Admit it, you may not be sure how to start your job search, or
what are the most effective job search techniques. Sometimes you
aren't even sure exactly what career or job you want to do now.
Many women want to restart a career after beginning a family, but
with years out of the workforce they question their own worth and
whether anyone would hire them. The job search process seems
downright scary causing many women to stay on the sidelines. Sure
there are pitfalls, lots of advice both good and bad, plus plenty
of competition vying for the jobs.
Having a workable action plan will take away some of your
uneasiness. To get started:
Soul Search. Career happiness is a result
of aligning your skills, your values and your interests. Do some
self-analysis. Define the skills that you can offer an employer. Be
sure to note any volunteer work you have performed that will be
greatly valued by employers. Consider: What do I want to do? Where?
Part-time or full? Narrow down the career options that seem ideal
for you. Employers hire you to do a specific job and expect you to
be able to define exactly what you can do to fit their need.
Applying for everything and anything only wastes time--yours and
the employer's. It's better to identify your top strengths and
assess your abilities and experience (paid and volunteer). Consider
what interests you most and focus on how to best apply your talents
in a career in which you have a passionate interest. Research the
potential job options available and select one or two interesting
job titles to pursue.
Be ready to work. Employers hate working
parents who don't show up and have proven to be undependable. Be
prepared to clearly illustrate that you have solid, dependable
daycare and a reliable backup plan so you won't skip out every time
Johnny gets a runny nose. Consider setting up a co-op arrangement
with other parents or neighbors to cover for you when your kids are
sick. Anticipate any overtime requests, travel, and commute time
too, when selecting a daycare which may have very ridged hours of
service. A positive, "I will deliver the results needed" attitude
will go along way to aid you in landing a job.
Know where to find good leads. According
to a recent study from the Society of Human Resources Managers, 86%
of employers use online recruitment advertisements for open jobs.
The Department of Labor stated that less than 4% of job seekers
found their job on the Internet, and most of those were posted on
the employer's website. According to the Department of Labor,
networking accounts for 63% of all jobs filled. 63%! Start with
everyone you know. Ask for referrals – people they know whom
you should contact, anyone who might help pass your resume inside
their company, or ask for names of other companies you should
investigate. It's better to be direct and say, "I'm job hunting. Do
you know anyone over at XYZ company?" versus, "Heard of any jobs? I
Write a winning resume and cover letter.
Employers give resumes less than a 15-second glance so a vague
resume gets trashed immediately. Demonstrate results! A one-page
resume stressing actions and noting results, such as increasing
revenues, decreasing expenses, saving time or improving production
are most influential. Use action verbs. Start each sentence with a
powerful, descriptive action verb — such as established,
managed, organized, etc. Proofread! Employers cited spelling and
typographical errors among the top mistakes job hunters make. Cover
letters are influential–use them. Apply FAST! Employers call
the strong early-birds first, often leaving hundreds of resumes
Be armed and ready for the interview.
Employers make snap decisions. They state that most people lose the
job in the first minute of the interview. Inappropriate attire is
the worst culprit. Dress professionally. To be ready for the tough
questions, practice writing out good answers to potential questions
ahead of time. Role-play an interview with a friend to better
prepare and eliminate nervousness. Keep answers to less than one
minute, and use specific examples from your past experience
whenever possible. Display a positive, eager-to-learn, enthusiastic
attitude. It is a key trait employers want. And finally,
always send a handwritten thank you
note-- emails are too quickly forgotten.