Define the job you want

Although it may seem better to be available for "any" job, it actually increases your chances of finding a job if you can clearly define what you are looking for. What type of work would you like to do? What skills would this job use? How many hours a week do you want to work? Where would your ideal job be located? List the places you know that do this type of work even if you don't think they have any job openings. Remember that the place where you would love to work may have an unexpected job opening at any time, not just on the one day you happen to ask if they have a job opening.

Give yourself a period of time that you feel comfortable financially and emotionally looking only for the job that you really want and put all your job hunting efforts into finding that job. Practice describing the type of job you want and places that do that kind of work, then ask everyone you meet if they know anyone that works there. Schedule an informational interview to ask about further details on what it's like to work there. Send handwritten thank you cards to everyone you do get a chance to meet at the places you would like to work.

If the period of time you are comfortable looking for only the job you really want has passed, then define another job that you could do using the same process. Now apply your job hunting efforts to both of the jobs you have described, using the same techniques. Give yourself time to really get the word out about what type of job(s) you are looking for before starting to expand your search.

When you give a clear picture of what you are looking for, your network of friends and acquaintances will be much more effective in finding potential job opportunities for you. You may also find that you feel more focused, productive, and hopeful about your job search.

Karen Bolda, M.A., is a meeting facilitator and professional development trainer. She's lived in Ashland for 13 years where she operates her own consulting business. Contact her at (541) 890-1883, or

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