2019 January 07
Your Job Is To Find A Job
During your career, you used your experience and skill set to support an employer. Usually, with minimum or no supervision, you organized your environment, created a prioritized task list, found solutions to issues, and did what is needed to perform your tasks and achieve your goals.
Now, you find yourself wondering what to do now that you no longer report to anyone.
Although your employment situation has changed, your abilities have not. It is now time to use your capabilities for your own benefit.
Your job? You are now the CEO of your own company and your company’s product is your skill set. Your tasks? Find a position, sell your product (i.e. your skill set), and obtain a job offer.
In other words, your job is to find a job.
Build a workstation
Finding a job is a full-time job. To be successful, you need to treat it that way. You are probably wondering how to proceed. Think back to when you started a new job. What is the first thing that happens? You are usually given a workstation. A space where you are told to perform your job.
This has not changed.
Find a place at your home and designate it to be your workstation. This place should be comfortable but away from distraction.
Like all workstations, it should contain the items you need to perform your job – a computer (laptop or desktop) with an Internet connection, a phone (land line or cell phone, with space for the latter’s charger), a printer, notepad, two folders (one for printed information and the other for business cards), pens or pencils and a stapler. Arrange this workstation as you would arrange your work desk.
Understand your product
No CEO can successfully sell their product unless they fully understand what their product is. Your product is your skill set.
Sit down and start listing out what you bring to the table. Especially list how the various companies you worked for benefited from your skills.
Note: your skill set is not your job title. When you write down your skills, do not have a job title in mind. If you think of a job title, you will start listing your duties for that job. Your duties are not your skill set. You use your skill set to perform those duties.
Be honest. Do not be modest. Now is not the time to marginalize your capabilities. A skill you might think as minor could be of great importance to an employer. With that said, do not exaggerate. You should be able to defend any capabilities you have and back it up with real examples from your previous employment.
Know your strengths and weaknesses
Once you complete the list of your skill sets, create a list of your strengths and weaknesses.
When CEOs sell their products, they emphasize the strengths of their product. You should be doing this as well. Companies want to know what you can do for them. In other words, why should they hire you? Your strengths are your selling points. You should know them, memorize them, and be able to present them with confidence.
Regarding your weaknesses, this understanding is for you. Companies ask, “What is your weakness?” for two reasons: 1) Are you able to self-analyze and 2) Are you doing anything about it? Again, be honest. Actually write down your weaknesses. Analyze and understand your weaknesses. If your weaknesses are lack of knowledge or lack of a skill, go to the internet and start researching to gain that knowledge or skill. There are free training sites available. If your weakness is behavioral or personality-based, again research ways to improve them.
The passage I like using is: “I don’t know is a temporary condition.”
Develop your marketing materials
Now that you understand your product, you need to develop your brand. Your brand is what you are known for. This could be an effective motivational speaker, a process efficiency expert, a troubleshooter extraordinaire or a person who is known to get things done.
You now need to create marketing materials that showcase your brand. In this case, it is your resume.
There are plenty of examples for the development of brands and resumes on the internet. Find one that best represents you.
Make sure your resume is easy to read. If companies cannot understand your product, they will not want to buy it.
Note: whatever resume you write, consider that resume as a starting point. Marketing materials are written to target specific markets (i.e. companies/job descriptions). During your job search, be ready to modify your resume to match the needs of each company/job description (i.e. your targeted market).
Other marketing media available is LinkedIn, job sites, and personal websites. If you decide to utilize these medias, or other medias, make sure the content you use are consistent with your brand and resume.
Research your job
What is the next thing to do? Since your job is to find a job, try to figure out what this job entails by researching ways to obtain that offer.
There are various resources available to show different tactics to aid in your job pursuit. The Internet is usually the best source for these tips and strategies. However, make sure you view multiple sites since the level of expertise may vary. Check out independent reviews for these sites and utilize the ones that prove useful. Take notes and make sure you understand each tactic and how to proceed. Examples of tactics include Networking, Job Boards applications, LinkedIn Groups content contributions, Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) participation, joining Professional Groups, etc.
Not all tactics will work for you. You should select a handful of tactics to start with. Do not just use one. Once your job search starts, begin using each tactic as the situation, and your schedule, permit. If some prove not to be useful, try another tactic on your list.
