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"My friends say I'd be a great accountant. And while I'm good at math, I really don't like it."

2 Simple Ways to Improve Your Job Search

March 12, 2015

Once you find a job you're interested in, the path to employment is fairly straightforward. Resumes, applications, interviews and, if all goes well, a job offer. This of course all assumes that you can actually find a job that you’d like to apply for in the first place. You probably know half a dozen websites where you can find job postings, but how do you find the right job openings?

Get to know yourself.

Many people go through life never really knowing who they are. Your job search starts with an understanding of your passions, desires, and strengths. The job market is littered with men and women in their late 20s who thought they wanted to do one thing, but quickly found out they actually don't like anything in their careers. It's an unfortunate reality, and something that could be avoided if you take the time for some honest self-reflection before you start applying for jobs.

Shaughn from Kellogg’s has a good resource for understanding yourself better. “I would recommend Strength Finder. While many people focus on areas of improvement, this book focuses on ones strengths. It is by knowing one’s own strong points that you can begin to understand what roles are best suited for you personally as well as professionally.”

Many companies actually use the Strength Finder with entry-level employees to help those employees better understand where they could successfully grow within the company.

If you don't want to pickup a book, invite close friends and family to offer their perspective into your strengths. When have they seen you most happy? What makes you come alive? When have they seen you entirely enthralled in a task? Then, ask them opposite. When have they seen you most frustrated? What have they seen you desperately avoid?

If you talk to friends and family, consider their insights as a few pieces to a larger puzzle. Don't let their opinions be absolute. They may want the best for you, but only you truly know exactly what you want. Be honest with yourself and make sure your self-reflection is objective as possible.

Use your existing network.

Networking is one of the most neglected methods to finding a job. However, when it's utilized can be your most valuable asset. Your network consists of anyone you know or are connected to. If you’re searching for a job, make sure your friends and family know about it. The people that are close to you more than likely won’t want to place you in a poor situation.

You should also visit your career services office on campus if you're about to graduate. It's an invaluable resource for networking. They can connect you alumni or even company recruiters.

Nicole from ManpowerGroup said plainly, “[Networking] is something you should really work on because networking is so important in the job search process. Look at it this way, if someone approached you and asked you for help would you be offended? Most people like to help others and are happy to do what they can. Maybe start networking with friends and family first until you become comfortable enough to extend your network.”

You should use professional networking sites like LinkedIn to help your job search. Get to know yourself, so that you don’t find yourself changing careers less than 2 years after receiving your undergraduate or graduate degree. Then use your network to amplify your job search to new heights. 

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