How to Overcome Stagnation

Do you feel like you’re stuck in a rut? Are you struggling in your love life, career, friendships, or passion?

It’s time to take action to fix the problem. You’ll first want to identify the areas of your life that feel “off.”

Take some time to reflect on what’s bothering you and why. Once you know what’s going on, it’s easier to find a solution.

Having a Goal

It’s important to have goals in all aspects of your life because it focuses your energy onto the big picture. When you have a purpose for your actions, you’ll begin to see those little steps being important building blocks for your end goal. Your life won’t seem so stale when you have your end goal in mind at all times.

Here are some tips for setting goals:

  • Make your goals attainable. If you have lofty goals, break them up into smaller pieces.
  • Write your goals down on paper and keep them handy.
  • Always state your goals in a positive fashion (i.e. “I will be free of smoke…” instead of: “I will stop smoking…”)
  • Be as detailed as you can when planning out your goals step by step.
  • Fight the urge to procrastinate.

 

Take Action

Once you’ve discovered the areas of your life that need changing, and you have goals in mind, it’s time to take action. When things have hit a point of stagnation there is no other choice you have but to take swift action.

Remember that you can think, plan, or worry all day long but it’ll do nothing positive for your life if you don’t act.

Here are some strategies to keep in mind as you put your goals into action:

  • Don’t Hold Yourself Back. If you already know what’s holding you back, it’s time to fix the problem so you can take action. Is fear holding you back? If so, it’d be in your best interest to master your fears. A life full of stagnation because of fear will do more harm than good.
  • Be Consistent. Many people will crack down on changing their life and then drift back into a world of stagnation. Once you’ve started to take action, make sure it’s consistent action. This is the only way you’ll reach your life goals.
  • Right Now. You already have your plan in place and it’s broken up into small pieces. Ask yourself what you can accomplish right now to put yourself a positive step closer toward your goal. It doesn’t matter if you only have 15 minutes, there is sure to be something you can accomplish in that time period.
  • Take Time to Unwind. It’s easy to get excited and eager about your new goals and dreams, but ensure you schedule some “me time” as well. You need to be able to get a good night’s sleep and rejuvenate your body and mind. Otherwise, you risk physical and mental exhaustion, which will only bring you back to stagnation!
  • Take Notes. Be sure to take notes of your observations and tweak your actions along the way. Doing so will help you figure out what’s working for you and what’s not.

 

Picture Yourself

 At the end of the day you should picture yourself having broken the chain of stagnation. Even if you’re not quite there yet, it’s important to remember that it’s possible and likely when you’re willing to change!

Smart Ways To Manage Job Search Expenses

A job search can be expensive as well as time consuming. There are ways to manage your expenses so that you get the maximum value out of your spending. These are strategies for keeping costs down and taking advantage of all the tax deductions you are entitled to.

Reducing Job Search Expenses 

  1. Network over coffee. Face to face networking still matters even in a Facebook age. Inviting people out for coffee or breakfast is usually less expensive than lunch or dinner.
  2. Choose your wardrobe carefully. Buy your interview suits and tasteful accessories at consignment shops or on eBay for a fraction of the retail cost. Select separates that you can mix and match for more options.
  3. Barter for services. Some job coaches are worth their high fees, but you may know people who will help each other out for free. Offer to proof read each other’s resumes. Share job leads and take turns rehearsing for interviews.
  4. Access community resources. Local government offices, nonprofits and business groups often provide free and low cost career services. Call your state employment office and check community calendars.
  5. Evaluate your travel priorities. In a tight job market, some employers may expect you to pay the travel expenses for long distance interviews. Ask yourself if the position is worth it for you. Clarify how many candidates are being considered.

