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Essential Elements of An Effective Job Search

Editor's Note: Editor's Note: This tip sheet was prepared in cooperation with the Business Leadership Network (BLN), a program of the President's Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities. The BLN is a national program led by employers in concert with State Governors Committees that engages the leadership and participation of companies throughout the United States to hire qualified job applicants with disabilities.

Whether you are entering the workforce for the first time, returning to the job market, or seeking advancement, the challenges of a job search are similar. Your goal is to find the position that best meets your needs. You must be qualified and able to sell yourself as the best applicant for the job(s) for which you apply. Here are some tips that can help you in meeting your job search goal.

Know Thyself

Have a strong sense of who you are. Know your assets and how to market them to employers.

Committed to Lifelong Change

Follow job trends. Take the initiative to maintain cutting edge skills that match changing employer requirements.

Be Computer Literate

Increasing your technical computer skills increases your marketability in the job market. Conduct online job searches. Visit employer Web pages and key job sites such as:

CareerPath: http://www.careerpath.com/

America's Job Bank: http://www.ajb.dni.us

Monster Board: http://www.monster.com/

CareerMosaic: http://www.careermosaic.com/

Update Your Resume Often

Customize your resume to reflect the assets you bring to each job. Use key words that can be electronically scanned by potential employers to positions you want. Reflect continuous employment in your skill area. Summer employment should support your field of interest. Volunteer or obtain temporary jobs if you are unemployed. Select a resume format that minimizes any gaps in employment.

Be Your Best

Locating a job is a full time endeavor. Give full attention to all that you do. Errors will knock you out of the running.

Be Organized

Have a written personal plan for vertical and lateral growth opportunities. Know what you must do each day to move closer to your goal. Stay focused.

Expand Your Network

Maintain and continuously strive to broaden your network. If you are working, network inside the company. Join professional groups.

Research Job Trends and Companies

Select targets of opportunity that match your skill areas. Request and study annual reports of select companies. Reflect each company s image in all communications with each company's representatives. Make good use of library resources. Read trade journals and business publications.

Have a Positive Attitude

A pleasant personality is a necessary asset. Your eagerness to adapt and to be a team player is essential. Show that you are flexible. A sense of humor and positive attitude are pluses.

Disclose a Disability Only as Needed

The only reason to disclose a disability is if you require an accommodation for an interview or to perform the essential functions of a particular job. Your resume and cover letter should focus on the abilities you bring to the job, not on your disability.

Be Prepared to Conduct an Effective Interview

Look your best from head to toe. Dress conservatively. Be brief and to the point when answering interview questions. Maintain a demeanor of success and reflect the company image when you respond. Have full confidence in what you bring to the employer and show how your skills meet the company's specific hiring needs. Ask thoughtful questions about the job and the company. NEVER say anything negative. Follow up immediately with a thank you letter or e-mail transmission.

Remember

Push yourself to go the extra mile in your job search and you will find the opportunity you are seeking.