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12 Keys to Getting a Great Job

  • Create a self-marketing plan and a job search log. Use a self-marketing plan to set goals and detail what you're going to do when and how you're going to strategically market yourself. This plan will help you clarify the solutions you provide and the way you differentiate yourself from others in the market. It is a living document that changes as you research the market and talk with folks. The job search log will help you stay on track and log what you've done and what's next. Contact me for samples of the plan and log.

  • Network and informational interview your way to the hidden job market. 75% or more jobs are obtained by networking. So you need to get out there and meet people. Clearly and consistently tell everyone you know what you are looking for and the solution you provide, mine for information, and ask them who they know and then follow up. Ask them to comment on your self-marketing plan. 

  • Attend job hunting/professional functions. Attend job fairs, meetings of job networking groups like C-SIX, and relevant free seminars. Go to professional association luncheons and talks; volunteer your services, join one of their committees. Becoming involved with professional associations is a great way to meet people, feel competent, add something to your résumé, and network, network, network!  See if your school's alumni association has contacts you can call or e-mail.

  • Join or form a Success Team. Becoming part of team that supports your job search will help you stay focused, move forward, and receive creative input. Job hunting and career development can be a solitary activity, it's very helpful to have the support and input of others. You can even start with a success team of two--just a trusted friend and you.

  • Join your local one-stop association. Take advantage of the free training and networking this or similar Employment Development Department groups make available. This is primarily available to the unemployed.

  • Find a career coach or career counselor and enroll in career related workshops. A good coach can help you stay focused, provide support, and give expert input tailored to you. A coach can therefore enable you to get unstuck and build momentum, and more quickly achieve your goals, thus saving money, time, and reducing stress. There are also ways to insure landing in a job that's a good fit. Workshops and classes can keep your skills current and enable you to explore new opportunities and make needed transitions in a highly volatile market. 

  • Maximize "Planned Happenstance." As much as possible, remain optimistic, curious, persistent, flexible, and take a few risks. Get out and sample the various options open to you. This makes it more likely that "good luck" will come your way. 

  • Create a targeted pitch and a well-written résumé (and cover letter) that directly focuses on the needs of the potential employer and the solutions you provide. Remember, they want to know what's in it for them. Emphasize the value you add, what you accomplish, and how you do it--create your Personal Brand!

  • Join Toastmasters to hone your speaking, interpersonal, and communication skills. 

  • Take care of yourself. A job hunt tends to be a mini-marathon rather than a sprint and can be stressful. Maximize your ability to cope by exercising, eating well, getting enough sleep, and participating in a spiritual practice (meditation, yoga, prayer, mindful stretching). Take breaks and mini vacations from the job search. Reward yourself for your hard work. You deserve it! 

  • Volunteer. Volunteering is a great way to feel good about your self, help others, learn new skills, network, get references, and contribute to an organization which might later hire you. It's also something you can add to your résumé. 

  • Think of yourself as actor/actress. For some, “self-marketing” and schmoozing don't come naturally. One way to deal with this is to pretend you're an actor or actress playing a role in which you need to convince people that you're confident, competent, and deserve that great job you seek. After all, down deep you are all those things and do deserve a great job!

Steve Piazzale, Ph.D.