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Every professional dreams of landing that perfect job where the roles and responsibilities are in alignment with an individual's career aspirations and interests.
By starting early, planning intelligently, and making good use of your broad-based skills, especially those related to research, analysis and communication, it shouldn't be too hard to meet the challenges of choosing a career and be successful in the job search process.
Here are some tips on how to go about the process:
Do some research
During the job hunt, the first thing you want to do is research a particular industry to get an idea as to what type of job search will be most effective. Targeting your efforts and job search approach is an important first step for all job seekers.
For instance, if the retail industry interests you, you should arm yourself with information like what skills and education are required for a job in the industry and how employers like to receive resumes and applications will give you an edge in your search. This kind of information can be obtained from the career section of any company's website or by observing the recruitment advertisements in the daily newspapers.
Prepare a professional resume and cover letter
If you don't have any experience in the prospective field that does not mean that you don't have the skills to do the job. Avoid redundant details like hobbies and personal interests unless they are directly linked to the job applied for.
Most employers prefer to receive resumes either by fax or email. Customise your resume along with a clear cover letter, outlining your interest in the field and that particular company. It is always worth mentioning in your cover letter that you would like the opportunity to come down for a one-on-one interaction. Meeting in person is a very effective way to ensure that you are remembered, and thus improves your chances of being hired.
Keep your eyes and ears open
Closely follow both the advertised and unadvertised job postings. Keep an eye on job supplements like Times Ascent, Power Jobs etc and employment journals and websites like Naukri.com, Timesjobs.com. Monster.com etc. Explore the unadvertised job market as well.
Keep searching jobs through friends and contacts before they are posted. Tap into the alumni of your institution who may be working in leading organisations.
Remember, your network determines your net-worth, so talk to as many people as possible who are in the jobs that you would like to be in, as these discussions often lead to valuable job leads and contacts.
Work with a recruiter or job consultant
Using a specialised recruiter can ease the pressure and help you target your efforts to only the best opportunities. Recruitment consultants would often be willing to help you for a fee.
Give your consultant as much information as possible like your background, experience and career aspirations. Are you interested in a large or a small company, are you open to relocation etc. A skilled consultant can help you find a good job faster and also open doors to new opportunities.
Consider project work or internships
In any career, the best way to establish yourself is to gain some experience. Seek out training, do some project-based work and find a company that will be interested in that project. Most employers will respect your efforts, and you'll also gain confidence in your abilities.
Apply for an internship in the same way you would apply for a job, send a cover letter and resume and clearly mention that you are looking at an internship.
Blow your own horn
You also need to learn the art of self-promotion. Start writing for various trade magazines/ websites etc and mention that in your resume. Join clubs and take an active interest in a variety of activities. More often than not, it's the active and visible professionals who get the maximum opportunities from prospective employers.
If you have worked on some interesting projects in your career, put a small portfolio together. Treat every project as a portfolio piece and use it to showcase your knowledge and exposure.
Research, knowledge, skills and a focused job search approach will increase your success rate and give you a headstart in your career. Best of luck for finding that 'perfect job'!
Sunder Ramachandran is a managing partner at WCH Training Solutions, a New Delhi based corporate training and consulting firm. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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