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Prepare your application’s toolkit: step 1, 2 and 3

13 Jan

2012 is over and, for some of you, so is your final semester of classes. And what are your plans for 2013? Finding a long-term internship? Finding your first job? Or maybe you’re already employed but looking for a new position. The most important thing during your job search is preparation.

This article is the first of the series and focus on the “pre-work”. Know what you can do, what you want to do and where you want to do it before starting your job search. See it like an test question: you must understand the question clearly before offering a relevant answer!

1. Know yourself!

Understand what you are capable of and which skills you can sell to a recruiter.

  • a. Remember your relevant experiences

Internships, summer jobs, student jobs… Keep in mind that any experience brings its part of lessons (managing a budget if you were treasurer of a student organization, interacting with customers if you worked as a salesperson…) Try to identify these lessons and how they influenced you.

  • b. Identify your areas of expertise

Human resources, digital marketing, auditing… It may seem obvious according to your area of study and specialization, but it can sometimes come from surprising places. You graduated in auditing but are also recognized as an expert in soccer results’ predictions? Ever thought about working for a professional soccer club?

  • c. Define your specific skills and unique selling points

3D creation and graphic design, financial due diligence process analysis, candidate selection and resourcing. Knowing yourself well is the first step to selling yourself well.

2. State clear objectives

  • a. Countries

Looking for positions everywhere on the planet may not be the most efficient strategy. Take the time to think clearly about your goals and decide on which part of the world you should apply.
- Which languages do you speak? No need to apply in Italy or Brazil if you won’t be able to talk with colleagues, suppliers or clients; more certainly if you’re seeking an internship. If you are looking for a long-term position, companies might offer you language classes, but only if you offer scarce resources that other candidates do not.
- Where are you allowed to work? Most companies do not have the resources or the willingness to go through working visa procedures. Make sure to apply within countries you can easily work in.

  • b. Industries

Take the time to select the industries you wish to work in: food distribution, automobile, web development, or eyewear? Be sure to apply in an industry that truly interests you.

  • c. Companies

What did your internships taught you?
- Company size: Do you like working in a twenty-employee firm where everybody knows everybody? Or do you prefer to work in a large company where each department is well-delimited?
- Work environment: Do you like an unstructured workplace? Or do you prefer a hierarchical structure where everyone’s function is per-determined?
- Activities: Do you want to work for a manufacturer? A distributor? A consultant?

  • d. Positions

What kind of position are you seeking? Do you want to be an assistant? Junior associate? Junior manager? Consultant? No need to apply for a Director position if you do not have the qualifications. No need to apply for assistant roles if you wish to be a junior manager.

3. Test the water

Now that you understand what you have to offer and where you want to offer it, take the time to test the water and see what the job market is like. Are your skills needed? How is employment in the countries and industries you target? Do not waste your energy applying for companies which have no need for your set of competences.

Study yourself, working environments and job markets before jumping into the application process. Once you’ve done that, you can start building your personal branding toolkit.

Stay tuned! Application weapons coming up next week!

Any remarks or questions, email me!

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