A successful job search happens from the inside out. Instead of starting by looking for a job, take the time to look inside yourself. See what your real interests and talents are. Decide what you really want. Then go for it!
Glimmers of hope are beginning to emerge in the job market. Meanwhile, layoffs continue. Those two factors combined mean that a lot of workers are contemplating a job search in the not-too-distant future. Buffing up your résumé and filling out online applications is not the most effective first step.
Instead, start by taking a personal inventory, says Susan Hawkins, a career management consultant with Life Bridging Transitions Coaching. "Think about what you are being paid to do," she says. "Then think about what you want to get paid for." Perhaps your job makes great use of your technical skills, but you'd rather use your talent for communication. That will help you focus on a job that's better for you, not just different.
One way to identify your favorite attributes is to review your proudest accomplishments, Hawkins says. "Too often, we focus on what we don't want," Hawkins says. "Reviewing your accomplishments will help you get to what you do want."
The accomplishments can be from your job, volunteer work, or personal hobbies and interests. "We often take ourselves for granted," Hawkins says. Include items that give you "quiet satisfaction," she advises: dealing effectively with someone who is hard to get along with; having the integrity to tell the boss that the project won't be finished by the deadline; listening.
Knowing the attributes you want to apply to your next job, you're ready to craft an "elevator speech." Be able to express, in a clear sentence or two, what you want people to know about you and what you're looking for. "Tell some friends and colleagues. Leave yourself a voice mail message with the speech to see how clear you are," Hawkins says.