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When you’re embarking on a new job search, it is very helpful to first think about the types of jobs you could be happy with. You should think about the type of company, the type of co-workers you’d like to have and what
findjob1kind of responsibilities you would like to have so that you’re on a path to continual growth and progress in your career. The more well thought-out your vision is for your career, the easier the entire process will be.

Why is that? I would suggest that when employers hire candidates, they’re not just hiring you for what you can do today. They’re also hiring you for your potential and for how you could fit into the organization a year from now, two years from now, and longer. Hiring employees is always expensive, even in times of high unemployment. Therefore, employers have a strong incentive to hire candidates who they believe will stay a while. If an employer uses a headhunter to hire you, they will pay 10-20% or more of your first year’s salary. Even if they hire without the use of a recruiter, turnover (employees leaving and coming into an organization) is a significant cost. When a job function isn’t filled, it often means the employer can’t produce as much or run their operations as efficiently, which is a greater cost than the cost of paying an employee’s salary. With for-profit organizations, workers are, by definition, worth more than what they’re paid because the company has to earn more than its costs to stay in business. I point this out because many job seekers underestimate their worth and buy into the notion that a company is doing them a favor by hiring them. In reality, when there is a match between employer and employee, it should be a two-way street and a win-win situation: the company benefits just as much as you do. Over time, good employees become more and more valuable to an organization as they learn more about how it works and gain knowledge outsiders wouldn’t have. This brings me back to my original point, which is that employers are looking for someone who they can see fitting into their organization long-term. This is why they often will ask “Where do you see yourself three years from now?” in an interview. It’s also why many career books suggest you learn about a company before interviewing with them. Thinking about where you want to be in the future and what kind of job you’d like to have will go a long way toward helping you create your vision.

The other part of your vision should include ways you can benefit the company you end up working for. If you want to become a top-producing salesperson, the benefit for the company would be increased sales. If you’re an entry-level computer programmer now and you want to become a senior-level programmer in two years, the benefit for the company is gaining an employee who will become increasingly valuable the longer you stay with them. It will help make your vision more concrete to employers and recruiters if you can tie it in with previous achievements. For example, if you want to be on the path to becoming a customer service manager and you’ve already had customers compliment you on your expertise or supervisors write good reviews of you, that is evidence that you have a commitment to your vision. findjob2

Once you have a resume that communicates what experiences you’ve had and how you’re prepared to fit into the vision you’ve created for your future, the next step is to generate leads. You should use as many methods as you can think of to generate leads because the more options you have, the better your chances of landing a job that truly fits in with your goals. Here are some specific steps you can take to generate leads:

* Post your resume on job board websites. Getting your resume on job boards is sort of like a business having a listing in the phone book. It enables recruiters who are looking for someone like you to find you easily. The most popular job board is However, Monster is not necessarily the best site for every profession and every industry. Getting your resume on other job boards like CareerBuilder,, and any niche sites that may exist for your specialty (such as for IT professionals or for sales professionals) is a good idea. If you want to save time and get your resume over 90 job boards at once, we recommend using the fee-based service A word of advice about posting your resume: most recruiters will locate your resume with keywords. Keywords are words or phrases that would be associated with the function you can perform. For example, an employer looking for a corporate lawyer might search on the terms “in-house lawyer,” “corporate attorney,” or “corporate lawyer.” So you should make sure any terms you can think of that an employer would search to find you are included in your resume somewhere.

One way to do this is to vary the terminology you use in your resume. In describing your duties for a previous employer, you could refer to yourself as a “corporate lawyer” in one sentence and as an “in-house lawyer” in the next.

