Now that you have gathered your information,
there is one more source to check out. The most important source,
yourself. Be sincere. Know your limitations but also know your abilities
and strengths, along with your aspirations.
Regardless of how you conduct your research,
what you do with the information you have gathered is what will
make the difference of getting the job you want. Its amazing how
a person can be SO organized and efficient when working for someone
else but can be incredibly lax when it comes to organizing their
own lives. I came to this realization during my last job search.
Granted, when working for other people, you have to keep them pleased.
After all, they have to sign off on your paycheck and, you're
not going to fire yourself. This way of reasoning is a major mistake.
Be as organized for yourself as you would be for an employer. Do
something about it to execute a job search that gets results - now!
Keep files and logs on the companies and positions
applied for along with the lists you have compiled. Sort your job
leads into your A, B and C categories then stack them into a pile
with your A list on top. You want to be sure to attend to those
first. Mark the folders as: "Resumes to Send"; "Resumes Sent/Responses"
and "Resume" which will hold a current copy your resume (if you
have more than one version, emphasizing different strengths and
experiences, keep a copy of each). This way, if someone calls you
back, you know exactly what they were looking at, and its at your
fingertips - by your phone.
Start sending out your resume with a brief
cover letter (if its too long, they're not going to want to
read it, keep it under one page). Write follow-up notes on the copy
of the ad you respond to. Include the date you faxed or mailed your
initial response. Faxing a resume immediately shows your interest.
(If the ad came out on Sunday, fax it by Monday or Tuesday.) Call
and ask for the name of the HR person to whom you should send the
letter. Most companies that place classified ads strongly discourage
this. However, you may make a quick inquiry as to the name of the
HR person (it doesn't hurt). Be polite with the person you
speak to and get their name. A receptionist can carry a lot more
weight than you think. She can connect you to the right person,
give effective suggestions and even make sure your messages are
received before others. If you're rude - tough luck! If she's
rude, you haven't lost anything. Just keep it professional.
Keep going through your file each week. By
Friday, you should have sent responses to most of them and moved
them to the "Sent" file with your notes. Keep exploring your sources
and adding new items to your file. Keep up your momentum and routine.
You might want to spend one entire Saturday or perhaps a few hours
a night. Whatever you choose, a consistent pattern or routine can
assure you don't slack.
After a job interview, fax over a brief "thank
you note" the following morning. This shows surprising initiative,
and that you can be efficient and effective. It's impressive and
can give you an edge. (But be sure that you can live up to it if
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