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 Get Off To a Fast Start!

By Joe Stein

As anyone who has played or even watched sports can attest, getting off to a fast start usually is a great precursor to overall success. Think of the Sabres this year and how much easier it is to score first and play with the lead rather than having to constantly come from behind.
A job search is similar to this sports analogy. Getting off to a fast start in your search for a new job will make your overall goal of securing different employment much easier. Generally speaking, people underestimate how long it takes to find new employment. A good rule of thumb is that it will take you one month for each $10,000 in income desired. So, a position that you are qualified for with a salary of $40,000 will take you on average 4 months.
So, hopefully now you are convinced to get started immediately. On that note, the following are some tips to consider when starting your job search: 
·         Don’t Wait Until the End – There are always the occasions that a person did not see their unemployment coming, but in many cases there is an inkling that something might happen. Begin the work needed for a successful job search as soon as you have a notion that things might not work out with your current employer. It will help immensely to have your strategy, system, Cover Letter, and Resume completed prior to leaving your current employment. You may even find the job you really want before the end happens, allowing you to leave on your own terms.
·         Don’t Treat Unemployment As a Vacation – It is very tempting to want to take a few weeks (months?) off to recharge the batteries before getting serious about your job search. Big mistake! Finding employment is very competitive and those who are most motivated will gain a competitive advantage. Many employers strongly favor those who are currently employed, feeling that they are less likely to be hiring “damaged goods”. Every week/month that you are out unemployed will make it harder for you to have to explain your absence and that is if you even get to the personal screening portion of the process. It is tempting to want to stay out since the weather will be getting warmer soon in WNY and children will be ending the school year. Neither of these will be legitimate reasons in the eyes of most employers to not begin your search immediately. If you are currently entering unemployment, approach your job search as if it is a replacement full-time job and devote the necessary time to the activity.
·         Get Your Emotions Out Early – This is especially true if the loss of employment was a sudden shock. You do not want to have your job search dragged down because of negativity which will be noticed by prospective employers. If you need a few days to spend with family, reflect on what happened, or just to vent, then do so, but immediately following this you should pull your boot straps up and get to work on finding new employment. I often recommend that people take this opportunity as a challenge, with the goal being to find new employment quickly and in a better role than you had. Doing so will, if for no other reason, than to prove in your mind that your past employer made a terrible error.
·         Make Lists – As soon as possible, make lists of all of your contacts (personal and business), your positive attributes and recent work accomplishments, employers’ of interest and really anything that will be used in your job search. Doing this will help to get you organized for the work ahead, such as resume creation and networking that you will need to dive into. You should also consider creating spreadsheets to track all of your activity such as resumes sent and phone calls made. This will allow you to avoid duplicating your efforts and also provide quick reference if information is needed.
·         Establish a Routine – Do you ever feel much more productive at work than when you are at home with chores to do? One of the reasons is that at work you are working within the constraints of your routine. Establish a routine for your job search regarding when you do it, your dress at home (dressing in work-like clothes is suggested), and even include any other household responsibilities you may have.
·         Don’t Get Discouraged – It would be wonderful if your early start to your job search results in immediate interviews. That may well happen, but if it does not, remember that you are laying the groundwork for future success. Also, if your work does not reap instant dividends, then reflect on what you have done so far and determine if something is missing or should be changed in your search tactics.
·         Consider a Supervisor Substitute – Some of us like to have the structure of having to update someone of our progress. Some of us need a supervisor and have difficulty becoming self-motivated without the presence of someone who you must report to. If that is you, then create a supervisor substitute. This may be a family member, friend, or mentor who can receive your update, pose the necessary questions, and provide suggestions.
Unfortunately, there are many Job Seekers who delay the start of their job search for a variety of reasons. By diving into your job search immediately, you provide yourself a much desired competitive advantage.
As always, best of luck in your job search.
The following has been prepared for the general information of WNY Jobs readers. It is not meant to provide advice with respect to any specific legal or policy matter and should not be acted upon without verification by the reader.
Joe Stein
WNY Human Resources Professional