Finding a job or making a career change can often prove to be a "job" in itself. And it's a job for which most people get no formal training. Effective job searching requires research and strategy as well as old-fashioned common sense.
Creating a job-search strategy will keep you grounded, less stressed, and ultimately more successful. If your search needs a boost, think as a journalist would—but with yourself as the lead story. Focus on the “Who, What, When, Where, and How.”
- Target a specific industry and position. Don’t waste time searching or applying for jobs you don’t really want.
- Identify the type of employer you think you’d be interested in—large, small, entrepreneurial, nonprofit?
- Identify “age friendly” employers by visiting the AARP National Employer Team and RetirementJobs.com Web sites.
- Assess yourself. What are you looking for in a job? What are your “must-haves” and your “nice-to-haves”? What are the things that don’t matter to you?
- Look at all options—full time, temporary, part-time, contract, or seasonal work; consider a broad range of jobs and industries.
- Know your skills and match them to the job you are seeking.
- Consider a job with less responsibility if you’re changing careers.
When:- If you have recently been laid off, take a couple of weeks if you can to get that experience behind you. Rather than jumping in and trying to get interviews, focus on developing your job-search strategy. If you have to, consider a part-time job to generate needed cash.
- Carve out a specific time to begin and end your job-search efforts each day.
- Spend about 4–6 hours a day on your search, but make sure you add some variety. For example, do industry research for an hour, research employers for an hour, then do some networking and follow-up with contacts.
- Be sure to take time for yourself and your family. A balanced life is as important when you’re looking for a job as when you’re working.
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