Five Effective Strategies to Maximize a Job Search

There is no one-size-fits-all strategy when it comes to finding a meaningful, successful career. And while the route to a successful career can vary by industry and individual, the journey always begins with following an effective plan. Tammy Fernandez, director of corporate social responsibility for Apollo Education Group, identifies five effective ways that can help recent graduates, those re-entering the workforce or those looking to change careers completely to start down the path to finding a personally fulfilling and professionally rewarding career.

  1. Find your passion. Everyone wants a rewarding career, but this involves more than just a position that pays top dollar.  Identifying the enjoyable aspects of a current or potential position ignites passion for contributing to personal and professional success. When people find their passion and it aligns with the company’s mission, they look forward to coming to work. They welcome new challenges and the opportunity to accomplish the goals they set for themselves. Passion is contagious. It inspires others to do their best work and instills a sense of pride amongst colleagues.
  2. Cultivate your strengths. Everyone has unique talents, traits and interests, and individual contributions that can lead to great ideas, collaborative work groups and better business outcomes. The ability to demonstrate value to an organization based on personal strengths is important for career growth and development. In many cases, when employees fail in a position it is because their role was misaligned with their individual strengths.
  3. Who do you know? Competition is fierce for highly sought-after positions. To be successful in a job search, it is not only what you know, but who you know. Possessing both knowledge and skills is critical. Strong professional references who can personally attest to your skills and positive work habits can pave the way to an exciting new opportunity.
  4. Build a professional network.  A professional network is important for anyone, regardless of how long they have been in the workforce. Utilize professionally focused social media outlets to create a profile, post a résumé, include a list of relevant skills and career aspirations and research and connect with appropriate professional associations and related industry groups. Schedule time each day to read about news and advancements relevant to your industry and engage in discussions with your network on those topics. Finally, communicate with industry peers on a regular basis to share ideas and best practices.
  5. Become a lifelong learner. Today’s career tenure may last as long as 50 years. An outdated training course or a college degree earned 30 years ago will likely not suffice to provide all of the tools needed for the future. The majority of today’s students enrolled in higher education are working adults who balance career and family. These forward-thinking individuals are gaining the education and skills needed to advance in their current position, or those that apply to an entirely new job.

A well-executed job search is best done with planning and patience. Be fluid in the search by re-examining current strategies and revising as needed. Take the time to better understand personal passions and skills and seek out the careers that best fit them. Finally, consider returning to the classroom to learn new skills that increase marketability in the workforce.