There are lots of myths about the job search. You only get hired if you “know” someone. Your resume cannot go beyond one page. There are no jobs out there for you.

But there are companies hiring, and someone will hire you. You know why? It is because you have a great education (or are about to complete a great educational experience). And you’re a smart cookie on how to manage your everyday life.

But there are ways to stack the hiring deck in your favor. Luckily for you, there are dozens if not hundreds of books out there that promise to help you find a job. I’m amazed lately how my email in-box is stacked with inquires about authors…I could do interviews hourly if I wanted to, trust me. So I turned to one of the oldest and most respected job-searching groups out there for some ideas of what “real people” are doing to find jobs: The Five O’Clock Club.

Today, I bring you the advice of one Kate Wendleton. She knows you have a lot of competition out there for a job, and she doesn’t want you to fall into the endless pit of doom known as the World Wide Web. Lots of people post their resumes out there and never do anything with them again. Not so smart, cookie.

“If you’re using the right techniques, you will almost certainly find a job,” says Wendleton, president of The Five O’Clock Club, the nation’s premier career coaching and outplacement network. “But online searches and job posts are a very, very small part of the equation.”

If you have a chance, check out the Club’s Web site. It is packed PACKED I tell you with information. There are free articles. There are audio recordings on career development. There is a free weekly newsletter. This is useful stuff, and you can use it at your leisure (like at midnight, when you usually are surfing Facebook or should be sleeping).

“There are so many directions to go in when you start a job search that it often overwhelms people into inaction,” Wendleton said. “Our methodology helps job hunters bring structure to a process that seems random. It’s very comforting—and it works.”

Here’s some of the advice I found from her and the site that I think really works. Let me know if you try it and get some results!

• Start with a plan. Think about what you really want to do. Where do you see yourself in 15 years and what will it take to get to that image? Pick a target and do whatever it takes to get there. Really think hard about where you want to work, what city you want to be in, what you want to do every day.
• Make time for the hunt. Nothing good comes easy. Plan ahead, and realize that it could take months to get a lead that really pans out. “Think of it this way: If you have an important project to complete for work, the project will go more smoothly and have a better result if you do the proper planning ahead of time. The same is true of job hunting,” Wendleton said.
• Look for one-on-one moments. Find a job coach. Look for mentors. Get in contact with people on the phone or in person, not just via email. The Five O’Clock Club has made private coaching and small groups part of its core offerings, Wendleton said. These are the people who will give you the feedback you need to be successful.
• Hang out with people who are unemployed as well as employed. You don’t want to be constantly moping about, and you need someone who is inspirational. Aspire to be that person who finds a job, and surround yourself with equally successful people. Plus, people who work will move faster and be more efficient in helping you because they have other things to do other than search for a job.
• Prepare for the job interview like your life depends on it. Come up with every question you can think of, create the ideal answer and practice them. Then, think of more questions. And more questions. Connect your answers to your accomplishments. Keep the momentum going, and move the interview forward toward your strengths.
• Do your follow-up work. Call after the interview. Send a “thank you” note. Get your name in front of them again. It’s okay to be a “pest,” as Wendleton puts it. Keep youself in front of them and keep an eye on the search process. You’ll find out where the search stands more often, and that can be reassuring that you’re on the right path or that you’re moving toward that all-important job offer.

Most importantly, pump yourself up as much as you need to because job searches are difficult. And you deserve to get something great, Wendleton said.

“You’re not just looking for ‘a job,'” she says. “You’re taking the next step in developing and shaping your career. Your skills are valuable. You do have something to offer. And somewhere out there is a company that wants and needs that something. You owe it to yourself to do what it takes to find them.”

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