It’s no secret that you must master certain skills and mind-sets to accomplish almost anything in life. This includes job hunting. You must step out of your comfort zone if you really want to get hired this year. Here are 10 steps that can help:

1) Understand the reality of job hunting—it’s all about promoting yourself and your talent.

The skills you have, and may take for granted, are just what a new employer is looking for. The fact that what you do for a living comes easily to you, makes you very attractive to hiring managers. Be confident.

Plan a job hunt work schedule, then work the plan. Make a commitment to yourself. The right frame of mind is as important as how you search for your new job. Learn to adjust your job hunting attitudes. Don’t quit until you succeed.

2) Assess yourself.

Identify and write down your skills, values, needs, interests and work habits. What skills do you have that are transferable into another field?

3) Determine your objectives.

What type of position do you really want? What type of employer is right for you (large, small, non-profit, corporate)? Do you have geographical preferences? Would you consider a different job until the job you really want becomes available? Knowing what you’ll accept before you begin a job search can help you zero in on the best targets quickly and effectively.

4) Create a career portfolio.

Prepare and gather the following documents and have them ready when needed: your resume, cover letter, post interview thank you note, letters of recommendation, college transcripts, certificates, diplomas, degrees (copies not originals), professional and personal references, awards and/or citations and copies of your last pay checks.

5) Make a support group.

Call upon friends, relatives, career counselors, religious leaders or professional career counselors and give each of them a task (such as researching job leads or prospective employers and ask the team to critique your interview presentation.)A team can do far more than an individual. When you get hired, take them all out for lunch.

6) Target employers.

Research potential employers and identify those that you think might be a good fit. You can easily start with your last company’s competitors or vendors. Find employers who have a need for your talents, then get the names of individuals at each organization who are responsible for the positions you want—even if these positions are not advertised.

7) Apply.

Apply for employment at each target company. Make sure your documents look professional and then email, mail or fax them to the person with the power to hire you. Clearly illustrate in your cover letter how you can be of value. Repeat this step until you get hired. Unfortunately, in this computer age, many companies will want you to apply online and you may not have a choice. Do both.

8) Go On Lots of Interviews.

Research the company before going on an interview. Know what the company is all about and how you can contribute to their goals. Dress appropriately, with reasonable conservatism (hiring managers see you before they interview you). Smile and be likeable—the most likeable person tends to get hired over the best qualified person—even if both have the same qualifications. Have answers prepared to key interview questions “Tell me about yourself?” “Why did you leave your last job?” “Why do you want to work here?” “How much money are you looking for?”

9) Accept or reject the job offer.

Mail a thank you note to everyone who interviewed you. If you receive an offer, write and state your appreciation, repeat the offer terms and indicate when you are able to start. If rejected, write and state your appreciation for their time and ask to be considered should a relevant position open up.

10) Evaluate the process.

If you don’t land your target job, ask yourself these questions:
• Have I done everything necessary?
• How well did I accomplish each step?
• Where and how can I improve?
• Should I seek the professional assistance of a trained career professional?

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