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A Positive Outlook on Job Search
Peter K. Studner

No one likes the experience of being terminated or laid off from a job. Even if it was a relief to finally be out of a bad work situation, the prospect of looking for that next job brings on lots of emotions, most of which are negative: possible failure, fear of the unknown, fear of not having a paycheck, not knowing where to begin, fear of rejection… all leading to a form of paralysis/inactivity, or at best procrastination. Many job-seekers retreat to just sending out resumes, answering advertisements, and writing to companies and recruiters, thus spending 90% of their time on only 10% of the opportunities.

What to do?
The key to getting past negative feelings and inactivity is preparation. The vast majority of job-seekers and career-changers, while loaded with degrees, certificates, diplomas and licenses, haven’t had any significant training in what a good job-search campaign consists of. Little wonder the prospect of having to go through a job search is dreaded.

Effective job-search techniques can be learned. Preparation for your job search or career change should include:

Career Assessment
Before embarking on any job search, decide what skills you have to offer to your next employer. Next, validate that there is a market for your skills. Do not look for a job until you ascertain that the job exists in the market you want to prospect. Many job seekers make the serious mistake of skipping this validation process and wind up spending weeks and months looking for a job that does not exist.

The backbone of any job search is a strong list of accomplishments. It is difficult selling yourself by just telling people what you do. With accomplishments, you can relate what you have done by deeds. Your references will provide the credibility. You are no longer seeking a job, but rather a home for your skills. You are a solution seeking a problem.

Resumes would be better called marketing brochures. After all, we are using them to sell our skills to future employers. Resumes do not get jobs; people do – so you must become your resume. Without a clear understanding of all you can contribute to a future employer, you will have a tough time making the sale. The best resumes are loaded with accomplishments.

Market Plan
How to go after all the jobs: recruiters, advertisements, bulletin boards, hotlines, Internet listings and the not so obvious: the hidden job market where more than 75% of jobs come from. The key here is networking.

Getting out and meeting people who can lead you to the hidden job market. Fortunately, anyone can learn the techniques of what it takes to become a good networker. Begin with family, friends and then former business colleagues.

Telephoning for Appointments
If you have never learned how to make calls for job-related and networking appointments, it will be difficult without practice. Telemarketing yourself does not have to be a drag if you know how; these techniques can be learned. Practice making calls with a recorder.

If you have awkward interviews or feel that you just don’t know where to start in an interview, you need to stop long enough to learn the techniques of what goes into a good interview. There are three basic interviews used in a job search or career change: the Research Interview where you are seeking information about people, careers, industries, or companies; the Advice Interview where you are seeking referrals to your target companies (companies you want to work for); and the Direct Interview where you are face-to-face with someone who could have an interest in hiring you. Practice with a friend before you begin.

Negotiating a Win-Win Salary
Learn the art of negotiating a salary based on what a job is worth, not a previous paycheck. It starts with determining what the job is worth on the market considering the economy, number of people looking for the same job, their level of experience and what employers currently are willing to pay. Look for salary surveys on the Internet so you can see what salary level is appropriate for the job you are going after.
All of the above job search elements can be learned in just a few hours of concentrated time. At the end of the day, the key to taking the fear out of job search is preparation. The more prepared you are, the less anxiety and stress you will have. Arm yourself with know-how and a plan, and you will be on the road to getting yourself back into the job market, perhaps even with a more productive job that has feel-good qualities.

Peter K. Studner is a career counselor, former chief executive of international companies. He is the author of the award-winning manual, Super Job Search, published by Jamenair Ltd, now in its third edition with more than 300,000 copies sold. Studner is president of Peter K. Studner Associates, Inc., an outplacement firm located in California. For additional vital job-search resources, consult:
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