Are you really “looking” for a job?

There are a lot of people who say they are looking for a job. The questions I’d have for these folks would be:

Are they prepared for the job when they find it?
Do they really know how to look?

It’s easy to confuse being busy with being productive. When you are engaged in a job search, you must be sure you are doing activities that are going to help you achieve the goal of finding employment. Looking for a job is not necessarily one of these activities. You need to be more focused and organized than this would imply.

I found a couple of definitions for the word look:
- to have the appearance or likelihood of being
- to make sure or take care (that something is done)

Of these two definitions, you definitely don’t want to “appear” productive. You want to be productive in your search. In order to accomplish this, you have to know what you do well, what you want to do next, and where you want to do it. What skills do you have that are going to be exciting/interesting to a future employer? Make a list of these and rank them. As you examine this list, determine which of these skills you want to expand on or continue to grow as part of your professional persona. Get rid of the skills that you don’t want to be a part of the new you. Finally, identify companies that will allow you to grow in these areas. This step will be tough but nobody said finding a job would be easy. Look online for clues, view online rankings, articles, employee blogs, newsletters - these will all help you form an opinion about an organization and help you determine if they are worth pursuing. Another oft over looked approach is to reach out through social networking sites to see if you can set up an informational interview with a former employee. They may be more inclined to dish the dirt and give you the real story about your future employer.

At this point you are starting to become more informed about what you are looking for; you have a plan. The job search takes on a new focus because you have a better idea of what you want and can either pursue or remove companies and opportunities based on this. Don’t stop here. As you stat to build a list of target companies and organizations based on your career needs, keep your end goal in mind. Do not just add companies to your target list because they are well known or big names. Only pursue companies that fit your criteria. Remember, if you stick to your plan, not only will these companies give you an opportunity to add to your skills but you will also be more confident in your presentation, passionate during interviews and truly interested (not desperate) in the company. You will go into a meeting with this organization knowing that you have positioned yourself properly and have truly prepared for the opportunity.

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