Focus on a Job Seeking Plan of Action
A job seeker, including someone who is re-entering the work force due to a layoff or career change, should approach his or her search in five sequential steps:
- Acquire a career/job focus
- Analyze employment opportunities
- Develop job search strategies
- Implement marketing plan
- Interview and negotiate
Job hunters frequently bypass the first three steps and go to the fourth without actually developing a plan of action. This is ill advised. Before launching into a job search one should decide:
- What jobs to seek
- Where the best jobs are
- How best to locate these jobs
The most difficult and crucial step is the first: acquire a career focus. This step requires that the individual determine not only the general nature of employment sought, but also the specific responsibilities involved and types of settings in which one is most likely to perform these jobs.
A prospective employee might establish as a primary focus to secure a position as a resource manager, concentrating in employee compensation/benefits and/or staff development in an educational, social service or advocacy agency within a two-hour radius of Pittsburgh.
While this advice may seem very simple and obvious, many job seeks who do not establish their focus can be in for problems later. A person with a degree in, for example, graphic arts can work in a number of different departments for a number of different companies, so that person should decide: do I want to work for a government agency? Do I enjoy the fast-paced work environment at a printing company or would a position in a big corporation's publications department be more my style? If you don't have insight into what kinds of environments you want to be a part of or what kind of responsibilities you'd like to have, it may be difficult to seem focused in a job interview.
Some can acquire these insights through prior experience, self-introspection, and the assistance of family and friends. Those who don't feel comfortable developing a focus through these means (or those who are unable to) can enlist the services of a career counselor. These counselors assist a worker in issues, offering information and working one-to-one to set a goal. These counselors use a variety of techniques, sometimes using a sort of "career test" to find out where your basic skills and knowledge are best utilized. Some employ personalities tests, which can give a person some insight into what traits or weaknesses they have.
These counselors may use techniques previously unknown or unused by their client. If your job search doesn't seem to be taking you where you want to go, you may try enlisting someone to help you on your way.