Sea Glass and the Job Search: Planning

Put your resume away for now. The first step in the job search process is planning.


Last week I compared beginning a job search to looking for sea glass on the beach; shuffling through the rocks and shells to focus on that one spectacular piece.

To many people, the job search can be a jumbling mess of thoughts and actions leaving us frustrated and not knowing where to begin. There are three steps to the job search process; planning, networking and preparing. Let’s take them one at a time

The first big step in any job search or career change is to put away your resume or your worry about crafting one. That’s the last thing to work on. You need to plan and dream and take a bit of time to think about you and all that you do. Planning allows you to sift through the jumble and focus.

1. Focus on You
2. Focus on the Job

Focus on You: Take some time to reflect and jot down your answers to these questions. Try to do this exercise yourself and then ask friends and family if they have anything to add.

a. What did I like about my last job(s)?
b. What activities did I enjoy?
c. What type of work energizes me?
d. What don’t I like to do?
e. If I could do anything, what could it be?
f. What are my interests?
g. What are my values?
h. What type of personality do I have?
i. What am I really good at?
j. What am I really bad at?
k. What skills do I have?
l. What skills have I developed over the years that I can transfer to another job (transferable skills)? Include work and volunteer activities.

Focus on the Job: Once you have identified your skills and interests, think about the types of jobs that may interest you.

a. Take a free career assessment. There are many but try coachcompass.com or online.onetcenter.org)

b. Review the jobs defined in the Occupational Outlook Guide from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics.

c. Go to the familiar job search engines such as Indeed.com. Jobs4Jersey.com or Monster.com and look up the various positions that match your skills and interests. 

Once you’ve researched these two areas you’ll need to put them together and evaluate yourself. You can do this by drawing a worksheet. In the first column list the skills needed for a particular job. In the second column list the skills that you have that align with these. Compare the two columns and decide whether this is an area for you to pursue.

There are other areas in planning that may be important to you such as reviewing your finances, personal and family needs, logistics, etc. These need to fall into the job search equation too. After this, it’s time to start part two of the job search equation; networking. We’ll do that next time.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.


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