 

Deducting Job Search Expenses 

  1. Stay in the same field. The IRS only allows deductions for job search expenses if you’re looking for a job in your current occupation. On top of that, there cannot be any significant gap between your last position and the start of your job search.
  2. Know the limit of 2 percent. Allowable job search expenses are deductible if you itemize deductions on Schedule A and those miscellaneous expenses including your job search costs exceed 2 percent of your adjusted gross income.
  3. Hold onto your receipts. Good record keeping will help you stay on track. Keep receipts for everything from stamps to airline tickets. The IRS may want to see more than your credit card statement. Mileage logs and odometer readings can be submitted if you travel by car.
  4. Watch your phone minutes. Phone bills only count if you incur extra charges. If you have an unlimited phone plan, the details are probably irrelevant to the IRS.
  5. Calculate agency fees. If a job search agency charges you a fee, you may be able to deduct it. If your new employer later covers it, you’ll naturally need to make a reimbursement.
  6. Keep business trips mostly business. To be deductible, a job search trip must be primarily for business purposes. Keep a log of your time to confirm your activities.
  7. Specify your coaching services. Certain coaching services can be deducted while others fall outside the guidelines. Improving your interviewing technique is likely to be approved while counseling on making a career switch would be ruled out.
  8. Consider your child care needs. Some experts question if child care can be deducted. If you want to do so, document it like any other expense with receipts and details on why it was essential.
  9. Stay up to date. The tax code is complicated and changes all the time. Consult your tax professional or IRS Publication 529 on Miscellaneous Deductions to ensure your information is current.

 

Keep expenses under control so you can focus your efforts on finding the right position for you. Your job satisfaction is worth making an investment, but a little knowledge and careful record keeping can help you get excellent results for less.

Persistence Pays: Learning to Finish What You Start

When it comes to completing a job, task, or project, have you ever choked under the pressure and wondered if you would finish? If this has happened to you, you might have ended up feeling guilty and profoundly disappointed in your own abilities.

Even though your desire for an end result is high, the difficulty level or time required to complete the task could make you want to give up.

Where do you stand when it comes to persevering until a job is complete? How can you persist when you’re challenged in meeting your goals?

If you struggle to complete what you start, these strategies are for you:

  1. Be consistent. Sometimes, it feels like you’ll never get there. When you feel that way, remind yourself you must simply keep on keeping on. If you stay with working consistently toward your goal, chances are good you’ll eventually accomplish it.
  2. Notice what you’ve done so far. When you can see some fruits of your labors, you’ll get another burst of motivation to keep going. Maybe you completed 10% of the project last week. That’s 10% less than you have to do to finish. Have acute awareness of what you’ve already completed as well as what you have left to do.
  3. Maintain a positive outlook. Whenever you stay focused on the positive, it just makes it easier to continue plodding forward. Being positive is a choice, so take advantage of it. Accentuate the positive.
  4. Avoid under-estimating what it will take to finish. We’ve all had the experience of thinking we know how long we will spend to complete a particular task, only to find it takes much longer. If you must make a ball-park guess as to how much time you’ll need, it’s better to over-estimate.
  5. Make a personal vow to finish what you’ve started. Staying conscious of what you want to do and why you want to do it and then vowing to finish will serve as motivation to help you keep your nose to the grindstone. Promise yourself you’ll persist until you prevail. Then do it.
  6. Recognize when you must tweak your results. There may be times when you wish to slightly alter your end goal. After all, situations and people change. Particularly for long-term projects and goals, stay focused so that you’ll identify when it’s time to make alterations.
    If what you want has changed, it’s okay. Just revisit the goal, tweak it, and keep moving forward.
  7. Consider setting mini-goals. If you need some extra motivation along the way, you might benefit from setting interim goals that you can easily accomplish. It feels good to see that you’re achieving your mini-goals. The momentum you gain is remarkable. 
  • Consider this example about losing weight: Maybe you want to lose 50 pounds. When you face that fact, it’s overwhelming and you feel like you can’t do it. It’s difficult to get started. But what if you were to set a goal to lose just five pounds?
  • Chances are pretty good that you’ll be successful. And when you are, you can rejoice in the moment and set another mini-goal to lose five more pounds.
  • Try setting mini-goals to keep momentum going and ensure you continue forward to the task’s end.

