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VOL. 129 | NO. 76 | Friday, April 18, 2014

Angela Copeland

Unconventional Career Advice

By Angela Copeland

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Conventional wisdom seems to indicate that the steps to finding a new job are writing a resume, and then applying to job postings online. Soon after, every company will contact you for an interview and after one meeting, you’ll get a great offer and start just a few weeks later. Months after trying this method, jobseekers feel frustrated and confused.

To avoid this job search burnout, try something a little different. First, start out by doing more than looking for the quick fix. Establish relationships within companies you’re interested in – whether or not they have an open position today. This boils down to expanding your network, so when a position does come open down the road, the company will already know you. They may even approach you with a job opportunity before you hear about it.

Once your resume is in good shape, stop spending all of your time revising it. You do need a solid resume. But, having a great resume is only a small part of the job search process. If you think spending endless hours toiling over semicolons and fonts is going to get you your next job, think again. The important work comes in person, not from behind your computer screen.

Practice your elevator speech. When attending networking events, be prepared to talk about who you are, and what you’re great at. Keep your story brief, and interesting. People remember stories. Focus on details that reflect what you want to do in the future, not the work you want to avoid.

Consider getting personal business cards, especially if you’re not working or if you want to switch industries. Keep them simple, with at least your name, phone number and email address. Don’t introduce yourself with an explanation as to why your last company was awful, why you were fired or why you hate your boss. Keep it positive and focus on your strengths.

Don’t assume a headhunter will find your next job. Many candidates turn their resume over to a large firm and don’t take responsibility for their own search. Although they can be helpful, placement firms only touch a small percentage of all of the new jobs created. Finding your next job is your job.

Last, be realistic about how long your next job search will take. At the beginning of your career, you could accept a range of positions, at almost any pay, in multiple locations. As you age, your responsibilities grow. You may have a family, a house and ties to a city. These commitments limit your choices. This is OK, but the more requirements you have, the fewer jobs there are that will fit. And the fewer jobs there are, the longer it takes to find one. Set your expectations accordingly.

There’s no one silver bullet to finding your next job. It takes hard work and patience. But, taking control of your search rather than turning it over to the Internet or a recruiter will yield more positive results overall.

Angela Copeland is CEO/founder of Copeland Coaching, www.CopelandCoaching.com, and author of “Breaking The Rules & Getting The Job.” You can follow Copeland Coaching on Twitter (@CopelandCoach) and Facebook (Facebook.com/CopelandCoaching).

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