Start by setting up a work schedule. For example, you may want to start your job at 9 a.m., take an hour for lunch at noon, and complete your day at 6 p.m.
You may assign yourself to job board searches and online applications during the morning hours. Or, you may decide that Monday afternoons will be dedicated to following up with recruiters through emails or phone calls.
Make sure your week is scheduled. Enter your schedule on an online calendar which sends you email reminders. Whatever work schedule you create, make sure you follow it as this is your job’s daily routine.
You should also create a contact list. List the name, company, title, email address and phone numbers (land line and cell) of recent co-workers, professional friends and relatives. Contact them to fill in the blanks in your contact list, as well as ask them for any insight, news or potential opportunities.
Every day, you should create and keep an updated to-do list. Once your job search begins, it will be very easy to lose track or forget the various tasks that need to be done. Give each item a deadline and make sure you meet it. Examples could be updating your resume, creating a cover letter template, setting up a LinkedIn account or networking with specific individuals (or a certain number of them). You may want to include networking goals for every day.
At the end of the day, make sure you review your list, check off completed items, and add new tasks for the following days.
Finally, create a list of every company you have applied to. Use this list to keep track of the multiple positions you have applied for, as well as the individuals and companies you have given a resume to.
The list should include information such as the date applied, the name of the company and its location, the position’s title and job identification number, where you applied for it – the website or the hiring manager or recruiter’s name – and the status of the application. This list will give you a quick review of all your applications so that you do not drop the ball on these opportunities.
Get To Work
You have set up your workstation, prepared your marketing materials, did your research, and became organized. Now get to work.
Go to your workstation and start work at the time you stated in your schedule. Review your calendar and your to-do list and start working on what you have scheduled for today.
If your resume is not already updated, start on that first. When finished with your resume, create a cover letter template. Make sure your LinkedIn Profile is updated and matches your updated resume. These three items need to ready at a moment’s notice.
If you have a Facebook, Twitter or other social media account, make sure you do not have content that employers and recruiters may frown upon – dirty language, embarrassing photographs, raunchy jokes, political or social views, alcohol or drug use, for example.
Start networking using your contact list and set up meetings (emails, Skype, phone calls and face-to-face) to let prospective employers and recruiters know that you are “available for other opportunities.” When meeting with prospective employers, have the mindset “How many I help you succeed?”. Companies hire solutions to their problems/needs. Utilizing that mindset can increase a company’s interest in you.
Do not ask for a job. This may be too blunt of an approach and will likely put your contact on-the-spot and on the defensive. Instead, ask for their help and advice. Ask them to review your resume and if they can offer suggestions. This request will have them willing to review your resume thoroughly. After reading your resume, they may remember of a position they heard about and forward you a lead.
Also, ask for recommendation for recruiters that your contacts have dealt with in the past and ask for those recruiters’ contact information. In addition, ask hiring managers who know you if they can be your references. If they say yes, you may have a person who is in position to help you get a foot in the door.
Remember to …
Keep focus. It may be tempting to start catching up on TV and movies that you missed. Remember that when you were employed, you did not goof off at work. This should not be any different.
Leave your ego at the door. A person’s ego can be a major obstacle in any job search. It may have been some time since your last job search and times have changed. Your expectation may have to adjust accordingly. Be open and be ready to adapt.
Be patient. Just like any business, competition is tough. It takes time to get customers (companies) to notice your product (you). Just like any CEO, get out there and sell your product. Use a multi-prong advertising attack (e.g. LinkedIn, joining a networking organization(s), relatives, friends and former co-workers networking for you, job fairs, headhunters, company and Internet job boards, etc.) to get the word out. Let everyone know that you are available. Your success is dependent on you doing your job. Remember, in this case, you only need one client.
Finding a new job is a full-time job. Don’t panic and swamp yourself in tasks. Manage your workload sensibly. Keep a proper state of mind. By creating a professional environment for yourself, you now have a home-based business where you are both the CEO and the product. Just like any work environment, your success is highly dependent on what you put into it and doing what needs to be done to achieve your goal – which is finding yourself a new job.
Redentor A. Gonzales
Education and Training Committee
South Bay Professional Association