So here you are, a brand new college graduate, brilliant person stuck in a dull job, young mom looking for part-time work, retiree hoping for a challenge, unemployed and desperate, or like me, a woman who will be graduating her last homeschooler and is considering re-entering the job market after a looong time away.
Like many life transitions, a job search requires a lot of work, thought, some help and, my favorite thing, a plan. Here's how we can begin.
- Our first step is to take a personal inventory. What actual skills and abilities do we have? This doesn't mean paid employment. The question is, what do I really know how to do? Am I an excellent swimmer and diver, am I multi-lingual, do I know how to landscape? It might be helpful to make a list of every talent and ability you possess and then ask people close to you what abilities they think you have.
- Next, we should list jobs we've held in the past and try to recall every task and responsibility we had in those positions, what skills we gained, what our job description was and any special projects we completed. Did we ever have any of our suggestions implemented? Did we add any extra value to that position, bring more business to our company, design a new way of doing something?
- We haven't necessarily been paid for all of our work experience. So what types of volunteer work or internships have we held? Treat these like paid jobs and again list everything just like you did in the step above.
- Now, looking at all of our work and volunteer experience, let's assess what we are qualified to do. I came across a helpful article by Wendy Boswell on About.com called The Top Eight Job Search Engines on the Web. As the article states, it lists the most used job search engines and includes descriptions about each one and the services that each provides. The search engines list jobs by professions or categories. So start looking at the fields you believe you're most qualified for and see if your skills match up with currently available jobs.
We're feeling a little more confident now because we have our long list of skills and abilities and we have looked at job search engines and have, hopefully, found some jobs we could apply for. But let's have a dream moment. What have we always really wanted to do but have never pursued? What's our dream job? It's our moment to temporarily throw away practicality and imagine that perfect job.
Is it really possible for us to be hired for our dream job? Let's consider what we can do versus what we would like to do. Maybe this is the big push we've always needed to pursue our dream. In order to make the dream happen we have to be honest with ourselves.
- Do we have the necessary qualifications for that kind of work?
- Do we have to take classes or get special training and would that be feasible based on our current needs and life situation?
- If we have years of accounting experience, but our true passion is horses, what types of jobs are available that would allow us to work with horses and what kind of training do we need?
- Are we willing or able to make the sacrifices to make our dream job a reality? Our biggest concern might be the need to put food on the table, so dreaming of being a rodeo clown might not be possible. Not right now anyway, but maybe when we do get the bread and butter job we need, we can take whatever is the first step to making our dream job our real job.
Just a few more things we need to think about with any kind of job search.
Are we willing to re-locate? Some areas just have more jobs available than others and we might have to consider moving.
Also, who do we know that might be able to help us find work, neighbors, co-workers, Facebook friends? Most of us know a lot of people and we shouldn't be shy about letting them know we are looking for a job. This is still one of the most popular ways people obtain jobs.
There is so much more to explore about job searches, such as what salary we can expect, self-employment and free-lance work, and generating multiple sources of income. All topics for future blog posts.
Are you looking for a job? What steps are you taking? What would be your dream job?