The job search is an art, and a science. An art, because no two jobs hunts are alike—each person will see and respond to situations differently, and there is no one formula for success. A science, because there are some basic tasks and procedures that need to be followed in order to move forward effectively. This handout will give you the basics—what you absolutely need to know in order to conduct an effective job search.
Be prepared for a long process. In a recent survey of graduating college seniors, the average length for a job search was given as three months. Yours might take less—or more—time. Another survey suggests that a job-hunter should prepare to search for one month per every $10k they made in their previous job. Clearly, search times will vary depending on the state of the economy.
One thing is certain, however. Before beginning any job search, it is absolutely vital to be able to describe yourself, not only in terms of the position or job title you want, but in terms of:
* your skills
* your work values
* your interests
* your professional characteristics
You don't have to learn to "toot your own horn." You do have to be very clear about what you can offer an employer. If you feel you may have some difficultly doing this (and everyone does, at some point), see NEC Career and Life Planning (CLP) for some helpful tips and exercises.
“A job search is a series of planned conversations.” That’s it. If you can plan (and you can), you can do this. If you can speak and listen clearly (and you can – quietly, enthusiastically, doesn’t matter), you can do this. A job search is a series of planned conversations.
The actual job search takes a lot of work and is full of surprises. It involves a process of getting to know yourself and of beginning to articulate yourself in an entirely new way. But chances are, you know more about yourself than you think you do, and you’re a better communicator than you usually recognize. Take courage and proceed. You have absolutely nothing to lose.
For more information and assistance on the job search, see or email an advisor at New England College Career and Life Planning. And click on the links below:
Step 1: Research
Step 2: Your Contact List
Step 3: Planning Your Conversations
Step 4: Making Contact
Step 5: Phone Calls
Lastly: A Job Search Checklist