 

Being persistent can be a challenge that’s well worth conquering. Be consistent and take note of what you’ve done so far. Stay as positive as you can and avoid under-estimating the time it will take for job completion. Vow to finish and stay aware of what you’re doing so you can adjust your goal if you need to. Finally, consider setting mini-goals to persist until you finish the task.

Your persistence will pay off!

How to Use Social Media to Find Your Next Job

Social media is all the rage. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and more seem to be everywhere. In social media like these, we get constant updates about the relevant and not-so-relevant aspects of everyone’s lives. Here, we’ll consider a practical application of social media: finding your next job.

Social media gives you great tools for sharing information electronically with a potentially very large audience.

Try these strategies to help you land a great job:

  1. Focus your attention on people instead of companies. For instance, if you’re interested in a particular company, look at blogs and on Facebook for people who work there. You’re likely to also see the other people they know. Maybe you share an acquaintance or two. You can submit resumes to them, ask for advice, and get more contacts.
  • You’ll want to be subtle; people are unlikely to be happy about being bombarded with job requests on their own time. By starting out with a few non-intrusive messages, you should be able to make in-roads toward your goal.

 

  1. Start your own blog. By putting out content that showcases your knowledge and expertise, people will begin to see you as an expert. Blogs are easy to start, and many websites will host yours for free. Other than the work involved, it’s free advertising for your skills.

 

  1. Use Twitter. It’s becoming common to hear stories of people getting laid off, sending out a few Tweets proclaiming their new unfortunate job status, and ultimately finding a new position as a result of their Tweets.
  • With Twitter, word spreads quickly.
  • Companies are beginning to use this tool as well, for this same reason. Recruiters use Twitter to announce positions and give updates.

 

  • Here’s a quick Twitter tutorial:

1)     Go to Twitter.com and fill out your profile completely, including a professional photo of yourself.
2)     Follow everyone you know. Also follow everyone who seems like they might be able to help you find a position.
3)     Tweet away.

 

  1. Take advantage of video. In addition to more usual social media tools, video is becoming increasingly relevant. Upload a video resume to YouTube and let the world know what you can do and what you’re looking for. Check out other video resumes to get a feel for how it’s done.
  • When creating a video, keep brevity in mind. Explain your background; describe what you’re looking for and why you’d be the best person for the job. Take your time and get it right – you can rerecord as often needed.

 

  1. Consider Paid Advertising on Social Media. Also, consider Google AdWords and Facebook advertising to put the word out that you’re in job-search mode. To do this, you’ll need to make a landing page with your resume. Adding a blog, video resume, and any publications you authored would be helpful as well.

 

Social media is here to stay, so you might as well use it for something constructive. Finding employment is never enjoyable, but utilizing social media can really make a difference.

Never before has the average person had so much capability to reach so many people. Craft your message and get it out there every way you can think of.

 

Who Else Wants a Resume That Captures the Real You?

To write a resume these days you need to squeeze yourself into one page, check off all the required keywords, and avoid saying anything that might get you screened out. No wonder you often wind up looking like just another systems administrator or social studies teacher!

Meanwhile, employers want to know who candidates really are. Researchers at Texas Christian University studied 244 recruiters and found they made inferences about applicants’ extraversion, openness to experience, and conscientiousness based on their paperwork. Unfortunately, those guesses were largely invalid and unreliable.

It’s time to help each other out. Learn how to use the style and content of your resume to let the real you shine through.

Style Tips

  1. State your name. Small items like nicknames and middle initials can add up to a big difference in the impression you make. Ask a friend for their opinion of what sounds professional and engaging.
  2. Choose your font. As long as it’s easy to read on a phone or tablet, you can pick from a wide range of options. Maybe you prefer the traditional Times Roman or Calibri or you’re prepared to be a little more daring with the less-common Garamond.
  3. Set your margins. Even your margins can say something about you. Justified text that’s even on the left and right tends to look more formal. On the other hand, ragged edges look friendlier, and can be easier to skim.
  4. Print it out. As long as your potential employer isn’t committed to minimizing paper, you may want to send a backup copy after your electronic submission. Take the opportunity to stand out with lightly patterned paper that won’t interfere with readability. Choose a neutral color like cream or light grey.
  5. Proof read. In addition to anything else you want to communicate, let the hiring manager know you’re conscientious. Have a second pair of eyes check your materials for grammar and spelling.
  6. Videotape it. Call ahead to see if the company you’re interested in welcomes video applications or tries to avoid them to minimize the risk of bias. If you receive the go-ahead, you can use technology to make a personal appearance early in the process.

