Recent Grads: Improve Your Job Search With 5 More Tips

By Lea McLeod

     Do you have a clear goal for your job search plan? Do you have processes set up to support you throughout?
In my last post we talked about the first five suggestions I have for improving your job search.
They were:

1. Set a goal.
2. Create a structured workspace.
3. Create your personal profiles.
4. Target your desired employers.
5. Develop your job search strategies.

     Now, let's look at the next five tips you can leverage to improve your job search process, and the results you get!
Without a clear goal, and a good job search strategy, you'll end up wandering in the proverbial desert and get discouraged pretty quickly.
     Here are 5 more ideas to help you Find a Job Faster!

6. Craft your compelling self-marketing messages.

     Remember those personal profiles you developed earlier? Well now that you are ready for the search process, use them to develop your key messages. This is the time to construct your resume and cover letter templates using keywords and messages to attract your desired employers.
     Create your interview stories and responses to typical questions. Prepare to talk about your strengths, weaknesses, skills and value proposition.
     Make sure all your social media profiles, including LinkedIn, are consistent with the image you want to project. Ensure your online and offline persona are aligned, and present you as an attractive candidate to your targeted employers.

7. Practice your delivery.

     This is a big one for recent grads. Many of you don't have a lot of deep interview experience. Practice is one way you can overcome that. I really encourage you to sit down with someone else and tell them what you are learning; about yourself, the employers, the market.
     Practice answering interview questions and sharing what you've learned in the conversational tone you would hope to achieve in an interview. Ask anyone who's booted an interview on this point: outlining your answers in writing is not the same as practicing them out loud.
     If you are really ambitious, record yourself practicing. Then play it back and notice what you like (and want to improve) about your verbal and non-verbal messages.

8. Develop your plan.

     A plan is important, because you need to know what you are going to do each day to move your job search forward.
     Otherwise, you'll quickly lose steam, and confidence, and start thinking about (i) working at Starbucks, or, (ii) going back to graduate school.
     Your plan should include what you'll do each and every day to pursue the employers you've identified. In that plan you'll use each of the job search strategies you've identified. Each day, your plan can include: online searches, social media, networking, informational interviews, offline contacts and more.
     Create a plan for each week and write it out. Identify tasks for each day and plop them into your calendar. At the top of your plan, write the goal you identified in step 1. Let this be your guiding light throughout the process.
"The method of the enterprising is to plan with audacity and execute with vigor." - John Christian Bovee

9. Execute. Execute. Execute.

     OK, you're up! Time to execute. Take your plan, get settled into your workspace and start moving. Make your phone calls, ask for introductions, schedule the informational interviews, do the research you need on employers and jobs.
     Assume that you'll spend the equivalent hours each day that a job would demand. This job search is, in effect, your real job now.
     As you go through the tasks you have lined out on each day, block a certain amount of time to focus only on those actions and nothing else. 20 minutes works for a lot of people. Maybe your time chunk is 15, 30 or 50. Use what works for you.
     During that designated time chunk, turn off all your distraction devices, avoid your personal texts, email and social media. Use those later as a reward for getting your job search stuff done. Notice if you are procrastinating, or distracting yourself, and work on any bad habits.
After your set period of time, take a quick break, get a drink, and then get back to it. Lather, rinse, repeat until quitting time arrives.

10. Reflect and Revise.

     At the end of the week, block an hour or so to review the week.
What wins did you have? What are you particularly proud of doing? Maybe you made a cold call and it went well. Maybe you had an informational interview and you felt like you made a great impression. Jot all that down.
     Then think about what you want to do differently for next week. What would you like another shot at doing better? Maybe prepare better for an interview? Or perhaps you didn't really stretch on reaching out to new contacts. Jot that down.
     Finally, spend some time creating your plan for next week. Identify your goals and then slice them into daily tasks. See where you can get more wins, and work on the stuff you want to improve.
When you spend the time to plan out your job search, do the research and prepare to succeed, you will get better results for your effort. You'll also have a great interview story to tell about how you planned and executed your job search project!

For a more detailed look at all these steps, download my audio tele-class recording - Job Search Secrets for New Grads. It's free, and in the second session you'll hear a deep dive into creating a job search plan.
We help recent grads find a job after college, and keep it once they have it. Join us on Facebook!

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