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The Ultimate Guide to Successful Job Hunting

The Ultimate Guide to Successful Job Hunting

WomenBloom | DivineCaroline

Conducting a job search these days can be bewildering and frustrating. The competition seems fierce, the economy is slowing, resumes submitted online seem to fall into a silent black hole, and as a woman of a certain age, even if you get the interview, you often hear that you’re over-qualified. What is a midlife woman to do?

Never fear, help is near.

WomenBloom talked with Kate McLagan, VP of Client Services for Right Management in Austin, Texas, a large outplacement firm helping people in job transition. Kate has a wealth of information and tips for those of us looking for employment.

Why does it seem so hard?

Kate points out that if you haven’t looked for work in the last few years, or, if your job has always come to you through promotions or head hunters, you probably are out of touch with what it takes these days to conduct a successful job sales and marketing campaign for yourself. Yes, you read that correctly, gentle readers, the job hunt is really a sales and marketing campaign for yourself.

It helps to understand that there has been a major shift in how to think of the job-hunting process. Nowadays, we need to have the mindset of seeing ourselves and our career as our “business.” No longer can we just show up for work, do it reasonably well, and expect it to be there for us as long as we want it. Those who are most successful are proactive and take responsibility for themselves as their own business, even if they are someone’s employee.

It is the era of You, Inc. That means you have to differentiate yourself from everyone else by identifying and cultivating your personal brand.

To understand the job hunt landscape, Kate likes to use the metaphor of an iceberg. The jobs you see—those listed on job boards or Web sites, in newspapers or professional journals etc.—represent at most only 15 percent of the jobs that are obtained. Eliminate the postings that were filled long ago, or the job postings that are just “teasers” (postings that don’t really exist and are meant to keep the company’s name in the public eye) and that number shrinks further. And, since those jobs are visible to everyone, competition for them is bruising.

Tapping into that 85 percent of the hidden job market is the key to your success. How do you do that?