 

Content Tip

  1. Tell stories. Why settle for saying you’re energetic when you can use a real-life example that shows your strengths in action? Edit your accomplishments and career summary to include some interesting anecdotes.
  2. Focus on recognition. Reinforce your point by mentioning what others say about you. Drop in a testimonial from a former boss or client. List your honors and awards.
  3. Use numbers. Create a vivid and specific image by quantifying your track record. Tell how many employees you’ve supervised or how much time you’ve saved.
  4. Include skills and training. Your proficiency with computer software or foreign languages may give you an advantage. Make it memorable by adding in some background on how you stay current, whether it’s summer travel or evening courses.
  5. Describe interests. Personal interests don’t have to sound silly. You may discover that you and your new boss have something in common like tennis or baking.
  6. Report your volunteer work. Community service will impress any progressive organization, and suggest your values. Record the hours you’ve spent building homes or answering phones.

 

Personalizing your resume helps you stand out and find a workplace where you’re more likely to feel like you belong. When you’re customizing your application for each positon, take a few extra minutes to include some details that will tell hiring managers what makes you special.

Is Working From Home a Good Choice for You?

Do you fantasize about waking up in the morning, walking sleepily down the hall to your home office with a steaming Cup of Joe, and plopping down in your chair to start working? Imagine the amount of money you’ll save on gas, clothing, and childcare working from home. With today’s technology, it’s possible to make your fantasy of working at home a reality.

Consider the following as you decide whether you’re a good candidate for working from home:

  1. Do you work for a national or international company? The larger the company, often the more flexibility you’ll have to work from home.
  2. Is your company progressive? If the owners and management think out of the box and embrace change, you’re in a great position to inquire about working at home.
  3. Do you have a computer-oriented job? If most of your work is on the computer, present a good argument as to how you can remain productive working from home. As long as you have a computer at home, you can get the proper software to perform your job at home.

          You’ll have less co-worker interruptions when you work at home. If your house is quieter than working in a buzzing, lively office setting, you might be able to get more work done each day.

  1. Can you obtain the special supplies your job requires? For example, a design architect will need a drafting table and various drawing tools, plus a computer to work from home. The nature of your work is a huge determinant as to whether you can work from home.
  2. You’ll need a designated workspace. Nothing fancy, a desk and chair devoted to work will suffice, along with a computer and internet connection.
  3. How flexible is your boss? Supervisors and managers who demonstrate more flexibility in the work setting are more likely to agree to a trial period where you work at home. If your supervisor knows you well and understands your work, then they might be more willing allow a trial work at home situation.

During the trial period, you have an opportunity to demonstrate how well you can perform in your own home setting.
When speaking with your supervisor, remember to mention that companies that promote more flexible work schedules benefit from less absenteeism and have reduced turnover. 

  1. Can you motivate yourself to get your work done? If you want to work from home, it’s important for you to possess certain personal and professional characteristics. Are you a self-starter? Can you diligently follow a work schedule?

If you’re self-motivated and super-responsible, it’s likely you’ll be able to work from home with great success.

  1. Can you prevent distractions at home? Think about everything that could interrupt or disturb your work efforts at home. It will be necessary for you to take steps to ensure your work won’t be disrupted.

However, if you live alone or with a partner that works away from home full-time during the same time you’ll be doing your job, you’re already ahead of the game in terms of creating a productive work environment

Depending on your company, the type of work you do, and your motivation, working from home might be a perfect solution. Think through these considerations to help you determine whether working in a home office setting is right for you. In the end, it just may pay off for you and your employer in terms of productivity and employee satisfaction.

