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Preparing for Your Job Search

PREPARE YOUR “TWO-MINUTE SPEECH OR PITCH.”

This is a two-minute overview of your experience, strengths, accomplishments and career goals. It takes a lot of practice to represent your education and all of your experience in such a short time, but it is your most effective marketing tool.

TARGET YOUR MATERIAL

Spend time composing a targeted and specific cover letter that highlights why the employer should hire you. Emphasize your accomplishments and how you could contribute to their organization.

DO YOUR RESEARCH

Review as much information as you can about the organization and the individual with whom you are meeting. Review their website, research any articles written about the individual or organization and check industry directories that contain briefs and profiles. Understand the standard salary and compensation packages for the position you are seeking./p>

ALWAYS FOLLOW-UP

Send a thank you after an interview, after an informational interview — and, in short, after any contact you have. Your thank you can summarize your meeting and can keep you fresh in the minds of those who meet you. Tell them why you are excited about having spoken with them.

PRACTICE YOUR INTERVIEW SKILLS

Take time to prepare your answers to commonly asked interview questions. You should record yourself and note speaking patterns and body language. Ask your friends or colleagues to practice with you, or meet with a career counselor. The more confident you are talking about your strengths and accomplishments, the better your networking and interviewing skills will be.

KEEP RECORDS

Keep a notebook where you record who you contacted and the date, any follow-up, positions you apply for, copies of cover letters and other job search highlight. Keep it with you. This way, if you are contacted for an interview you do not end up in the position of not remembering what the position is for which you applied.

SET SHORT-TERM GOALS

Develop a weekly action plan, with your time divided between activities such as contact development, response to advertised positions, follow-up, research and outreach. If you set your goals more short-term, they will be more finite and achievable.