The Three Must-Knows for an Effective Job Search

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You’ve probably heard by now that being a job seeker is like being a sales person. What you are selling is yourself, and like any good sales person you need to know a few things.

First, you need to know what you are selling. Second, you need to know how to sell it; and third, you need to know where to sell it and, less-well-known, where not to sell it.


Know What You are Selling

What are the benefits of your product? Why is it worth what you are asking for? What will they get out of it? These are important questions to ask yourself when you begin your job search.

It is important to know how much you are worth. You can get an idea of your market value by looking at the demand for your role in various industries and the average pay. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics’ web page includes information on the national and state average pay, job outlook and typical job duties for a wide variety of positions. The website also includes information on typical education paths, similar occupations and more.

There are numerous websites for calculating your market value including Sallary.com and PayScale. To fully access these reports, you typically must first create a free profile, then answer a series of questions about your education, experience, skills, location, certifications and so on. Final reports can include your current market value and the future trajectory of your value across different locations.

Another way to know your market value in an industry is to network and conduct informational interviews. Networking can take place at networking events or in causal public areas. The purpose of networking is to get to know the other person and their career. Save the favors for when you have a good relationship with them. Informational interviews are a way to get to know a company or industry before applying. Remember though that this is not the place to ask for a job.


Know How to Sell It

Some job descriptions are vague about what job duties you’ll be performing. Even with a clear job description, it is still imperative to talk to people in the know to get a more accurate depiction of what the position does and what skills and experiences the employer will look for.

You might communicate with people that have worked in the field for years to find out what worked best for them. You could also communicate with people recently hired in the field for the same reasons. Always find a way to talk to a recruiter who hires for positions you are interested in so you know what looks best to them. These interactions can happen anywhere— like coffee shops or parks, so keep an eye out.


Know Who, or Who Not, to Sell to

Many job seekers don’t stop to think about whether or not they’ll actually like working for a particular employer. By taking the time to do research, you may find there are certain companies you don’t want to work for. You may even find that the job isn’t nearly as glamorous or exciting as you initially thought.

Know yourself and what you’re looking for. What in your prior work experiences made you happy or unhappy? Ask yourself important questions like: “How is the office culture?” “What drew me to work for this company?” and “How flexible would my schedule be if I were to work here?”

Taking the extra time to know your value, how to sell it and who you want to sell it to will make finding a job a lot easier in the long run. It will also make keeping your job much easier once you get it.

Now that you know the pertinent ins and outs of the job market, get out there and successfully sell yourself!

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