10 Steps to a Successful Job Search

Search with Ctrl + F Last updated: 2022-08-14

Searching for a job today has become a job in itself that requires planning, management and strategies in order for you to be able to conduct an effective job search.  The following steps are proven techniques you can use to manage your career and prepare for a successful job search:

Step 1. Make a Career Plan

Learn how to take charge of your life and career by studying the importance and benefits of creating a Career Management Plan. A career management plan will help prepare you to take the necessary steps to make your career goals happen and to look for ways to improve your job skills.

Step 2. Take a Job Skills Assessment

Take a Skills Assessment to help you find job options that match your skills, interests and values. Skills assessments help you learn about yourself, make better career and education decisions, present yourself better to employees, interview better, become a better employee and gain confidence. You will be happier if you choose a career that matches your unique skills, your interests and values. For instance, you may be good at organizing things, helping others, have a keen eye for detail, be easy to get along with, enjoy working on new technology and learning new things. A skills assessment will help you identify your unique work skills that you can apply to finding a job today and help you set goals for improving and gaining additional working skills.  You can take a skills assessment using the forms at jobseekersguide.org or online at iseek.org.  More information on taking a skills assessment can be found here.

Step 3. Establish your Short and Long Term Goals

When you have completed your skills assessment, establish your short and long term goals. Your short term goal is to find a job in which you are currently qualified for and can succeed in today.

Your long term goals should be established by documenting what skills, knowledge and experience you need to gain to move forward in your career path. For example, if you want to become an Executive Administrative Assistant, use the results of your skills assessment to learn what skills and education is required by browsing the occupational handbook on bls.gov or O*NET OnLine. Here you will use the results of your skills assessment to match your unique skills, interests and values to careers. Use this form from jobseekersguide.org to document your short and long term goals and don’t forget to reward yourself when you meet one of your goals!

Step 4. Improve your Office Skills to Broaden your Job Prospects

Based on your career goals, establish a professional development plan and start taking the courses you need to improve your work skills. Office skills may be a good start as they are are transferable skills which means you can use them in any company or job. Office Skills that are in demand by employers today include Keyboarding, Word Processing, Spreadsheets, Databases, Presentations, email programs such as Outlook and bookkeeping software such as QuickBooks.  Office skills courses are available at your local community college, adult education centers and also online at Office Skills Online Training.

Step 5. Create your Resume and Cover Letter

Document your job objective, achievements and education using a Resume Questionnaire. Once you have your experience outlined on paper, you will be ready to make a digital copy. Analyze different resume and cover letter formats and create your resume and cover letter using Microsoft Word or other word processing program. Access to free word processing software is now readily available at office.com or openoffice.org. View the list of 5 completely free office suites here. You will need to know how to save your resume in different formats such as .pdf and .txt in preparation for uploading. You will also need to know how to quickly modify your resume and cover letter for different job skills

Step 6. Start Networking and Apply for Jobs

Search for and apply for jobs via traditional networking channels such as company websites, college career services, job fairs, job sites, internal hires, recruitment advertising and local employment agencies.  Do an online job search to find jobs online at large job sites such as Careerbuilder.com, Monster.com and Hotjobs.com. It’s also important to use social networking in your job search campaign. Create a professional Linkedin profile, explore how to apply for jobs and expand your social networking circle by connecting with people and joining groups.  More info about networking for a job can be found here.

This is also a good time to find three people who will give you a positive recommendation. Most hiring managers want at least three reliable references.

Step 7. Learn Interview Techniques

Preparing for the interview and developing good interviewing skills is an important part of your job search. Learn how to dress like a professional and demonstrate the behaviors that employers are looking for at the interview. Also, the key to a great interview is to review and practice answers to tough interview questions and also be prepared to carry out phone interviews/screenings. Lastly, learn what questions to ask and not ask of the hiring manager during your interview.  More details on interview techniques can be found here.

Step 8 – Participate in a Mock Interview

One of the best ways to prepare for an interview is to participate in a mock interview. Most job search classes or job centers may offer this service or you can practice with your family and friends. The mock interview gives you the opportunity to demonstrate preparation for the interview including exhibiting proper business attire, using concise and articulate language and demonstrating positive and confident body language.

Step 9. Make Contact and Follow-Up

Following up after the job interview is an important part of the job search process. Effectively contact and follow-up with Employers, headhunters and networking companies by sending a thank-you note and following up with a phone call. Information on creating thank-you letters can be found here.

Step 10. Continue your job search and keep your career plan current.

Motivate yourself by sending out at least 2 letters and emails each day In response to job postings to the contacts you identify within target companies.  Stay on top of your career plan and change your career plan or tasks if they aren’t working for you.

For more information about job search skills and how to create a successful career plan, click here.