The job search process can be hard, whether you are a fresher or an experienced professional. Here’s how to go about it methodically.
We have all been through this phase at some point in our professional lives. Yes! I am talking about looking for a job. We are either out of work for a few years, or have just graduated from college and are excited to land our first break or are just changing industries.
I created this blogpost to provide tips and insights to freshers as well as managerial level professionals on various topics on career progression. I have started an initiative called Interview Inc. as an extension of my corporate work experience for over 9+ years.
I am sharing advice and tips coming from my experiences in the corporate world, with people that can benefit from it. Some of the modules I am covering are:
This anxiety and tension on a job hunt is almost the same for every situation the candidate is in! Job hunting can be lengthy process and this is when I can help you by offering career tips to make the process easier and give you a 100% chance at succeeding. Some of it comes from personal experiences of the challenges I faced, while some comes from extensive reading, talking to job seekers, recruitment consultants, industry professionals and observation.
This is not an absolute guide nor is it the ONLY way to do it, these are just some helpful tips to make the process easier. It is important for you to follow the route that works for you!
So how does one go about a job search that is productive? Typically, a job search’s lifecycle follows a pattern and it is best to be methodical about it.
The starting point is clarity on the kind of job wanted. It means identifying and analysing skills, values and interests if they align with the expectations of the career status we want.
Do you enjoy creating computer games, writing codes, testing gaming apps or does travel give you a kick? Find a pattern in what you enjoy and love. Explore if it can be integrated in your job. This helps seekers to know where they stand and if additional skill sets or qualifications could make them more competitive. Alternatively this can also be done by tests.
There are a whole set of tests, called psychometric tests, that are often used as an aid in career choices. Such tests measure skills, knowledge, abilities, attitudes and personality traits and are good indicators of a person’s preferences and abilities.
The best known of these is the Briggs Myers test. This test will define you based on certain personality types and then suggest the careers that are suitable for you. Such a test may tell you that you have an INFP (Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, and Perceiving) personality and that you would do well in art, music or as a therapist.
What is it that you do well? Are you good at problem-solving, communicating and persuading other people? Or are you compulsively orderly and good at arranging systems and processes? Putting your interests and special skills together often helps you identify a career you will like.
This starts with developing a master resume which should be ideally tweaked according to the requirements of the role and it also involves preparing cover letters, personal statements, and recommendations.
This step is extremely crucial in your job search process. Be it a social networking site or otherwise, one should be wary of the information. Recruiters nowadays immediately check the online profiles for background checks even before shortlisting.
With the increased popularity of online candidate scouting, I would recommend you to register and build profiles on job portals like Monster, naukri.com, linkedin.com, timesjobs.com and many more. Using the multitude of online apps and tools for specific needs or instant notifications also helps. It helps in pushing the seeker’s profile amongst the first reviewed in the online abyss of millions.
Networking is the MOST powerful tool in finding a job. In this day and age, job connections are cracked only through personal networking; with document prep and online presence sorted, it is smart recommendations through networking that works like magic.
Make new professional contacts and keep in touch all year-round instead of reaching out to them only when you need a job. And be sure to spread the word that you’re on the lookout for new and challenging opportunities. It gives a chance to people to personally interact and discuss the possibilities face to face.
Even though it may not lead to a job immediately, calling and speaking to managers directly has the effect of putting you on their mind as a possible candidate. You can even hit them up on social media. This can turn into a great advantage when a vacancy does crop up later. Get a reference if possible but don’t hesitate to call even without a reference.
Always follow up the conversation with a polite email saying how much you enjoyed talking to him/her and how you’d like to work for the company in the future. Make an effort to subsequently stay in touch through online or offline professional networking platforms.
For candidates transitioning from one industry to another, it is crucial to research the industry, sector, requisites, salaries, growth potential, etc. One needs to be armed with plenty of information on the industry and the growth prospects while making a shift.
The same holds true for candidates moving jobs, it is imperative to research and be informed thoroughly on the crucial aspects before taking a decision. After all, one does not want to face any surprises or shock later on.
Seekers often get confused with tracking job applications sent, follow-ups, interview schedules, networking contacts, etc. Organise your systems aided by online tools help.
Applying for a job is one part of the process while attending the interview and cracking it, landing the offer is another. Preparation for facing the interview on every possible aspect is tremendously important for a candidate. One needs to be completely sure of their work experience, strengths, weaknesses, achievements, contributions, education and other value additions that can be made by them on the job. Another aspect such as salary negotiation is the most important aspect. All this requires a serious thought process, preparation, and practice.
The last round often culminates with money talk. Salary and profile offered are the deciding factors to accept or reject a job offer. You can discuss this with your mentor or anyone we trust in our career progression on this aspect. Research on the market standards, speak to people that are already in the specific line of work and the salaries they are getting, to quote the right figure. Here, tact pays in closing the deal, with an offer letter sealing its acceptance.
You may be out of college or changing jobs after a career gap, but that’s no reason to land up at an interview in sloppy jeans and an oversized T-shirt. Dress for the job you’re targeting. Neutral colors and simple jewellery work well. If in doubt, err on the side of the overtly professional look.
Image via Canva
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Sarika Tainwala is a corporate marketing professional with 6+ years of work experience in Client
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