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But you can persevere. You can land the job you want – especially if you take these five steps:
1. Demonstrate Your Emotional Intelligence (EQ)
Sometimes, you may feel like throwing in the towel. You may rather stay in bed than get up and face another day of job searching. This happens to us all, but it's best to share your despondent moments only with those who are closest to you.
When you are out in the community, networking or attending career workshops, you should do your best to project a confident demeanor. Center your EQ: Be positive and show a willingness to help others. A positive attitude will help you become well-liked. Others will see you as a success and will be willing to refer you for positions at their companies. Your willingness to help others will encourage others to help you in return.
2. Do Your Research
Make a list of companies for which you want to work. Spend time researching your target companies. Contact people at these organizations for networking meetings. If possible, reach out about these meetings before any open jobs are even advertised. Hold numerous meetings. Use each as an opportunity to gather valuable information and make important connections with people who may be in a position to help you get the job you want.
3. Network the Right Way
At networking events, be attentive to others while also being willing to ask for help. Many people think only of their own situations and don't think of helping others – but not you. When people ask for leads, you can give them the names of hiring managers you know.
You should also network in your community. Tell everyone you know that you are looking for a job. Ask them to keep their ears to the pavement. You never know who might have the right information and connections to help you land your next job!
4. Nail the Interviews
You have to nail the interviews – all of them, whether by phone or in person, one-on-one or in a group. Be prepared for each interview, having researched the company, the position, competing organizations, and even the interviewers themselves. Use LinkedIn to learn a little more about the people who will interview you. Work what you learn into the conversation, if possible and appropriate.
After each interview, send unique follow-up notes to every interviewer. In each note, mention a specific point of interest raised by the person you're addressing. Be sure to send thank-you notes to everyone with whom you interact during the interview process – even the receptionist.
5. Don't Forget the People Who Help You Along the Way
The person who helped you revise your resume, the people with whom you formally networked, your neighbor who had a lead for you – these people were all indispensable to your job search. Whenever you land a new job, be sure to thank the people who helped you get there.
For some, gift certificates may be appropriate. For others, handwritten notes will be enough. For those special people who helped you in more meaningful ways, you may want to give even more. For example, if someone who contributed significantly to your job search is looking for a new engineering role, and the company you now work for just so happens to be looking for an engineer – well, you know what to do.
I've heard many job search success stories from my clients that contain these five elements. The job search is rarely easy, but if you display your EQ, do your research, help others, and humbly accept help yourself, you'll see dramatic results.
Bob McIntosh, CPRW, is a career trainer who leads more than 15 job search workshops at an urban career center.