"What are you looking for?" is the first question you will be asked when people learn that you
are job hunting. People want to know what you want so they can help you find it.
When someone asks you what you are job looking for, you MUST answer with a job or two (three at the most).
Don't just blurt out a job title. Include some useful details to help people understand your job search target. Your answer can be whatever is appropriate for you, continuing your current career or changing to a new field.
Help People to Help You
Don't make people drag the job information out of you, because they might not make the effort and, then, you'll lose that opportunity to make a connection that could be THE connection you've been waiting for.
So, when someone is nice enough to ask what you are looking for, give them good solid clues about what you want, like -
waiter at a high-end restaurant in downtown Boston or near the waterfront,
administrative assistant to the manager of the branch ofice of a large bank or credit union in the northern suburbs,
Microsft .NET project manager in an IT consulting firm or software company anywhere in MetroWest,
CEO of an energy product distribution company in the Northeast,
or whatever you want and are qualified for...
Giving generic responses - like "I'll take anything!' "Problem solving!" or "Working with people!" - are not useful because they apply to almost everything, everywhere.
If you don't tell people specifically what you want, they will
be unable to effectively help you. You will be wasting your time, and everyone else's time, too, And the result is often a longer job search for you.
MYTH: You are "being flexible" and "keeping ALL your options open" when you say you'll "take anything."
REALITY: No one will be able to help you because they won't know what you want. You'll waste time chasing every job lead that looks remotely interesting, so you won't be focused and neither will your resume or your networking.
You will be more successful, more quickly, when you know what you want, and you go after it consistently.
Not knowing - or not telling people - what you want to do is the NUMBER ONE MISTAKE job seekers make!
Focus your resume and online profiles
If you don't have target jobs, your resume becomes a simple work history, filled with phrases from your past job descriptions. That kind of resume gets largely ignored now because people have the technology for be more focused and to make the employer feel that the job applicant has a genuine interest in the employer.
You will be at a competitive disadvantage with a generic, one-size-fits-every-opportunit resume. When you are focused one or two jobs, you can customize your resume for each kind of job - emphasizing the skills, experience, and training you've had for that particular job. This shows your fit for the job, and it also shows your interest.
Need HELP figuring out what you want to do?
If you need
help figuring out the answer to the "what do you want"
question, the most frequently-used and -recommended book (for
good reason!) is What
Color Is Your Parachute, by Richard Bolles. If your local library has only one career guidance book, this book is probably the one.
and self-exploring exercises in this book should provide eye-opening
insights for you, and it is updated every year to keep it current.
Dick Bolles Web site, JobHuntersBible (the nickname frequently used for his book), supplements the material
in his book with material he personally selected - useful articles,
information, and other resources.
Taking career assessment tests may be helpful to you. Read the Career Assessments articles to learn more.
Professional career counselors
are also available:
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- About the author...
Online job search expert Susan P. Joyce has been observing the online job search world and teaching online job search skills since 1995. Susan is a two-time layoff "graduate" who has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a compensation consulting firm. In 1998, her company, NETability, Inc. purchased Job-Hunt.org, and Susan has been editor and publisher of Job-Hunt since then. Follow Susan on Twitter at @jobhuntorg and on Google+