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Blog: Can We Have Some Order Here?
Planning Your Job Search

In this economy, there are more people than ever looking for work -- that means greater competition for each available position. While you may be the most qualified applicant, credentials alone won't get you hired if you aren't organized in your search. Here are some tips for maximizing your chances of finding the best possible job.

Expectations And Options

Even in tough times, a job search doesn't have to be about taking absolutely ANYTHING that comes along (at least until the point that your unemployment payment runs out!) You have certain job skills, and your goal should be to find a position that will allow you to make use of your talents. But you can't recognize the perfect job opportunity until you know what you're looking for -- and you have to be clear about your strengths and preferences before you can articulate those to a potential employer. Start by asking yourself not only what you're qualified to do, but what you enjoy doing. And rather than thinking just in terms of those positions you have held in the past, try to see the bigger picture -- look beyond your job description at your actual responsibilities. You might have been in charge of putting together the annual meeting and summer picnic each year (and had fun with that part of your job, even though you were officially in marketing) -- nothing wrong with considering work in the event planning industry. Make a list of your strengths, your skills, and your favorite work activities -- and keep this list in front of you as you consider possible job opportunities. You never know when a perfect match will come along, under a different professional title than you were expecting.

Modern job-searching isn't like the old days when you sat down at the kitchen table with the "help wanted" ads. These days, the internet is a job-seeker's best friend. While your local paper is still a great way starting point, don't forget about all the online job boards out there. The granddaddy of them all is Monster.com, but a Google search will turn up dozens of sites, including specialty listing services for your particular industry. But don't expect a job to just fall in your lap, simply because you submitted a resume in response to an online listing. Remember that with advanced technology also comes increased competition -- instead of going up against a couple dozen local job-seekers, you're now thrown into a pool of thousands of eager workers from all around the world. Personal relationships are more likely to help you get a job offer than impersonal job boards -- so get out there and network. The more people you meet in your chosen field, the more likely you are to tip over someone who is hiring -- so look into attending meeting of local business leaders, networking groups, and Chamber events to make connections. You can also make use of web-based headhunters and placement firms -- these helpful professionals will work on your behalf to get you hired in an appropriate position (for a small fee). It's a great service to consider if you work in a niche market or are having trouble connecting with companies on your own.

Get Your Paperwork In Order

Job-hunting is a very paper-intensive process -- so have a filing system in place from the very beginning. Rather than a series of hanging folders, I would suggest an expandable accordion organizer with divided sections or a set of pressboard files with built-in mounting clips -- that way, your papers can go with you to each interview and orientation session. Early in your search, you probably want to set up sections for general categories of information:

  • resume (have a couple of different versions that focus on your most relevant areas of expertise if you will be applying for different types of positions)
  • letters of reference (keep multiple copies of each)
  • documentation of any awards, certifications, degrees (copies -- you don't want to give out your originals)
  • job postings (keep a printout or copy of the job description on each position for which you are applying)
  • any other supporting documentation (copies of press clippings, mention in the company newsletter, etc.)
Once you have narrowed your search down to a few hot prospects, you may want to set up a file for each -- for copies of all correspondence related to that position. If you have crossed a company off of your list, simply re-purpose that file for the next job listing. It's also important for you to keep track of deadlines and follow-ups -- but this kind of information can overwhelm your existing day planner, if you're not careful. You may do better to set up a separate "job calendar" just for your search. Make not of each type of activity in a different color so you can easily identify which position a notation is referring to -- recording interview appointments, job fairs, resume submission deadlines, and call-back reminders. Good organizing skills can't guarantee that you will be hired by the first company with whom you interview -- but they will help you to be better prepared and make a more favorable first impression. Just remember that any boss is going to value an organized employee!

read the original post of this blog

posted on: 1/5/2012 11:30:00 AM by Ramona Creel
category: General Organizing Tips

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Can We Have Some Order Here?

by Ramona Creel

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About Ramona:

I have been a Professional Organizer for more than 10 years, I am a NAPO Golden Circle member, and I was the original founder of OnlineOrganizing. I have worked one-on-one with scores of clients and have trained dozens of newbie organizers as they got started in the industry. I provide both hands-on and virtual coaching to help clients improve their organizing skills and simplify their lives. I invite you to visit my website at http://www.RamonaCreel.com, and I challenge you to find one new idea that you can put into practice in your life, to help you become better organized, starting TODAY! I am passionate about coaching folks toward a more balanced, productive, and enjoyable life -- and I firmly believe that if I can do it, so can you!

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