What do I do now: a guide to a successful job search

Dr. Leonard C. Schneider, JVS Executive Director

You've worked hard, been a loyal employee, and did all the "right things" … or so you thought. But, now, after years of steady employment, you are faced with the prospect of losing your job, or you may have already been let go. Scared? Apprehensive? Not sure which way to turn? Let us help!

 

Hopefully you are reading this long before you need to find a job, because a job search is an ongoing process and should really begin as early as high school. There are many things you can do to make your search satisfying and successful, however, and we are happy to share this resource guide with you as you decide what you want do next and perhaps even reevaluate what you want to be "when you grow up." Many successful business people working for years in a single career have become "career changers" and found not only a new job, but a renewed life as well!

First of all, how well do you know yourself – your vocational interests, aptitudes, and general personality style? What skill sets have you developed that are transferable to a new job? Each of these factors plays a key role in helping to determine the best career path for you and in identifying the best job choice at this particular point in your life. Whether you are only slightly unsure or totally "clueless," a trained career counselor can help you figure things out. Keep in mind that job seekers today can expect to change careers (not just jobs) an average of seven times in their lifetime. So, be flexible, be open to serendipity, be planful, and be ready to walk down the next exciting road to your future!

There are many resources available that can assist in helping you decide on your career direction and in guiding your actual job search. In addition to the trained career counselors at the Jewish Vocational Service of MetroWest, you may wish to contact your college or university Career Placement Center. Career resources are typically made available to alumni just for the asking. These resources may include formal career counseling services, lists of job openings in your field, or contact with fellow alumni mentors who can give practical advice, job leads, and perhaps even personal introductions to their own or other companies.

Once you know the direction you are headed and are ready to embark on your job search, tell everyone you know that you are looking for a job and the type of job you are seeking. You will be amazed at how many people know someone, who knows someone, who knows someone else, who happens to work in the exact field of your interest! Word of mouth or "networking" is one of the most effective means of finding a job in today's job market. In addition to informal networking, you will find these resources to be of particular value:

In closing, I would like to share with you the sage advice my eight year old son, David, gave me to accompany the map he had drawn for me, as I began my most recent job search some 16 years ago: "Go West, East, South, North; turn right, left; go up, go down the elevator; get into the train; go to South Dakota. Watch out for traps. Dig where the X is. Dig, and you'll find work."

As you approach your search, remember that looking for a job is a full time occupation! Devote the time and resources necessary, and you, too, will find your buried treasure. Best of luck in your search!

For more information about this or other topics related to your job search, contact Jewish Vocational Service of MetroWest or the author.