How an Online Presence Can Boost Your Likelihood of Landing a Job

In today’s cutthroat job market, it’s almost necessary to have more than just an impressive resume and a killer handshake to land a job. Somehow, you must prove to potential employers that you’re different than other applicants and you have more to offer than just a good work ethic. Creating an online presence might just be your ticket to your new job.

By creating an online presence, you can position yourself as an expert within your field, rather than your run-of-the-mill Joe that coasts through his career based on the accomplishments of others.

You can prove your worth to employers even before sitting in the hot seat, and you can also find jobs that remain unadvertised on popular job boards like Monster.com and Indeed.com.

Below are several ways you can build an online presence to hook potential employers and reel them in with your unique spin on job searching.

Start a Blog

Gone are the days where blogs express only your personal musings and deepest thoughts about last night’s dinner. Create a blog tailored to your niche and utilize it to express your expertise in your field. For example, if you’re an experienced restaurant manager, you can create posts such as the following:

  1. Five Simple Tricks to Improving your Service Times
  2. The Real Reason Your Restaurant Has Such a High Turnover
  3. Enhance Employee Performance by Following this Golden Rule
  4. The Ins and Outs of Maintaining your Inventory
  5. 3 Secret Tips for Handling Diner Complaints Efficiently

 

Surely, if you’re indeed as experienced as you claim to be on your resume, you’ll be able to write blog posts tailored towards your industry fairly quickly.

To find blog post topics that employers are actually interested in reading, just perform a simple job description search. On an online job board, do a search for the position you’re seeking and analyze the required responsibilities. Next, create a list of the responsibilities and craft your blog posts on these topics.

A blog is beneficial to your job search because it allows you to display to employers just how knowledgeable you are in your current industry. It’s one thing to give short answers to a few questions at interviews, but if you’re addressing problems that the company currently needs help with on your blog, without even being prompted to do so, you position yourself under the best light.

Social Networking Profiles

Both corporate giants and small business owners alike are making their way onto the social media scene. They’re using social media to network, build customer loyalty, analyze trends, and find potential candidates to fill vacancies within their businesses. Because of this, it’s more important than ever to create a strong social networking presence for yourself.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is currently the only social networking website of its kind. Master the basics of LinkedIn by filling out a complete profile. Include a presentable photo, a link to your blog, and interlink to your other social networking profiles.

LinkedIn is truly a place where being popular can help you get ahead, so feel free to send a connect request to just about every colleague or client you’ve ever had.

Maximize your exposure by answering questions related to your industry, as this allows you to openly showcase your expertise. And most importantly, make use of the job search function, which is restricted to members only.

Facebook

Do an internal audit of your personal Facebook page and delete anything that a potential employer might feel wary of. Or better yet, adjust your privacy settings so only your friends can see your wall, since you can’t control the type of wording your friends will use when they write on your wall.

Weed through your images and notes. Post more pictures of yourself in business attire and keep the ones with your family, but delete any that may seem promiscuous or scream: “let’s party!”

To make the most of your Facebook page, post notes about your thoughts on industry controversy and make them viewable to the public.

Twitter

Twitter is a goldmine for finding work! The great thing about Twitter is that you can search for job leads as they’re tweeted. By downloading a program called Tweet Deck, you can create alerts for any tweets that match your selected keywords.

For example, if you create an alert for the keyword phrase “need an assistant manager,” you’ll get updates from every public twitter account in the world that posts a Tweet that matches your phrase.

Sometimes, when an employer is truly desperate to land a new employee, they make their hiring decision based on “first come, first serve.” Tweet Deck can help you be the first applicant on the scene.

 

The internet has come a long way from just being able to connect with lost friends. Now, you can create an online resume, showcase your work by creating a blog, search for job postings within seconds of vacancies occurring, and most importantly, you can build relationships with the right people. Use the internet to your advantage by mastering your web presence.

