Tips to use for a great job hunt

Preparation is everything. If you refuse to believe that your past determines your future, try these advance steps to start out with an edge.

Master list of job leads:

Cataloging potential employers especially the name of the individual at each company who hires people for the position you want is an incredibly important step that many people flub, then wonder why they’re not getting bites on their bait. Build the best list you possibly can, drawing from the following resources:

  • Third-party recruiting firms.
  • Referrals, including acquaintances, friends and former co-workers who are employed at companies you admire, and referrals from people you contact who don’t know of a job opening but can give you more contact names.
  • Newspapers, both classified and display job ads, plus business page articles.
  • Job sites, both general and specialty, that relate to your occupation, job title, industry and geographic location.
  • Business directories, e-data-bases at libraries, trade publications and Web-resources.
  • Networking groups, both local and functional online and offline.
  • Professional organizations in your career field.
  • College or university alumni directories.
  • Military contacts if you’re a former service member.
  • Diverse people, including family, friends, neighbors, bankers, social organization members, job club members and former professors.

Housekeeping items:

Life on the job hunt trail is easier if you polish off irksome details in advance:

  • Arrange for secure contacts. For privacy reasons, set up at least one e-mail address at a free mail stop, such as Hotmail (hotmail.com) or Yahoo!Mail (yahoomail.com). Reminder: Check your e-mailboxes every day. Rent a post office box. Install a phone with an answering machine.
  • You may need extra addresses and phone numbers to separate your identities. That is, if you’re looking for more than one type of job say, Marketing Rep and Convention Planner, you’ll want to emphasize different strengths on each resume. When applying for both types of jobs at the same employer, you can avoid looking non-specialized by using your full name on resume No. 1, and your initials for your first and middle names on resume No. 2. But also remember to change the phone number and e-mail address on resume No. 2.

Advance practice:

Other pre-play actions relate to screening your candidacy:

  • Refresh your job interviewing skills. These include methods of researching potential employers so you can draw persuasive comparisons showing you’re the right person for the job, as well as learning self-presentation techniques. Evaluate your grooming and updated appearance.
  • Practice online testing. A policy of quizzing your qualifications online is becoming fairly common. That’s because employers are burdened by the number of resumes that bear little resemblance to a job’s stated requirements. Testing instruments range from skills and knowledge testing and personality assessment to behavioral or managerial assessment and integrity testing.
  • Draft your resumes, creating more than one if you possibly can. Start with one general version, then shape several others that address the finer points of functions you want to do - Accountant, Internal Auditor, Tax Specialist.
  • Draft several cover notes. Again, read books about cover letters because old “bread-and-butter”, “here’s-my-resume” scripting is anemic in the marketplace.
  • Be sure you understand today’s electronic resume submission technology. One basic tip: If you’re uncertain which of many applicant management systems a particular employer is using, you can send a plain text (ASCII) version within the body of your e-mail and attach a fully formatted, MS Word or equivalent version as well.

Three C’s:

Once you’ve finished your preparation, vow to come across as Confident, Centered and Cool. You’ve earned that self-assessment.