  • Network With Other People. Networking is a powerful way to land a new job. It has been estimated that 85% of jobs are filled by word of mouth. In addition to the fact that many positions are not widely advertised, finding a job through networking often means there’s less competition. So you could have a greater chance of getting the job than if the employer is considering you among 5-10 other people they findjob3found through a job site. A good place to start networking is the local chapter of the professional association for your field. Often called the “association of associations,” the American Society of Association Executives’ web site provides a search screen to find associations in specific industries and professions. You can check it out at Also, local business magazines (such as Crain’s local business publications) often include information on networking events. Want to learn more about networking? Harvey Mackay is one of the leading experts on building personal relationships through networking and has written a great book on the subject called “Dig your well before you’re thirsty: the only networking book you’ll ever need.”
    * Contact Local Recruiters. Recruiters, also known as Headhunters, are people whose business is based on “selling” candidates to employers. Recruiters are a good channel to use because they already have relationships with employers, and they have a financial incentive to help you land a job if they could see you fitting in with one of their clients. For a recruiter to get you placed with a company, they will often need to “pitch” you to their client. You can help make their job easier by coming up with some of the key elements they could use in that pitch. This goes back to the concept discussed earlier of developing a vision for your career. If you have an interesting story to tell about where you’re going and how your past experiences tie in, that is something that can get both recruiters and the direct employers excited. Recruiters want to hear about the interesting things that make you unique because that helps them pitch you to their clients. If you’re just starting out on a job search, contacting recruiters who specialize in your field and meeting with them is a great way to get a feel for your marketability. Recruiting is a people business so I’d suggest meeting with recruiters in person, if possible. If a recruiter has met you in person, they’ll be more likely to think of you if a client has a position you could be good for. If you contact a recruiter over the phone or by e-mail and they say they don’t have any positions for you right now, ask if they might have some in the future. If they think they would, you might suggest meeting in person now so that they’ll have already interviewed you if a position opens up. That makes them better prepared for possible client needs and gives you an edge over potential competition. A good place to go to find local recruiters is Recruiters Online at This site provides a search feature where you can find recruiters in your area and in your field.
  • Contact Employers Directly. Are there certain companies you know where you’d like to work? If so, it wouldn’t hurt to contact them to find out if they have any positions open that might interest you. Also, many employers list jobs on their website that they don’t post on job boards. is a good findjob4place to go to respond with your resume to specific job opportunities. However, keep in mind that there is often stiff competition with other job seekers on Monster because it’s the most popular job board. Another good site is, which often lists positions not shown on other job boards. is a site that is actually a consortium of several large companies. With DirectEmployers, the companies pay a flat rate to list as many jobs as they want, which often means they list more positions than they would with a regular job board. A good source for government jobs is America’s Job Bank also lists private sector jobs and it is run by the U.S. Department of Labor in conjunction with the Departments of Labor in the individual U.S. states.Once you have identified good job leads that seem to fit in with a job you could be happy with in the long-term, some of those leads will progress into interviews. Successful interviewing is about showing the employer how you can fit in with their needs and also making sure they would be a good fit for you. I commented earlier that if your vision for your career fits in with the employer’s vision, they will benefit from having you as an employee just as much or more than you benefit from working there. So the frame through which you view the job opportunity makes a big difference in how successful the interview will be. If you see it as a potential win-win opportunity, it becomes about you and the employer helping each other achieve goals. That will translate into increased confidence for you in the interview. Here are some specific interviewing tips:

* Research the Company Beforehand. If you come in to the interview knowing about the company through research on their website, perhaps through talking to people who’ve worked there, etc., you will come across like a professional who is serious about finding a good match with an employer.

* You should do as much listening as possible in the interview to find out what the employer is seeking. The more you know about what the employer wants, the better you can tailor your responses so that they fit in with the employer’s vision for the position. This doesn’t mean you should lie or exaggerate. However, knowing more about what qualities are important to the employer will help you determine which aspects of your experience, personality, vision for your career and vision for how you can help them to emphasize. For example, if an employer is most concerned about finding someone with good people skills, you’d be better off talking about how well you work with people and how you like working with others than you’d be talking about your great computer skills (although it would be important to talk about computer skills too if the employer is interested in that). How can you find out what things the employer values? If you’re asked an open-ended question like “Tell me about your experience with this kind of work,” you could respond with a question like “I have a wide range of experience. If you could tell me what qualities are important to you when considering someone for this position, I can better address specific ways that I’m qualified.”

* Most interviewers will give you an opportunity to ask questions about the position or the company. Depending on how much structure there is to the interview, you could bring up the topic yourself or the interviewer may ask if you have any questions at the end. This would be a good opportunity for you to ask questions to determine if you think the position would be a good long-term fit for you. Questions could include asking the interviewer what they think of the company. Or asking what the co-workers are like. In addition to these questions providing you with information, they illustrate to the interviewer that you are serious about finding a good match and they will be more likely to see you as an honest, straightforward person they can feel comfortable hiring.

All in all, job searching is about deciding what you want out of your career and matching yourself up with an employer who can help you get there. When you look at job searching from this kind of carefully considered perspective, you’ll come across to employers as professional and serious about finding a position that makes sense for both you and for the employer. Δ