4 Crucial Considerations When Choosing a Career

It can be so tempting to go after a career that promises the key to your future! Career websites that list sought-after jobs make them seem like blessings from above. And some of them probably are. But does that mean that such careers are for you?

When choosing a career path, it’s important to be wise with your deliberations. Sure, you’ll probably want one that can make you financially well off, but at what cost?

There are a few things to consider before making that final decision:

1.Consider what you want from a career. A career is supposed to be a long-term commitment. It’s important to determine exactly what you want from yours. This is the major driving factor behind the direction to look in.

  • Perhaps you have your sights set on financial wellness. That’s usually a deciding factor, but is it a good idea for that to be the only factor?
  • How about getting learning experience to take with you? Maybe there are developmental opportunities in one field that can allow you to excel in others.
  • Do you think your personal satisfaction can come from achieving recognition? Would you feel accomplished if you’re recognized for your achievements.

 

2. Identify your skill sets. Take a moment to list the things you’re good at. How can you stand out from the crowd using these skills? What makes you different from the others? Are you more accurate, number-friendly, or service-oriented than anybody else?

  • Does your combination of skills show flexibility and adaptability? It would be great if you could combine them for an even greater selling proposition.
  • Be honest with yourself. Avoid overstating your skill sets. If you’re only slightly familiar with something, avoid listing it. On the flip side, if you’re good at something, develop the self-confidence to own it!

 

3. Consider what you’re passionate about. Remember that although you have specific goals for your career, it’s difficult to make it long-lived if passion is missing.

  • It’s great to find a career that offers financial wellness. But if the job makes you miserable, you’ll soon want to turn your back on all that money! Ensure that whatever you choose, your heart is in it. Otherwise, go into it with a very open mind.
  • Remember that you can always make what you want out of what you’re given. A little creativity can turn a fairly interesting career into something spectacular.

 

4. Determine the market for that career. What does the future look like? Beware of choosing a career that has waned in popularity or demand. People’s expectations change rapidly and it’s best to keep abreast of changes in your field of choice.

  • Research current job market trends to develop an understanding of up and coming careers.

 

Your career path requires significant thought. At the end of the day, your aim is to make the most out of the opportunity. Preparation can help you make the right choice. So go forward with excitement and an open mind. You’ll know your ideal career choice when you see it!

Top 10 Tips for Staying Motivated When You’re Unemployed

Losing your job is painful. There are many days when you may feel discouraged because the job market is complicated and the competition for jobs is fierce. In order to get through a period of unemployment, it’s important to use whatever resources you can to stay motivated.

Try these tips to boost your motivation while you search for a new job:

  1. Utilize the power of the internet. Save time and money! Many tasks that will help you get a job are activities you can do more efficiently online.
  • Research companies, fill out applications, and join online networking groups to streamline your job search.

 

  1. Work on your job search each day. Spend five days of the week actively looking for a job. Pick the ones that will work best for you. In most cases, that would be Monday through Friday. Take the other two days off.

 

  1. Use your unemployment funds wisely. Pay bills that are necessary but limit other things, like social outings, to a minimum.
  • If you need to borrow money from a friend or family member, do so. Having the money you need to get by will take a lot of stress off of you.

 

  1. Eat nutritious food. Stressful times tend to weaken your immune system, so include plenty of extra fruits and vegetables in your diet to help your body be at its best. Protein is also necessary for keeping your energy levels up when you’re looking for work.
  • Trying to gain or lose weight at this time doesn’t usually work well. You’re more likely to be successful with your weight goals if you put off dieting until after you’ve found another position.

 

  1. Exercise regularly. Enjoy whatever type of exercise that you’re used to doing. This can be dancing, running, walking, or any other type of activity that you wish.
  • Exercise reduces stress, brings you energy, keeps you alert, increases your feelings of well-being, and strengthens your health. All of these benefits will help keep you motivated while looking for a job.

 

  1. Get plenty of rest. It may be difficult to sleep at times when you’re looking for work, but it’s better to try. For optimum benefits, shoot for 7 or 8 hours of good quality sleep.
  • Avoid caffeine or computer screens for several hours before bedtime to make it easier to get your rest.

