5 Steps to Speed Up Your Job Search
If the thought of finding a new job makes you break into a cold sweat, relax. A job search doesn’t have to be as painful as you might think. It just takes a bit of introspection, planning and follow through. Here are
5 action steps you can begin immediately to get your job search into motion.

Before you begin your search, it is important to assess your present situation. Personal circumstances are different for everyone. So begin by asking yourself what you want in a new job. Are you looking for more money or are you simply looking for greater satisfaction? Are you presently unemployed or are you employed but unhappy in your current position? Do you simply want to shorten your daily commute? Whatever the reason, it is important to first understand your criteria for a new job before begin your search. If you don’t do this first, you may spend a lot of time and energy only to get to a place that is no better than where you are today.

Once you understand exactly what you want in a new job, it is important to write out your goal. You don’t need anything elaborate, just a brief statement that describes the type of company and position you’re targeting. You may also want to include a time frame for landing this new position. By writing out your goal, you are making a powerful commitment to yourself to take action. On the other hand, a goal that is unwritten is little more than wishful thinking.

Here’s an example of your written goal might look like: In three months from today, I will secure a positionas a financial consultant with a small community bank seeking to expand its investment program.

Your written goal may be simple but it should be clear and specific, providing you with a focused target for developing your plan of action. The process of writing your goal down in itself is an action step that sets things into motion. Once you’ve written your goal, make sure to post it in a place where you can view it often, such as on your bedroom mirror or on the dashboard of your car. Your written goal serves as a visual reminder that will keep you on track, even when the going gets tough.

Pursuing your goal without a clear plan of action is like trying to find a new address without a map. You may eventually get there through trial and error, but it will take your far longer than if you knew exactly where you were going. It is important to note that when you put together your plan of action, you must factor in the time and money resources that you have available to devote to your job search.

Your action plan might read as follows: I will target small community banks in (geographic area) and obtain the names of the managers in charge of hiring financial advisors. I will send each of them a personalized cover letter and resume and follow up on each with a phone call. I will also send my resume to recruiters who specialize in this sector and post it to the major career search engines. In addition, I will join a local networking group to expand my base of contacts.

As with your goal, your plan of action should be written and posted where you can view it often. Doing so will keep you focused on the key activities you need to perform each day to reach your goal. It will also help you to keep from straying from your goal.

Legendary football coach, George Allen, said: “Winning is the science of being totally prepared.” So before you take action on your plan, make sure you’re prepared with all the right job search tools. Your basic tools should include your cover letter, resume, text version of your resume (for posting online), reference letters, and list of target companies. You may also want to include materials such as past
performance reviews, research materials on your target companies, and printed job descriptions that match your target. It’s also important to brush up on your interviewing skills. There are many wonderful books available on this subject. Purchase one or two and study them carefully. Nothing is worse than getting the interview and not being prepared for it.

It is also a good time to take inventory of your skills. Are your skills up to speed for the position you are targeting or do you need some additional training? Do you have the proper licenses or certifications for this position? It would be a shame to make it to the interview stage only to find out that you’ve lost out to another candidate because your Excel skills were weak? Many times getting the additional training you need is inexpensive and can be done in your spare time. So maximize your chances of landing the position you seek by getting the additional training you need.

Now that you’ve completed the groundwork, it’s time to get into motion! You know where you’re going and you know how you’re going to get there. If you still having trouble getting started, perhaps there’s some lingering uncertainty. This is common, especially if it has been some time since you’ve been in the job market. So go back to your goal and review it again and again until you can clearly visualize your new position. Take stock of the ways your life will be improved – more money… greater recognition… better opportunity for advancement.

Give yourself credit for having taken these initial steps and realize that if you follow this plan, you will succeed. Leadership expert, John C. Maxwell, said: “Nothing is as hard as it looks; everything is more rewarding than you expect; and if anything can go right it will and at the best possible moment.”