Wednesday, September 10, 2008

5 Quick Steps to a New Job

Job hunting? Here's a quick and effective guide especially for new job seekers and fresh graduates.

5 Quick Steps to a New Job
by Atul Mathur

On the face of it, getting a new job appears to be a straightforward affair: Just look for job opportunities in the newspapers or on the Internet, prepare resumes, send applications, appear at interviews and accept job offers. The process is indeed simple; it’s not rocket science. Yet, as you probably know, job search can sometimes extend to painfully long periods of time, going up to months or even years. And when a new job doesn’t come along after repeated attempts, it’s common for job seekers to point fingers in various directions.

Some people blame their qualifications. Some see the general scarcity of jobs as the main problem. To those who have many years of experience, the age appears to be the main barrier. There is no doubt that economy, market demand, qualification, experience, age and luck—all play a part in making it easier or difficult for you in the job market. But unfortunately, what most people don’t realise is that a set of completely different factors is more responsible for their long, inconclusive job search. To understand these factors, you have to first understand the hiring process.

Getting a job is like surviving a multi-round game of elimination, which begins with spotting job opportunities and ends at interviews. Some people don’t use the right job search methods and thereby fail to even spot job opportunities. They get eliminated even before the real game begins. Some do see the job opportunities, but their weak and unacceptable resumes fail to open doors for interviews. Out of those who survive up to the interview stage, many bow out of the race because they fail to project their own value to the employers. Finally, the winner is someone who survives all through and proves to be the best among fellow survivors.

If you have been looking for a new job for quite some time and are in the mode of blaming lack of opportunities, education, experience, luck, age, etc. for your current situation, it’s time you shifted focus to the way you are playing the game. Specifically, pay attention to the following five steps.

Play by the rules
It was Albert Einstein who said: “You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else.” Play by the following rules:

● Rule of least effort: At every stage of your job search, ensure that employers spend least effort (and time) while dealing with you.

● Rule of Needs and Means: Your success lies in understanding employer’s needs and then showing that you’ve the means (experience, education, skills) to satisfy those needs.

● Rule of seeds: If you want something to happen, plant more seeds—make more attempts and be prepared that many of these attempts will not bring the desired results.

● Rule of obsession: When you chase jobs that you are obsessed about, you are bound to succeed. Your obsession is your trump card.

● Rule of perceived value: What matters is not what you think about yourself, but how much value employers see in you.
Conduct smart job search
If you ask 500 different persons how they got their jobs, you might see two interesting insights emerging from the replies. First, there are not just two or three methods of searching for a job. There are at least 10 different ways of finding a job. Second, not all methods are equally effective. For example, seeking help from your colleagues and friends can be one of the most productive ways of getting a job.

The smart job search is about knowing all the different methods of spotting job opportunities and then focusing on the ones that promise quicker results.

Prepare compelling resume
Once you spot a job opportunity, it boils down to how compelling is your resume. In the job market, your resume is like a brochure about your capabilities. And employers treat it the same way you treat the brochures you come across in your daily life. If your resume is neat, relevant, simple, solid, sharp, short, solid and without mistakes, it can open doors for interviews and vice-versa.

Send impressive cover letters
An impressive cover letter accompanying a well-written resume can make a significant difference to your job prospects.

The purpose of a cover letter is to connect personally with a specific person on the other side and also to show how well positioned you are to meet and even exceed employer’s needs. Cover letter is a critical document as it makes the first impression.

Be a success at interviews
If everything goes well, you will reach the final stage—interview. How you conduct yourself, not just during the interview, but also before and after it, decides your ultimate fate. If you prepare well, avoid well-known pitfalls and follow proven strategies, you will come out a winner.

Scores of highly capable, sincere and hardworking people stay stuck in their jobs or suffer unemployment just because they lack the skills to survive and play the hiring game. You need not be among them. If you learn the above five steps, you might find it is after all not that difficult to get a new job.