This guest post is contributed by Kate Willson, who writes on the topics of best online colleges. She welcomes your comments at her email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Whether you’re a recent college graduate or someone who's recently lost his or her job, you know that it's about time to kick off your job search. It's natural to feel a little intimidated nowadays, especially because the job market is so tough and doesn't seem to be getting any better. But don't let that get you down too much. If you can come up with a solid plan, one that works for you, then you'll be able to battle those bad feelings and be confident in your job hunt. Here are a few tips to consider as you kick off your job search.
The first thing you need to do is make a list of goals that you'd like to accomplish with this job search. Do you want to find a job in a different career path? Are you hoping for a job with higher pay? Do you need to get a job that works as a good entry-level position? How long can you afford to go jobless? Do you want to stay where you are or can you move? All of these goals—and more—will dictate how you go about your job search. For example, if you're goal is to find a job within three months, ask yourself how many applications you feel like you need to send out each week in order to make that a reasonable goal.
Establish a Routine
The first key to your job search is making sure you have a routine that you can follow every day. Remaining consistent in your approach to finding a job is one way to make sure you always have some action on your application somewhere out there. The biggest thing to do is get out of bed at a reasonable hour, and work throughout the day as if you were already employed. Split your day into chunks based on your job-hunting goals. For example, devote your morning to searching out new positions. Compile these, put them in a spreadsheet, and then break for lunch. When you come back, work on your existing applications, composing and revising cover letters, tweaking your resume, and following up with your personal and professional references.
Ask for Help
At some point during your job hunt, you will need to ask for help. Talk to your friends who have gone through the process recently and ask for their advice. Contact a career advisor at your former college or university, or if you're too far away from school, then consider talking to a mentor figure who might also be able to help. Don't be afraid to alert your friends and family about your job hunt, as they might be able to help you find leads to check out.
Finally, you must follow through. No amount of planning and scheduling will help you find a job if you cannot follow through on your plans. At the end of every week, you must be able to point to a list of jobs to which you applied. You must be able to show a friend this list and explain what you did in order to send these applications out. You must prepare for an interview, even if you don't have one scheduled. By following through on your promises, you hold yourself accountable for your failures and your successes. After all, the job hunt is for you and no one else.