[This is Step 1 in Part 1 of Job-Hunt's Online Job Search Tutorial.]
In the past (up to ~2008), we could usually muddle through a job search on our own. It wasn't easy or fun, but it was do-able.
Not any more! Too many things have changed and too much competition exists now for "muddling through" to be good enough in today's job market.
Good quality, low-cost or free help is available, as you'll learn below. Use it! Getting help with understanding the new rules of today's job search is the key to your success and the shortest job search for you.
Fortunately, most of us don't need to do a job search often enough to be really good at it. Unfortunately, when you need to do it, you must do it well.
If it has been a few years since your last job search, the skills and knowledge you have are rusty. Technology has been rapidly changing and that has substantially changed how employers recruit. There is much to learn, for most of us. The good news is that the skills we pick up in today's job search will also probably help us do our jobs better, too.
Many old ways of finding a job simply don't work now. Time to get some coaching and some support.
In the last few years as both social media and search engines have become more powerful and widely used, employers now leverage both social media and search engines -- something job seekers need to learn to leverage, too.
In addition, because the average job posting receives 250 applications (MANY more than in the pre-technology past), employers collect and store those applications in an Applicant Tracking Systems ("ATS"). An ATS is a large database that is searched for qualified applicants using keywords.
[Read Job-Hunt's free Guide to Personal SEO to learn how to become positively visible in both social networks and applicant tracking systems.]
As a result of those major changes, getting help in understanding how the recruiting and job search processes work now is very important to your success. In addition, the knowledge that you're not alone in your job search frustrations and the problems you face is also both helpful and reassuring.
More "heads"are definitely better than one -- the old cliché is absolutely true, so avoid doing your job search alone.
Many sources of help exist, and more are developing.
If you are lucky (?) enough to be part of a mass layoff, you could have some help from outplacement counselors. Don't ignore help from that service if you have access to it even if it only lasts a few days or weeks.
If you weren't part of a mass layoff, or if your outplacement services have expired, you still have many options for finding help:
Job clubs or job search support groups, regardless of what you call them, can be the difference between a short and a long job search.
Online job search expert Susan P. Joyce has been observing the online job search world and teaching online job search skills since 1995. A veteran of the United States Marine Corps and a recent Visiting Scholar at the MIT Sloan School of Management, Susan is a two-time layoff “graduate” who has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a compensation consulting firm. Since 1998, Susan has been editor and publisher of Job-Hunt.org. Follow Susan on Twitter at @jobhuntorg and on Facebook, LinkedIn.