The 4 Essential Pillars
|Career & Work Life Matters
Vol 2, no. 20
|Finding rewarding work in today’s market demands new skills and a strategic approach. Read this article to discover the 4 pillars you need for job search success as described by Dick Bolles, one of the world’s foremost career experts.|
Do you Have the Skills you Need?
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4 Pillars To Support your Job Hunt
What does it really take to find work in today’s economy?
If you feel that your job search efforts are not getting you where you want to go, it may be time to take a step back to assess the gaps in your skills. Unless you are a career professional you are unlikely to think much about your job-hunting skills until you need to use them.
As a job seeker you know too well the factors that are outside of your control. But improving your knowledge and skills about job search is one thing that you can influence. Discover what you can do differently to give yourself the best opportunities for success.
In one of his most recent books, The Job-Hunter’s Survival Guide,
internationally acclaimed career expert, Dick Bolles identifies the key elements of job search success.
In his view, great job-hunting skills are built on
these 4 pillars:
- Taking ownership of your job search
- A willingness to invest time and effort
- Self-knowledge based on a thorough inventory of yourself
- Current knowledge and skills
Four Questions You Need to Ask
Consider the following questions to understand how these 4 factors apply to your job search.
1. Who’s job is it?
According to Bolles, the first pillar is to “assume that finding work is your job.” This may seem self-evident, but for a significant proportion of job-hunters today, new opportunities have always been easily accessible. What has your experience been? Maybe you are in a position of looking for work, having been in the same company for several years. It can be a daunting prospect.
Taking ownership of your job search doesn’t mean that you have to do it all on your own. The most successful job seekers are those who have access to the resources they need. They have a well-developed professional network, and know how to get the help and information they need to make progress. This also means have a support network when the going gets tough.
2. What are my expectations?
The 2nd pillar Bolles describes is “be willing to work hard on your job-hunt”. Working hard means not only investing time and energy, but also making good choices about where to focus your efforts. Reaching your goals may take more time than you hoped. It is essential that you conduct your search in a way that is sustainable. This means integrating ways to take care of your health and well-being as part of your search strategy.
3. Have you taken the time to fully assess who you are and what you want?
It’s easy to think “I don’t have time for that”, but in this competitive market it is more important than ever to be able to stand out. This means knowing who you are, and what you want from your work. A search that is based on your self-knowledge will be more focused, and thus more likely to be successful more quickly. You will be better positioned to find and communicate clearly with the people you need to reach.
You may feel that it’s better to try to keep your options open. But if your search is unfocused, your efforts will be diluted and less likely to be effective. Or as Bolles states succinctly in his book, ‘staying loose’ about what you’re looking for is job-hunting suicide (p. 4)
4. How current are my job-search knowledge and skills?
Hiring trends vary over time. Technology is having a major impact on the job search process. It’s not easy to keep up to date. If it is some time since you’ve engaged in a job search, it is likely that you will need change the way you did things last time. Increase your chances of success by learning as much as you can, and by updating the skills you need to be able to be successful in today’s job market.
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