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New Year, New Career!

3 simple tips to help you make a faster and easier career change

As a leading Career Coach, I’m seeing that many professionals make the mistake of posting their resume on a job board, or handing their resume to a recruiter, and then just sitting back and waiting for the phone to ring. In today’s tough job market, you need to be much more proactive and strategic to make a career change.

My clients have had great success including doubling their opportunities and cutting their job search time in half by following my three simple job hunting rules…

1. Think up, down and sideways.

The biggest mistake job hunting professionals make is looking for a position with the exact same title they had in their last job. Instead, consider looking at smaller companies and going one-level up, as well as larger companies and going one-level down.

Additionally, many companies don’t require you to have industry experience, only expertise in a specific job function, so you can also double your opportunities by applying for jobs in a variety of industries.

For example, if you’ve been working in advertising agencies, then be sure to target organizations that have in-house advertising, marketing, or communications departments. Or, if you’ve been in sales, finance, engineering, or administration in a certain industry (such as health care, high tech, or construction), start applying for those same jobs in other industries.

Finally, it’s not mandatory for you to meet 100-percent of the requirements in a job description before you apply. A good rule of thumb is to have at least 75-percent of the skills and experience required, and express in your cover letter and interviews that you’re a quick learner, flexible, and passionate about the position and the company. Your resume will get you an interview.  Your attitude and confidence will get you the job.

2. Create a strategic job search plan.

It’s easier to catch fish when you know where the fish are, and it’s easier to get hired when you know which companies are hiring.  Find out where your potential employers are by reading job boards (CareerJournal.com, theLadders.com, etc.), as well as industry publications, business journals, and company websites. You’ll be able to learn which industries are hiring, which companies are hiring and what the hot jobs are!

Company websites: Create a list of companies where you would like to work. Visit their website weekly for on-line job postings, and announcements for departments expanding.

On-line job boards: Some job search sites are notorious for listing outdated jobs, or jobs with no contact information. Why waste your time? Instead, make a list of job search sites that offer high quality jobs. Conduct a search on Google or Yahoo for the job role and the city you want (example: marketing director, Portland). Review all the sites listed on the top three or four pages, and bookmark only those sites that list promising job opportunities.

You’ll find that each site varies in the quality of positions listed (lower-level to senior-level, as well as salary ranges), plus the type of industries, or vertical sectors, listed. Some sites may also do a better job than others updating their lists, or publicizing openings in your city.  Focus your attention only on those sites.

Once you’ve created a list of your targeted companies and favorite job boards, make a commitment to review those sites weekly.

3. Work your network.

The #1 way job candidates are getting hired in today’s market is by getting a referral within the organization.  That means, you need to make it a priority to get connected, and stay connected, to people who could hire you, or introduce you to others who could potentially hire you. Get re-connected with past employers, customers, and colleagues. Meet new contacts by attending industry conferences, trade shows, business networking events, and association meetings that target the industry (high tech, health care, etc.), or the job role (marketing, finance, management, etc.) you want. Try to attend a couple of events each month.

Also, you never want to give the impression that you’re hungry for a job. Instead, you want to be seen as someone who’s resourceful, knowledgeable, and has a wide network. Send out personalized notes and e-mails with information that you think would interest them such as links to reports, case studies, press releases, videos or websites. Invite them to business networking events, and introduce them to other movers and shakers in your network. Influencers are drawn to those who are resourceful.

The goal is to create a pull relationship with your network so that they are drawn towards you (not running away from you!)

When you’re searching for a new job, remember to stay focused in what you want, stay positive, and believe in yourself. It takes persistence and patience – but you WILL find those companies who jump at the opportunity to hire you!!

Your assignment:

Create your “job search strategy.”

Expand your career opportunities by researching job openings across various industries advertised on company websites and job boards (such as Monster.com and CareerBuilder.com). Read a variety of job descriptions to determine if you have the right mix of skills, experience and expertise. If you match at least 75% of the job requirements – then apply! (Nobody meets 100% of the job qualifications except the person who just left that job! )

After you find a job you want to apply for, then customize your resume to meet the job description and ask your network for recommendations and referrals.

By following these three strategies you’ll be well on your way to a new career!

Sherri Thomas is a blogger for JenningsWire, a blogging community created by Annie Jennings.

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