Preparing for a job search is crucial especially in the present economy.  It is difficult to get an interview let alone a job these days. Because of this, you need to be prepared for anything as you begin job hunting. Chances are your competition is prepared, so you really need to stand out in a crowd.

Develop a job search plan. What industry are you targeting and which employers are on your list? For what jobs are you applying? Compile a list of target industries, employers, a career job profile, and a list of the jobs you plan on applying at this time.

Do you have an up-to-date resume? Make sure that the resume is targeted to your industry of interest. And, it’s imperative that you tailor your resume to fit each position for which you apply. Have your cover and thank you letters ready too.

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Get organized. Put all of your job searching materials including resume and letters in one place – a portfolio would be a great. You’ll want to record all of your activities, so a job search form with the name and contact info for each company would be ideal. The form should also include the company/job title for which you applied as well as the hiring manager, date of interview, follow up details, and next steps. Some job seekers use their e-mail contacts and calendar to stay on track. You decide what makes sense.

Get your list of references ready. It’s a good idea to contact your references prior to your job search and a good way for you to reconnect. Take the opportunity to confirm phone and e-mail information is up-to-date.

With a job search strategies and a comprehensive plan, you’re in control. You’ve got all of the details about the company and the position you need right at your fingertips. Your resume/letters are tailored to the search and demonstrate what an excellent match you are for the opportunity.  All job search activities thus far have been documented and are in a file, portfolio, or electronic calendar. Your references are all set and your friends and associates are aware that prospective employers will be calling.

Use this advice for preparing for a job search. Your job search will run smoothly if you are well prepared and have a plan. You’re in control when you’re managing each step in the process.

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