Now that you have your resume complete, you’re ready to begin your job search in earnest, right?
The answer to that question depends on several things. Ultimately, are you ready to start searching for a job? The search for a new position is very much a job in itself and you have to treat it as such for the best chances of success. The various job websites would have you believe it is as simple as posting your resume, but much like the picture of a juicy hamburger on a restaurant menu that somehow doesn’t arrive at your table with the cheese and fixings neatly hanging off the side, the job boards’ claims are a misrepresentation of reality.
In order to really be ready for the job search, you need to know a lot about yourself and what your objectives are, not to mention your limits. In a difficult economy and job market, those employers who are hiring, are more selective than usual and have a bigger pool of candidates to choose from. You have to remember that not every job is going to be right for you. Easy for me to say as I have a job I love. And for anyone currently unemployed, the prospect of a paycheck makes almost any job look good. But pull up the covers and take a really good look at yourself.
There are countless factors you have to consider in self-preparation:
> What am I good at?
> What do I want to do? What don’t I want to do?
> What will I do? What won’t I do?
> How far am I willing to commute?
> Will I relocate? Will I travel?
> How stable is the company?
> Is the compensation in line with my needs?
The list goes on and on. Granted, many of these questions will have to be answered (partially or in full) during an interview process, but you need to decide, before you begin searching for jobs, what the acceptable answers are to yourself. If not, you will spend a tremendous amount of time applying to jobs that ultimately are not right for you and will only further exasperate the situation you are in.
Let’s take a closer look at the hot topic issue right now – compensation. What you are paid is clearly the biggest question for candidates and employers alike. But each and every one of us is in a different financial situation and therefore your answer to yourself will be completely different and unique from anyone else. Many of your colleagues are openly dismissing many of the questions I pose above and even negotiating to take less pay than in the past, just to get back to work. Is that the right strategy for you? What if the offered salary of a position is the same as you are making now, but the commute is twice as far? What range of salary is acceptable to you?
Maybe the biggest question regarding compensation you need to ask yourself is if your expected pay is realistic right now? You may very well be worth $100/hour, but if equally qualified candidates will gladly take $75/hour right now, how flexible are you?
I can’t answer that question or any of these questions for you – and I will not even attempt to do so because these are deeply personal issues that you need to decide on. But decide you must and as you seek out a new job, know what your flexibility limits are when it comes to pay and every other possible variable. Once you have given ample thought to these questions, and you have a clear vision of what will and will not work for you, the real work of searching for a job begins.
In the next article of the series, we will discuss the job search itself. From websites to recruiters to networking, I will help you navigate the crowded roads on your search for a new job.
(See previous post “Looking for a job? You’re not alone…really you’re not”)