Your alarm goes off on another Monday, and you drag yourself out of bed. After several huge sighs, you begin the process of getting ready for work. It appears that the time has come when no number of "Dilbert" cartoons adorning your cubicle walls is enough to stave off the discontent you have with your job. It's finally time to look further afield and find that perfect job. But where do you begin? With all of the jobs out there, and all of the jobseekers, it can be a tough run if you're not careful. If you're ready to move out and up, then it's time to create an action plan for finding some fresh, new employment.
What exactly is an action plan, though? Ultimately, a solid action plan will serve two main purposes: It can help you organize yourself in terms of research, and it helps you stay focused and motivated.
And when should you begin your action plan? Well, there's really no time like the present to begin creating your plan. Whether you're currently employed or actively looking for work, you can start some forward progress by beginning your search right away.
The first step in your action plan should be to take a good look at your current situation. What sort of goals do you have for yourself and for a new job? What are you really good at, and where might you be able to improve? Also, what is your value in your current position? Knowing what you want in a job will help you narrow down your potential employers. Also, being able to sell yourself effectively, while also noting the areas you can improve, will ensure that you're presenting yourself in a great light. Finally, if you're able to go into a job interview with a realistic idea of what you're worth, you'll be able to negotiate with more confidence.
The second step is to really research your overall goals for your career. Look for the potential growth within a company or industry, as you'll want to work for a place that allows you some upward movement. Also, take a hard look at the actual company and how it's different from other companies within the same industry. Knowing what makes an organization stand out against others will help you decide if it's a good fit for you. [source: UC Berkley].
Once you've figured out what you want and where you stand, it's time to move to solidifying your action plan. Read on for more great tips for finding you that ideal job.
Effective Action Plans for Getting a New Job
So, your resume is in tip-top shape, and you've sold yourself perfectly on the application. You've gotten the call for an interview. Now, it's time to move into the second phase of your action plan: the research.
Prior to actually sitting down with your interviewer, you want to make sure that you have as much information about the company as possible. That way, when you're actually participating in the interview, you'll have the knowledge and confidence to answer any of the questions he or she might throw at you.
Begin with gathering some basic information about the company -- this information can be anything from its global reach to the basic mission of the organization. Also, you'll want to have as much information about the specific job you're applying for so you can speak to specific skills and qualifications. Having this vital information will mean that you can make a show of going point for point with your skills versus the listed qualifications. Also, the ability to speak to specific aspects of the job will show the interviewer that you've done your homework [source: University of Ottawa].
Once you've gotten all of your research done, it's a good idea to know what you're walking into. Being able to answer standard questions about your background and work experience in a confident manner will help tremendously in your interview. Having some answers prepared and rehearsed will allow you to present yourself in the best possible light [source: UC Berkley].
Finally, you'll want to be engaged throughout the interview, and that means asking questions. It's a good idea prepare some questions of your own prior to your interview. These questions can be specific ones about the position you're applying for, or they can be more general questions about the organization as a whole.
While looking for a job can be a stressful activity, having laid out your values, goals and research in an organized action plan will help relieve some of that stress.
- University of California, Berkley. "6 Steps to a Job Action Plan." 2012. (March 25, 2012) http://alumni.berkeley.edu/services/career-services/resources/articles/job-search/6-steps-job-seach-action-plan
- University of Ottawa. "Job Search Tools." 2012. (March 25, 2012) http://www.sass.uottawa.ca/careers/tools/interview.php