Seven Habits of Highly
by Linda Matias
In the job search craze, there are those who land a job right away and those
who struggle through the process of finding one for a long time. ‘Luck’ is
usually the response one hears from disenfranchised job seekers when they find
out that their neighbor down the street was offered a position after only a
two-week search. With many job seekers vying for only a few open positions, the
truth is that ‘luck’ rarely has anything to do with it.
Realizing that their job search campaign doesn’t have to be a never-ending
struggle, successful job seekers approach the process with patience and
persistence. If you want to be among the highly successful job seekers follow
the seven steps outlined below.
1. Search with purpose
Instead of trying to fit into a mold set by a hiring organization, target
companies that match your goals and career values; doing this will allows you to
focus your energy into searching for a position that is a natural fit.
After all, you don’t want to find yourself embarking on another search within
a year’s time because you made a decision in haste.
2. Always be prepared
Be ready for your day’s activities by 9 am. Opportunities rarely land on your
lap and you have to be prepared for the surprises that may come up during the
day. You don’t want to be caught sleeping when someone calls to discuss an
If you find yourself answering the phone like this: "hello? . . . well . . .
um . . . well, like I was kinda sleeping. . . how long is this gonna take? . . .
who are you again? . . . like I, um, contacted so many places, cuz, you know,
like, I can't like find a job . . ." then it is time to reprioritize your needs.
Waiting until your unemployment insurance is about to end before you begin
aggressively looking for a position can be a costly mistake. You don’t want to
find yourself in a situation where you are running low on resources and
desperation is about to set in. This is when mistakes are made and your job
search may begin to suffer.
3. Develop a job search plan
Organize your job search, map out a strategy, set priorities, and establish
goals. Begin your search with a clear focus and a plan. Participate in a number
of activities including answering classified ads, posting your resume on the
Internet, and going on informational interviews.
4. Bypass Human Resources
A human resources representative is also known as a “screener.” The
screener’s job is to review resumes and match your experience with a checklist
of requirements set forth by the hiring manager. If there are enough matches,
the human resources representative forwards the resume to the decision maker.
Unfortunately, not much is left to the screener’s interpretation. This is why
most opportunities are lost – because the screener doesn’t have the luxury of
making a decision based on instinct; he or she is instructed to follow the lead
of the hiring manager.
Since the decision makers (e.g., VP of Sales, Director of Marketing, or CEO)
are the ones who determine who is ultimately hired, it is advisable that you
apply directly to them.
5. Write follow-up letters
Well-written follow up letters can make a difference as to whether you get
hired. A follow-up letter is more than a simple note thanking the interviewer
for his or her time. It should be a sophisticated letter that either re-affirms
your interest in the position, serves as an opportunity to mention an important
point you neglected to bring up, and/or provides an opportunity to offer new
insight on a topic that was discussed during the interview.
6. Avoid toxic job seekers
Job clubs are a great way to generate ideas and for networking purposes.
However, some are also a breeding ground for negativity. These support groups
can inadvertently affect your job search. Take inventory of the job seekers in
attendance. Do they offer words of encouragement? Are they supportive of your
efforts, or do they feed into your insecurities?
If after such meetings you feel emotionally drained and start to believe your
chances of landing a job are bleak, then it’s time to search for a new support
7. Be good to yourself
There are two types of job seekers. One, that has a laid back approach, and
the other that always feels "there aren’t enough hours in the day" and
compulsively searches for a job without taking a breather.
Following in the footsteps of the latter is the fastest way to reaching burn
out and when careless mistakes are often made. Though your job search should be
your primary activity, don’t allow it to consume your every waking moment.
Every so often take a mini vacation; spend time with people who support you,
listen to music and participate in activities you enjoy. Clearing your mind
replenishes your energy and will allow you to continue searching for a job with
a fresh outlook.
Linda Matias is President of CareerStrides and The
National Resume Writers' Association. She has been quoted in The Wall Street
Journal, New York Newsday, Newsweek, and HR-esource.com. Visit her website
or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.