Job Search Expert’s Tip of the Month – December

4 ways to take responsibility for your own job search

Mark Stelzner, founder of JobAngels, made a fantastic remark at Jason Seiden’s “Super Staying Power: What You Need to Become Valuable and Resilient at Work” book signing last night: Job seekers need to take responsibility in their searches. Stelzner went on to tell a story I can unfortunately relate to about an individual who Googled him, found his home number, called him, demanded Stelzner help him find a job and then hung up on him when it sounded like “too much work.”

While no one has ever called me at home, I get e-mails like this all the time from recent graduates I don’t know expecting me to drop what I’m doing and find them a job. I’ve actually just stopped answering those e-mails because it’s my goal to give you the tools you need to land a job yourself. It’s the old “teach a man to fish” adage.

So how can you begin taking responsibility in your job search?

1. Ask for help when you believe you’ve exhausted your options and you have specific questions mentors can answer. Unless you’re paying a career coach to map out your strategy, you should come to mentors with specific questions in mind—not just “can you help me?” Understand what the missing piece might be and how this individual can help you. Be specific!

2. Make a written plan—and update it frequently. Speaking of job search strategies, I am a big believer in creating a written plan. For more details about how to do that, read “Calm your parents’ frustrations with your job search” and “Take action: 10 steps for landing an entry-level job.”

3. Attend plenty of in-person networking events. There’s something about getting out from behind your computer and meeting people face-to-face—particularly if you have to pay to attend the event—that screams you are taking responsibility for your own search. Make sure you bring business cards and have your “elevator pitch” ready to go.

4. Increase or enhance your skill set. If you feel you’re being looked over for positions because you’re lacking in one or more areas, attend a seminar, workshop or class to improve yourself! There are going to be times during your job search that you need to spend money, but that’s part of taking responsibility. (And guess what? It might be tax deductible!)

~ Heather Huhman, Job Search Expert, Campus Calm

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