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I’ve been in the full-time work force for just under twenty years and my partner Connie just under thirty. We’ve both seen incredible job markets, where people were getting multiple offers sometimes with little effort on their part. We’ve also seen slow markets or, in the case of the last few years, exceptionally difficult ones, where even experienced, well-educated people couldn’t find or keep jobs. I’ve heard many people blame these up-and-down job markets on the economy or other external forces. This book is not about the economy or any theoretical discussion of why the job market may be robust or weak.

This book is a practical discussion of actionable steps (six of them) that you can take to land a job regardless of the market. Whether the estimate is 25 percent unemployment (which, in the thick of the recession, I’ve seen cited in the media as the real unemployment rate for certain demographics) or single-digit unemployment, that number doesn’t apply to you. For any individual, the unemployment rate is 0 percent or 100 percent. You either have a job or you don’t. You either want the job you have or you don’t. When you are looking for a job and there is 10 percent unemployment, you just want to be one of the nine people that has a job.

Still, you might think even that one job is beyond your grasp. You think you don’t have the right degree. Your school is in a different location than where you’d like to work. Not enough jobs are listed or employers are not visiting your campus. This type of thinking cedes control of your search to outside forces. It is not up to your professors, your school, your career services support, or recruiters to get you a job. This book is about the proactive things that you can do to get yourself a job.

In the first chapter, we’ll mention the different types of job searches you’ll find yourself conducting: full-time job after graduation, internship, return to workforce, career change, and relocation. The rest of the book is about how, regardless of the type of job search or overall market, you can be proactive and successfully land a job. You don’t need any one specific degree or major. You don’t need special research ability, although research is one of the steps in our process, as you’ll see in Chapter 6 "Step 3: Conduct In-Depth Research". You don’t need special technology, though social media and other technology-related tools are also a critical component of the job search, and we’ll discuss this throughout and specifically in Chapter 11 "Social Media and the Job Search". What you need to land a job is a structured approach, actionable steps, and the willingness to see this through.

Six Steps to Job Search Success provides that structure with six steps anyone can take to

  1. identify the types of jobs they’d like (Step 1: Identify Your Target);
  2. position themselves for these jobs (Step 2: Create A Compelling Marketing Campaign);
  3. figure out what employers are looking for (Step 3: Research);
  4. develop relationships with prospective employers (Step 4: Network and Interview);
  5. stay connected throughout the decision-making process and fix any problems that might arise (Stay 5: Stay Motivated; Organized and Troubleshoot Your Search); and
  6. complete their search (Step 6: Negotiate and Close the Offer).

Connie and I are both former recruiters with over forty years of combined hiring experience between us. Connie led recruiting areas for three Fortune 500 companies, and I have led recruiting in-house for a Fortune 500 but also as an external recruiter for established firms and start-ups. We’ve hired thousands of people from interns to senior executives. We developed the process detailed in this book based on how hiring works.

We moved our focus from recruiting for the employer to career coaching for the jobseeker because we have seen too many otherwise qualified candidates derail their job search with bad technique. In the ideal world, the most qualified skills and experience prevail. In reality, the ability to look for a job and land a job is a separate and distinct skill than any of the skills required for the job itself. We don’t want you to be the amazing potential hire that doesn’t get noticed or can’t get through the interview process. We share our job search techniques with you so that you take back control of your job search, add an exceptional new job to your career, and enjoy the life rewards a satisfying career brings you. Let’s get started on your job search success.