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Five Steps to a Successful Job Search

Step 1: Write your job description

Before you can start searching, you need to know what you’re looking for. Even if you’re unemployed and will take any job, desperately applying to everything won’t help. Define the job you want – are are qualified for – by writing your ideal job description including:

Job titles, skills, and related duties

Get a job you actually want, with these five steps for a successful job searchEach employer will list similar jobs differently. To make your searching more efficient, brainstorm a list of job titles and related duties you’re interested in to use to search job boards. As you search and find related terms or job titles, add these to your list as well.

Job requirements

What do you need from a job and what are your limits? Consider the following:
  • Hours: How many hours a week do you want to work – full time, part time?
  • Schedule: do you want a typical 9-5, night shift, weekends, a flexible schedule?
  • Salary: What salary do you need? What salary do you want?
  • Location: How far are you willing to commute? Do you need to work near public transportation?
Knowing these will help you refine your job search and not waste time looking at jobs that aren’t a good fit.

Step 2: Do your research

Don’t waste your time applying for just any job or company – head over to Glassdoor to see what employees really think about your prospective future employer, including company culture, average salaries, employee happiness and more. You may find that your dream company is more of a nightmare.

Step 3: Let the jobs come to you

Okay, not exactly. While your job search should be an active process, take advantage of social media and search bots to be notified of newly opened jobs that may interest you. Most online job boards have a feature that enable you to save a search (e.g. for a specific job title) and have new results sent to your email. You can also follow companies on LinkedIn to see new jobs as they’re posted, and many companies have a Twitter account just for their human resources / recruiting department to post new openings.

Step 4: Don’t wait for an opening

Many companies now accept applications even when they’re not hiring, enabling them to actively recruit qualified applicants without having to post openings. Not knowing whether a company is hiring any time soon may not be effective for those who are unemployed and just need a job yesterday, but if your job search is more about seeking professional nirvana, let the company why they need you. Companies such as Disney Animation Studios go so far as to encourage interested applicants to maintain a portfolio on their website.

Step 5: Track Your Progress

Make a list of all the jobs you’ve applied for – include the job title, the date you applied, and the contact person for any questions.  This will come in handy when you need to follow up on job applications or get called for an interview; you don’t want to appear unorganized – or worse, uninterested – by mixing up application or applying more than once. Tracking your progress will also help you stay motivated by holding yourself accountable, especially you’re following your job search schedule.

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