jobs that most appeal to you.
Set Career Goals
Developing a sense of direction for your career is important both before you begin your job search and after you've landed a position. By setting goals, you can work toward meeting specific objectives, measure your success, and achieve a feeling of self-satisfaction.
Job-shadowing is an excellent way to investigate your career options. If you'd like to know more about a particular job, why not spend a day or two observing someone at work in your chosen field? A job-shadowing opportunity requires time and effort to set up, but it may be the best way to ascertain that your field of interest is truly suited to your skills, needs, and wants.
First, find a contact person who works in your targeted career field. Locate someone who is willing to "show you the ropes" and let you follow him or her through an average day. Together, decide on a date when you can observe that person's daily work routine in person.
Make it clear to him or her that you don't plan to interfere in any way. Remain a silent, unobtrusive "shadow": listen and observe. This is not the time to ask for a job, although you may want to make note of contact names for the future.
If you are persistent and smart enough to set up a job-shadowing day or two, you'll find your efforts will be amply rewarded. The insight you'll gain by observing the work place and employee duties firsthand will give you a real taste of the field and a sense of whether it is right for you.
Finally, be sure to follow up your job-shadowing days with thank-you notes to all those who shared their time or expertise with you. Make lists of questions that you still need to research, reevaluate the pros and cons of the career if necessary, and also write down contact names that might be useful in the future.