Six steps to building the perfect job search strategy

A good job search strategy does not start with applications or job searches. It starts with you.

Unfortunately, most of us don’t put much thought into devising a job search strategy. We just apply for the jobs that seem most exciting to us at a given point in time. As a result, we may be missing out on finding our dream job or feeling professionally fulfilled.

Job hunting requires reflection, information and conversation. To land a job you’ll love, these are the steps you need to take:

First figure out what you want
Find a quiet place to sit down and introspect. Hone in on the strengths and weaknesses you are known for in your professional and personal life. Then think about which one of those strengths brings you the greatest fulfilment. Determine the field, industry or sector you want to work in and the role you want to play there. Now see how your skills sets fit into that slot.

Prepare a mission statement
Trust a ‘mission statement’ works. Once you have answered these questions, you will get closer to knowing what you want from your job. Use the answers to craft a mission statement. This is a two or three sentence declarative statement about the ideals, values and beliefs you hold true. It will be at the heart of your job search strategy and define your professional goals.

Do your research
Now that you have your career goal, you must try and reach that goal. This phase entails a lot of research. Which companies have the kind of jobs that match your career goal? Make a list of organizations you want to work with and read up everything about them, including their annual report. Then research industry trends, opportunities and history by looking up the Internet and going through a few trade magazines.

Also, keep in mind what kind of work environment you are looking for while conducting background checks on organizations. At this stage, you may want to learn a skill that will put you ahead of others in the hunt for a job.

Work on finding job leads
Next, you must decide what sources you will use to find potential employers. Job announcements like those you will find on job boards are one way to go. Networking is another. Connect with company managers and industry insiders via social media platforms. Attend industry conferences and seminars and try and meet the speakers. Speak to people in your social circle who are related to the company or the industry in some way and ask them what you should do to find your dream employment. If need be, apply for an internship in an organization of your choice.

A successful job search always needs a strategy. It requires planning, so make a weekly list of things you want to do and keep track of what you’ve accomplished. You also have to give it time. Irrespective of how busy your schedule is, set aside a few hours every day or week to putting your job hunt plan into action.

Social philosopher Thomas Moore said, “It isn’t enough that we have meaningful work. What is also required is work that satisfies the soul.” A well-planned out job search strategy will reward you with both.

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