Creative Job Search
On-line Job Search Guide

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Goal Setting

Career Planning

During the average lifetime an adult will have many jobs, several different careers and will spend half their waking hours working. Yet, that same person will spend more time watching television in one week than they will spend in their lifetime planning for employment! Employment is more than a job. It shapes a big part of your life and deserves consideration. With the frequency that people change careers, it also deserves reconsideration throughout your work life. Career planning is a vast topic which we will not attempt to cover. If you have not planned your career, you are encouraged to do so now. Career counselors are available through schools, employment service providers and private organizations. There are many books available through the library or local book store.

Job Search Objective

You must have a job goal if you are to conduct an effective job search campaign. You cannot set out on your quest for employment looking for just anything. If you do, you will find yourself wandering through your job search wasting a lot of effort. Employers will quickly discern that you do not know what you want. This is very dangerous. It is comparable to a salesperson trying to sell a product without knowing its features. Salespeople know what their product can do and they know the market for their product. You must do the same. You need to target your job search campaign to those employers who need your skills and can offer you the opportunities you are seeking.

Your objective must be stated in terms of a job title or occupation.

Simply saying that you are looking for a good job that pays well is not enough. That is what most job seekers want. You need to identify the specific types of jobs for which you are qualified. This will help to focus your effort to those employers who support your employment objective. Furthermore, when you approach an employer it is critical that you tell them what it is you see yourself doing. You need to tell them the kind of work for which you are looking. Do not expect them to analyze your qualifications and tell you where you might fit into their organization.

As you establish clear objectives for your job search, conditions of employment, wages, location, hours, and benefits are important considerations. You may be looking for job security or advancement potential. Take the time to think about what you want from that next job.

Judy lived in a small town in Minnesota. She went to college and became a certified "Art Therapist." Full of hope, she pursued her dream. But she never worked as an Art Therapist. There simply are not many such jobs in small communities. Her job goal was not attainable because of her limitations.

Look for ways to expand your opportunities, not limit them. This means you may have to make some choices. Goals should be realistic and attainable. Keep this in mind when considering your expectations. The more criteria you put on the next job, the fewer the opportunities that will meet those criteria. A good strategy is to write down all the conditions that you would like in a job, then categorize them as "required," "desired" and "optional." If during your job search you find that you are not getting interviews, or that you are not finding jobs that meet your expectations, you should reevaluate your criteria for employment.

Jim was an experienced Tool and Die Maker who was laid off due to a plant closing. He was considered one of the best in his trade and was at the upper end of the pay scale. After investing 6 months in an exhaustive job search with no success, Jim was forced to reconsider his goals. His question was whether he should lower his expectations or expand the commutable distance he was willing to travel. His decision was to expand the distance and within a short time he secured employment that met his standards.

Transferable Skills and Your Job Search Goal

Transferable skills are another way to expand your job search. Once you have identified your skills, look for ways that they might transfer to other jobs. The transferability of self- management skills is obvious. All employers are looking for motivation and dependability. But many job skills are also transferable. Transferable job skills open doors to new opportunities.

Bob had extensive experience making ceramic figures. He mixed materials and extruded them into molds. Once the piece was set, it was then sanded and inspected. Since most ceramic companies are small, Bob was challenged to find opportunities that used his skills. Bob discovered the same basic extruding and finishing operations used to produce ceramic are used to work with plastics, light metals and even heavy foundry work.

Look for ways that your skills transfer to other employment opportunities. If you decide to pursue these opportunities, then your next challenge is to find effective ways to present these skills to a potential employer.

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This page was last updated on April 17, 1997
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Copyright © 1996, 1997 by Minnesota Department of Economic Security