If you're job hunting in today's difficult employment climate, it might be tempting to pursue any kind of a position for which you might be even remotely qualified. But that kind of "shotgun" approach isn't usually successful.
The main question in every employer’s mind when hiring is: "What can you do for me?” If you lack a compelling answer, you probably won’t get to first base.
How do you develop a compelling answer? The best way is to decide what kind of a job you’re going after, so you can study what employers want when they hire someone for that kind of position. Then emphasize those attributes in every aspect of your job hunt.
This strategic thinking should shape everything you do: writing your resume and cover letters, talking about yourself in interviews, searching job listings, deciding who to network with, and on and on.
The approach I am suggesting is the most effective way to find a job, but it also takes a lot of time and effort, so it's hard to do for more than one kind of position at a time.
If you don't know what kind of a job you’re looking for, that’s probably what you need to figure out first. Start by determining your strengths and what you want from a work situation. Then brainstorm and investigate fields 'til you can decide what kind of a job to go after.
This much is certain: skipping the strategic thinking about the kind of work you want to pursue, and how to package yourself to fit what that type of employer wants, is the surest way not to get hired.
(The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of St. Louis Public Radio.)