This is “Why You Need a Process”, section 2.1 from the book Job Searching in Six Steps (v. 1.0).
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The six steps of the job search process are laid out in sequential order so you can follow them one at a time:
Many job seekers are overwhelmed at the beginning of their job search. There seems to be so much to do—résumés, interviews, and social mediaOnline communities where you can interact (or socialize) with other people. Facebook and LinkedIn are two examples of popular social media.. It is not surprising that many job seekers are afraid of networking!
A sequential job search process means that you don’t have to worry about what comes next. Focus on where you are for your search, and give yourself time on that step. Before you worry about résumés (or other items in step 2), let yourself explore possibilities, ideals, and desires (step 1). Before you get too anxious about interviewing (step 4), know that you will have the preparation of knowing yourself (step 1), positioning yourself effectively (step 2), and learning about the people and companies you will meet through in-depth research (step 3). There will be time for the job search to progress.
However, as you move through your job search sequentially, this doesn’t mean that you never revisit what you’ve already done. For example, if you are at the stage where you are meeting people (step 4), you are collecting information from these meetings. You might learn that a particular skill or experience is even more important than you initially thought. You may decide to go back to your marketing (step 2) to highlight these items even more in your résumé or structure future cover letters in a different way to emphasize this new information. These marketing changes will happen while you are still interviewing. In the thick of your job search, you will be juggling the six steps concurrently.
You might be juggling different job search targets, each of which is at a different stage. For example, you are interested in sales positions in both the technology industry and the pharmaceutical industry. You start your search focusing on technology companies and you are now at the interview stage with several of them. You have traction in this target, so you add pharmaceutical companies to the mix. You want to research these more before approaching them for interviews, so you are at step 3 for pharmaceuticals, but at step 4 for technology.
While you want to follow the steps sequentially, recognize that there will be instances in your search that the steps are revisited and therefore taken out of sequence. This is a natural part of the search process as you interact with people and situations evolve. Be flexible. Know that you will be learning things along the way—information about jobs, companies, and industries that aren’t advertised—and gaining feedback about your skills and experience. You want to adapt your job search process to these new pieces of information.
The six-step job search process gives you tactics for how to get from where you are to your next job. It is based on the mechanics of how the job market plays out between employers and job candidates. This is important because job seekers often don’t know what to do to secure a job. They may know how to do the job—that is, they have the selling and communication skills and experience for the sales job itself—but getting the job, convincing someone to hire you, is different from doing the actual job. It is the difference between being a good driver and being able to pass the road test. You want to prepare for the road test (in this case, the job search process) in order to get a chance to drive.
But these tactics of the six-step job search process assume you have some fundamentals in place. Getting your driver’s license also assumes you have certain fundamentals—for example, knowledge of traffic laws and proper eyesight. Here are some key fundamentals you will need to launch your job search:
With these fundamentals in place, you can use the process to take you through the mechanics of your search.