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Planning Your Job Search

by Stefanie Spikell,
The William Shakespeare of Resume Writing/Career Coaching

Today's job market is a dog eat dog environment. You are competing against global candidates, ever younger, ever more technologically competent, ever more willing to work for less. How you approach your job search is key to your success.

Here are the things you need to determine before you begin your job search:

1. What do you value in the work place? What do your ethics demand in the way of performance? What is your philosophy of working? Are you a 9-5 kind of person? If so, maybe the more structured government work routine is to your liking, then. Do you work at all kinds of odd hours, well into the night? Then maybe freelance work or self-directed sales is for you.

2. Make a long list of all the companies you think you might like to work for - do your research first and find out what their style is, what they are looking for, how they operate. Don't eliminate any company just because you are not sure you qualify. If the company appeals to you, put it down on your list.

3. Discover who the hiring manager is - by name. If you can't direct your inquiry to that person, directly, you will have much less of a chance of success in getting the job.

4. Put down the names of everyone you know who might be able to introduce you to a hiring manager. Don't be afraid to ask for this help - people love to feel like they are "in the know" and will be happy to pass your name along. And if they can't give you a referral, they might have a good tip for you.

5. Always have your resume prepared by a professional so that it stands out from the pack, emphasizing your results and accomplishments. Never leave home without it!

Once you start implementing your strategy, you will be amazed at how many people you know who can help you. Don't let up for even one day, because marketing yourself is a full time job until you get the job of your choice.

Stefanie Spikell, owner of two companies, Expert Resumes and Clear Communications Business Consulting (, is a noted business/careers coach, management consultant and resume writer. In her 20-year career, she has managed marketing communications departments for major engineering firms, taught at the university level, published hundreds of business-related reports and articles, and written thousands of winning resumes.