The Key Questions to Answer Before A Job Search

Posted by | August 10, 2013 | Career

Ask  anyone in the workforce to tell you the hardest thing about their job and many  will respond: “Getting it.”

Finding a job is work. Hard work. It takes time, talent, patience,  persistence and, above all, confidence that you are a uniquely skilled  individual who will add something to a company.

That is especially true the last five years when college graduates  and young employees trying to move up, find themselves competing against a job  pool flooded with experienced talent. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says the  Great Recession took 8.8 million jobs out of the economy in 2008-2009. That  means 8.8 million skilled and qualified individuals who had a job were sent out  looking for another one.

That’s a lot of competition, especially if you’re just entering the  job market.

That’s why before you start formulating your job search strategy  you should answer these questions:

Exactly what job do I want? And what makes me unique for it?

The first question should be easy enough, but the answer people  often give – “I’ll take any job” – is not helpful. It’s like telling the  waitress: “I’ll take anything on the left side of the menu.” It narrows the  field, but she still doesn’t know what you want to eat.

Think of your friends, relatives and anyone else who might assist  your job search, as the waitress, only they’re asking: “What job do you want?”  The more focused you can be with an answer, the easier it is for people to help  you.

Saying you want a job managing a business, for example, is not  nearly as helpful as saying you want a job managing a restaurant business. Be  precise and be sure your talents and interests are in line with the job you  want.

There are a lot of angles for answering the second question: What  makes me unique?

For the creative and confident person, that could mean submitting a  video resume and cover letter. Even in today’s technologically advanced age,  that would be unique enough to get noticed. Maybe not hired, but at least  noticed.

The other 99.9 percent of job seekers will submit resumes and cover  letters in the traditional print format. While there are hundreds of sample  resumes and cover letters that are effective, but not distinctive enough to  stand out. Your goal is to be distinctive and memorable.

That means highlighting the traits that are specific to you. What  are you strengths? What words or phrases do friends or co-workers use to pay you  compliments? What skills do you have that others admire? How have you applied  those skills and produced positive results?

That is what makes you unique. Weave the answers into your resume  and cover letter. Make people understand they are getting a one-of-a-kind  individual. Be intent on being different.

There are many other steps to take in executing a job search –  establish a LinkedIn account, use Twitter and Facebook to spread the word,  identify specific companies you’d like to work for, line up internships or temp  jobs, practice being interviewed, etc. – but none of that will help if you can’t  answer exactly what job you want and why you’re specifically qualified to get  it.

If you can do that, there is good news: the economy has added five  million jobs the last two years. At the current pace, it will add another two  million in 2013.

You are uniquely qualified for one of them.

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