By Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter
Ships of all sizes are built with one thing in mind: floating. Even if their hulls are breached, ships have a unique construction feature that allows them to continue floating. They are made of many compartments that can be sealed off in the event of an accident, to isolate what could otherwise be a dire situation.
Building your career vessel using these principles can also help to keep your job search afloat.
Consider this for a moment: It is no secret that searching for employment requires many steps along the way to success. Unfortunately, many job seekers try to do it all in one step, and then wonder why their "ship" is sinking.
You must seal off one compartment at a time, or take one step at a time if you hope to reach your destination intact.
1. Chart a specific course.
Start off by narrowing your job search to areas of interest or expertise. The old attitude of, "I'll take anything," rarely works out very well. One of two things typically happens: Either your qualifications don't line up with the needs of potential employers, or you end up in a position you hate.
2. Perform a systems check.
Next, check your career "tools" to ensure proper operation. Does your current resume reflect your accomplishments in a meaningful and well-written way? Does it focus clearly enough on your employment goals? If not, replace it. Do you have a set of cover letters that distinctly address your intended audience and properly introduce you to a potential employer? You should have one for posting online, one for recruiters and one to use when applying for positions that are available with employers that may already know you.
3. Tune up LinkedIn.
What about your LinkedIn profile? If you are constantly fielding inquiries for jobs you have no interest or skill in, it could probably use some adjusting.
4. Tighten up your interviewing skills.
Once these three items are taken care of, it may be time to brush up on those interview skills. Many golden opportunities have been lost in the interview office. A myriad of online resources are available to those who may be lacking in this arena. If you're not comfortable going it alone, then consider the services of an interview coach to put you through the paces and prepare you for today's challenging interview processes.
5. Tweak your training.
If all of these things are in order, and you still find yourself wanting, take stock of your skills and/or education and see if there isn't some tweaking that could be done. If you have the time and resources available, furthering your education is never a waste of effort or time. In this fast-paced technology-driven world, those who don't stay current will be left behind.
By dealing with each of these "compartments" one at a time, you will be better able to bring laser focus to each one. Seal it off, and then move on to the next one.
The employment seas are wrought with danger. Equip yourself and be well prepared before heading out towards the horizon.
Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter is a Glassdoor career and workplace expert, chief career writer and partner with CareerTrend, and is one of only 28 Master Resume Writers (MRW) globally. An intuitive researcher, she helps professionals unearth compelling career story details to help best present their unique experience, skillset and interests in resumes and other career positioning documents as well as through social media profiles.
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