One third of Americans report that they will be job hunting this year. This goes much further than the more than 23 million Americans who are unemployed or underemployed, including discouraged job seekers who have given up the hunt, 12.5 million actively looking for work, and 8 million people with part-time jobs who need full time employment.
In today’s economy, a job is no longer something that binds employer and employee “til death do us part.” According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, people hold an average of 10 to 15 jobs during a career.
After 35 years of helping people reach career and financial goals, Crown has advised millions of people in developing a career. To get to work in 2013, here are eight proven tips to finding a dream job.
1. Accept Responsibility
Your next great job begins with you. No economy, political party, or corporate entity can be responsible for your success. Begin your job hunt knowing that you can do this. As Thomas Jefferson noted, “Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.”
2. Know Yourself
Knowing yourself is the first step to creating a career that will meet your goals in life. Evaluation tools, such as Career Direct® and others help provide a roadmap to your greatest strengths and skills. Before investing years of your life or possibly hundreds of thousands of dollars in education, take serious time to reflect on where you want to be and what strengths you have. Don’t spend more time researching the next car you plan to buy than you spend researching your career and your interests.
3. Find a Mentor
If branching out into something new, find a mentor. Get some experience working or volunteering with them and get acquainted with an industry you’ve always been intrigued by through getting to know influential people in that field. However, be careful to make the relationship mutual. Respect their time and try to take their advice more often than not. A great mentor will be a person with a long track record of proven success in their industry.
4. Own a Niche
In an increasingly specialized society, consider your greatest strengths in your field and become the expert. Instead of trying to be a generalist, develop skills in your niche and actively market your expertise.Consider starting a blog where you routinely give advice and engage with other thought leaders in your field. Develop a class or skills training session that you can teach, and market that to industries and groups that could benefit from your talents and become clients. Many full time jobs come from consultant relationships that lead to long-term work.
5. Brand Yourself
You are your number one product! You must brand yourself digitally so people can find you and know who you are. Capitalize on networking sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Aboutme.com.
Consider investing in a website and blog for yourself – in your name – so that prospective clients can easily find you.
Also, do some online house cleaning. Prospective employers today will look at Facebook and other on-line locations to better know the people they may hire. View these online social media accounts and your blog as an extension of your resume. In fact, most potential employers will see this before they ever see a resume since you are most likely to be hired by friends and your network contacts. Does your online profile make you look like an executive or a college party animal?
6. Network Daily
According to a recent survey of people who found jobs, 77 percent did NOT getting work through job ads. Such business job hunt websites are usually best for locating entry-level work (not a bad thing) but for long-term gain, nothing beat personal connections. Join local business networks. Get involved in your community by volunteering with non-profits. Network with your temporary employment agency that can actively work with you to find job openings.
View networking as a full time job and do something everyday that helps you build and maintain your network. In fact, never eat alone; make every lunch and dinner count. An unlisted job market exists as business leaders stay on the look out for available and talented people.
7. Join the Free Agent Economy
Part-time employment and flexible arrangements are, in fact, becoming the norm as the American job market is transitioning to a Free Agent Economy, in which part-time, flexible and often short-term opportunities provide long-term income. As reported in USA Today, “Many businesses plan to bring on more part-time workers next year, trim the hours of full-time employees or curtail hiring,” so that part-time job may be your best offer. And long-term unemployment is a turn off to hiring managers.
In a poll reported at Forbes magazine, managers said that people out of work longer than two years were viewed more negatively that people with a criminal record but holding down a job. However, being out of work from 6 months to a year was not a concern to most managers.
8. Be Persistent
Finding a great career may take some time. On average, for every $10,000 you’re trying to make in salary, it takes a month of searching. So consider the job you want and do the math. But don’t stop your job hunt with a mailed cover letter and resume. Take your prospective boss to lunch. Attend company events. Creatively pursue opportunities to meet the decision makers. Consider asking for an interview even if the company isn’t hiring just yet, anything to start a conversation about how you can help them meet their company goals in the New Year.
Robert Dickie III is president of Crown, a non-profit dedicated to helping people create long term plans for personal financial, career, and business success.