Friday, 29 November 2013

Overcoming Job Search Barriers: Create an Action Plan

Job Search - two words that bring out the fear in a lot of people.

Today, I would like to discuss the approach to job search that smart job seekers implement - the job search plan.

Essentially, not having a job is just a problem that needs resolving, and all job seekers can benefit from following a timeless action plan that will enable them to over come the problem and gain solution (getting hired).

The key solutions to developing a good job search action plan, is to not expect instant results, and following the plan from start to finish.

But what exactly should your plan include?

Remember, you are looking to address: Employer Questions and Concerns

The first thing a potential employer wants is to learn enough about the candidate so they can make a decision. To do this, an employer has questions. So the first 'solution' all job seekers need to develop (yes, it takes time and effort) is a Good Answer to each of the employer questions - voiced and unspoken.

This means spending time learning about all yourself, the industry, the employer, the actual role so that you can talk with confidence and spontaneity about how your skills, experience, knowledge, licensing, qualifications, personal attributes meet the employers needs to eliminate their residual, usually unvoiced, concerns.  So ask yourself right now, "What do I really know about the type of work I am applying for?" AND "What do I still need to learn?"

Make a list if you have to, and start researching everything you are unsure of. It is up to you to look for Gaps and Barriers, anything that will cause an employer to eliminate you as a candidate, and then work on reducing, eliminating and overcoming them - not just one or two, but the whole lot you have identified.

Have you discovered a barrier?

There are four key ways of overcoming barriers and gaps:
  1. Find a resource
  2. Make a change
  3. Adjust the outlook
  4. Learn a new skill
 Let's say, one of the Barriers that you discover is that you don't have a resume that gets you interviews for the type of work you are seeking. That is a big problem, but not an unsolvable one. The simple solution is to find a suitable resource that will help you change what is wrong about your resume, so you can adjust the outlook employers have about you.

There are a few ways you can go about it. You could:
  • try and make a few changes to your resume your own self, even though you don't really know what changes you should make
  • get the assistance of family and friends
  • take a course
  • hire a professional
The first two methods will always be the cheapest, and when you are unemployed, paying for professional services can be too expensive for the lack of guaranteed result so a very tempting choice.  But don't just jump at that solution: the key here, is to remember Points 2 - Make a change and 3 - Adjust the (your) outlook as well. If you don't make a change, or adjust your own outlook, then you are unlikely to change the outlook or effect a change from employers. Is doing things yourself the best way to achieve solution to your problem?

Taking a course is, naturally, you using the fourth solution available - to learn a new skill, which leads you to needing to do a bit of further research to find an appropriate resource. Although this can be time consuming, it allows you to juggle the financial side of things a bit more affordably than going straight to a professional.

You probably found that you had multiple gaps and barriers, didn't you? (I'd be very surprised if you didn't).

What if you discovered that you need a certain type of licence?  Keep following the four ways of overcoming your barriers and gaps!

How important and how quickly can you reduce the barrier?  What actions do you need to take in order to overcome this?  Find a resource, make a change, adjust the outlook or learn a new skill until the 'problem' goes away.

Don't lose motivation, or hope, and become despondent in your job search - when you follow your action plan, you are making steady progress forward whether you realise it or not. Be proud of your small achievements; be realistic about how long it will take you to gain that type of work.

Apply the above action plan solutions to all aspects of your jobsearch: interview skills, applications submitted, even planning what to wear when you do make changes that get results.  Keep referring back to what you know and don't know about your field of work, and keep plugging away at lessening your barriers and closing the gaps. Focus your time, attention and actions on learning everything you can so you can eliminate employer concerns.

Happy Job Searching!