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job hunting tips for highschool graduatesLooking for a summer job or something more long term? Not sure?

Here are some job hunting tips to help you find job that is a good fit for you.

Before jumping in:

It is important to understand the job market or what is happening in the work environment. The world changes fast.

Do The Research

Work trends are constantly evolving. There will be jobs in the future that don’t even exist today, so don’t get fixed on a plan – be flexible. You will want to be able to go with the flow but yet remain focused on what you like to do.

Once you have a good feel for the market and where you want to be headed, you will need to be able to market yourself. It is important that you understand your strengths and where you want to go with them.

Be honest with yourself and focus on your goals and aspirations. Then outline a plan as to how you can achieve that goal. Part of this involves taking risks and thinking outside of what you normally do. Be a lifelong learner and absorb as much as you can.

Set a Plan

Having a plan is important, but it is also important to be able to adjust/adapt to change because life seldom works out as you may have planned. Realize that you do need a plan to get you started in the right direction though.

Evaluate yourself to understand what you really like to do, what you need to do in terms of hours, money, location etc…

Research to understand as much as possible about the job or jobs you would like and the skills needed. Learn as much as possible so you have a full understanding of what jobs are available and the pros and cons of each.

Consider Your Job Skills

Fill in the gaps in terms of whether there is training you need to take or skills you want to develop more.

If your ultimate goal is to land a job you like and are happy with, you will want to establish your job search objectives early in the process and define in detail what a job entails that you will like and where you will find satisfaction and growth. Knowing the types of skills you want to use, what you like and don’t like doing, along with the type of environment you want to work in can be great ways to help structure your job search.

So how do your skills match up? Keep in mind that there are different types of skills.

Think of your skills in terms of 3 categories:

  • Transferable skills: These are skills you apply to a variety of jobs like problem solving, communication or organizations skills. Make a list of these types of skills that you feel confident about.
  • Job-related skills: Skills specific to a job, like proficiency with specific computer programs, customer service experience, forklift driving, etc…
  • Personal (adaptive) skills). Skills that relate to your personality, like enthusiasm, punctuality, honesty, loyalty, dependability, etc…

Build Your Personal Brand

Another important factor when searching for a job is building your personal brand. When you are looking for a job….and let’s face it…even when you are not looking…you are marketing yourself non-stop, every day to everyone you meet. A key element in marketing is of course your brand….your PERSONAL brand. And you are the sole decision maker and creative genius behind your brand – the brand being YOU.

The key is to figure out what makes you unique, memorable, stand out in a crowd, etc…. It’s about the packaging on the outside, but also what makes you different on the inside.

It is important to be aware of your personal brand because no one else is going to promote you better than you can promote yourself. You are responsible for your success. And remember, on the web everything you say is tied back to you and is view able by everyone. I will not get into the details of social media brand building today, but know that you will want to maintain a professional and consistent image across the media sites to market yourself.

There are a couple unspoken personal brand elements that you need to pay attention to.

1. Knowing how to dress.

Think of that as your packaging. Every brand has packaging – the outward unspoken communication of who you are.

What does your appearance say about you?

Does it suggest purposeful, determined, organized and polished? Dressing neat and clean is key to presenting an appropriate image and brand. Put some thought into what you wear because others are forming an opinion about you based on it.

2. Knowing what to say.

When someone asks you “What do you do or want to do?” you want to be ready to respond. You want and need to make a strong impression in those first 7 seconds. It may help to think of it like an Elevator Pitch. The time it takes for the elevator doors to close and take you to the desired floor. That’s the length of time you have to promote yourself, your brand to that other person in the elevator. Do you know what you are going to say before those elevator doors open again?

The idea is that the message can be conveyed clearly in time which is about 30 seconds. The obvious key components would be your name, the type of job you are interested in, relevant experience and top qualities.

Know Where to look

Now that you have your plan, your brand and your elevator speech you are ready to find that job.

But where do you look?

In this market, the most effective way to find a job is through networking. Over 80% of today’s jobs are not advertised.

Employers prefer to use their employee network to find qualified individuals. Thus networking needs to be a critical component of your job search efforts. You can streamline your networking at Job Fairs, by have a strong online presence and by getting involved in community groups and/or activities.

You will also want to search companies that you would really like to work for. Identify the key contacts at the company (HR Staff, recruiter, manager or directors of departments). Also look at who you know that may know some of these key contacts.

There you have it. A few job hunting tips to get you off on the right foot. There is a lot here so be sure to read over it another time or two to really get a handle on.

And remember, above all, success requires persistence. Always be learning and improving and you’ll set your self up for a lifetime of success.

Guest Post: Paula Wieczorek is currently the Branch Manager for Manpower.  Manpower has been locally owned and operated since 1978 and has been proudly serving the Winona community for 27 years.


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