 

  1. Use your friends for support. Don’t be afraid to enlist the help of your friends. Explain to them that you’re between jobs and actively looking for work. Tell them what you’re looking for and your background and skills.
  • Your friends may know of a company that is looking for someone just like you!

 

  1. Make an effort to keep in touch with previous co-workers. Co-workers from your previous job may also have job ideas and leads for you.

 

  1. Watch your transportation costs. Cutting back on your gas mileage will save you money. It will also prevent a lot of wasted time. Only go to companies that you’ve contacted and have an interview with, so you aren’t just pounding the pavement.

 

  1. Schedule some “me time” each day. When you’re unemployed, you might find that you’re actually working harder than ever. Plus, the stress is highly taxing – both mentally and physically. It’s important to re-energize and boost your morale by engaging in activities that bring you pleasure.
  • Try to spend an hour each day doing something you love. Whether you immerse yourself in a hobby or a good book, or even just take a nap, enjoy your special time however you like. Pamper yourself. You deserve it!

 

Finding a new job almost always takes longer than we want it to, but you can stay motivated by using these tips. Stay focused and dedicated, and you’re determination will pay off.

A Job Hunter’s Guide to Contacting Companies You Want to Work For

Searching for a job often means looking for who is hiring. You contact others in your network and browse through employment listings. However, you could also turn the process around and start looking at where you want to work regardless of any current vacancy.

Exploring these kinds of passive openings has advantages for you and your potential employer because you’re targeting opportunities where you would excel. Find out how to identify organizations where you want to work, and how to communicate with them, using these strategies.

Learning About Your Preferred Companies

  1. Browse online. Gather information from the company website and LinkedIn. Introduce yourself on social media and strike up conversations. Check out Glass Door to find out what current and former employees have to say.
  2. Read the news. Local press and industry publications can also be revealing. Maybe your potential employer sponsors community programs or lost half its sales revenue.
  3. Seek referrals. Ask around to see if you have contacts who know employees at the companies you’re researching. Personal introductions make it much easier to set up initial meetings.
  4. Attend events. Networking sessions and business conferences are an efficient way to access lots of information and individual perspectives. Check calendar listings for upcoming events.
  5. Volunteer your services. Do you want an inside look at the kind of work you’re contemplating? Maybe you can intern or volunteer at the organization or a similar operation.
  6. Identify decision makers. Find out who you need to talk with. Calling the CEO directly could be the best route for senior positions. Otherwise, you’ll probably start out with hiring managers and department heads.

 

Reaching Out to Your Preferred Companies

  1. Consider your contribution. Put the focus on what you can do for the company instead of talking about what you want. Talk about how you can add value and help them reach their goals. Be as specific as possible and hold off on sending your resume for now.
  2. Hone your pitch. You’ll need to capture their attention quickly once you make contact. Rehearse your pitch until you can deliver it in about 15 to 20 seconds.
  3. Send an email. Your first communication will usually be an email. Craft a subject line that will pique their interest. Say you want to talk about their marketing campaign or their accounting needs.
  4. Ask to meet. Follow up with a request for a brief meeting. It’s often easier to reach people if you call early in the morning or late in the day in the middle of the week. Be sure to leave no more than one or two voice mails so they won’t feel harassed.
  5. Build your qualifications. If you succeed at arranging a meeting, listen closely. Find out what would make you a more attractive candidate and work on those skills. Brush up on your high school Spanish or strengthen your social media presence.
  6. Stay in touch. Remember that you’re making progress even if your preferred company is unable to hire you immediately. Check in occasionally to let them know you’re still interested.
  7. Be patient. Landing your dream job can take time. If one prospect fails to respond, move on to other options. Cultivate a strong support network that will encourage you and give you constructive feedback. Believe in yourself and think positively about your future.

 

Finding a position you love will enhance your quality of life, and probably make your new employer glad you joined them. Make contacting companies you want to work for a central strategy in your job hunting.