TIP #1 – DEFINE WHAT YOU WANT SO THAT YOU CAN HELP OTHERS HELP YOU
It may seem counterintuitive, but the best way to find a job is be able to tell people exactly what kind of job you want when networking. Sometimes people think it is best to keep all options open for any type of job that may come along. But with that strategy there is a higher likelihood that they will not like the position they accept and will be looking for a job again real soon because they quit or got fired. A person who handles the job search that way risks quickly becoming a job hopper. And guess what, it all started because they didn’t define what they were looking for in the first place.
The process does not have to be difficult or long and drawn out. It can be quite enriching if a person takes the time, but it can be done quickly with a few educated guesses when food just needs to get to the table too.
Minimally, you need to know:
What kind of work fits your lifestyle right now such as part time, full time or contract?
What industry are you interested in?
What are example job titles?
What skills you have to offer and what kind of problems you can solve with those skills?
With this kind of information in mind you can start the job search by asking people you know and people you meet a very powerful question, “Who do you know in the retail clothing industry that may be looking for part-time employees?” As simple as that you can begin accessing the hidden job market and the power of networking. Moral of the story: knowing what you want sure helps other people help you.
TIP #2 – FIND A MENTOR
First, outline or journal what your career will look like when you arrive at the “next level.” What will you be doing in your work? What experience & education will you have achieved? How are you impacting your industry? Continue to make better distinctions about yourself and where you want to go then follow your nose to the virtual and real world gathering places for people whose interests match yours. Look for them in writing and speaking that is going on in your industry and in professional associations associated with your industry, or attend a conference or training, and search for them on LinkedIn. Locate and engage the experts in those places. Share your enthusiasm and demonstrate that you are there to learn and that you are very interested in contributing to the conversation. Ask the question, “what advice do you have for someone who is interested in doing what you are doing?” Ask also how they stay up-to-date in the field. Be sure to thank them for their time by writing them a thank you note or email or a quick follow up phone call or message later. Consider them a part of your professional network and send info their way when you see or hear about something they might like to know. If you notice a potential mentor but suspect they are too busy to be a mentor? Or maybe you just don’t know how to break the ice with them. Try informational interviewing. Its not just for students or those choosing a career for the first time! Informational interviewing can help you transition to a new career field, further your network, or find a mentor.
TIP #3 – ACCOMPLISHMENTS NOT GOALS
Spend more time tracking and talking about your accomplishments rather than your goals. Think about it: accomplishments are actions you have already taken, goals are actions you intend to take…which is more powerful? Begin by making it a habit to log your accomplishments weekly while they are fresh in your mind. Collect them and turn them into bullet points for your resumes and power stories for your networking and interviews.
TIP #4 – START A BLOG
Career blogging is a networking and electronic portfolio all in one! Your blog can be an outstanding networking tool. This is just the kind of thing the blogosphere was meant for…sharing information, having a discussion, building relationships. Plus, a blog can become a showcase for your unique personality, knowledge, and skills. With small regular posts you can quickly build an impressive portfolio demonstrating more about your personality and quality of work while building your reputation at the same time.