- Define Your Goal: "Broad, generic goals are really hard to attain," Sucher explains. "People get so frustrated and overwhelmed that they give up." Instead, focus your search on specific positions, she says. To help you define your target, Sucher recommends asking yourself: "What path will get me to my goal in the fastest, easiest, best, least painful, least fearful, most doable, most effective way at this time, knowing what I know to be true about me, my life and my circumstances?"
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- Keep Your Options Open: Although clear goals are important, Sucher advises seekers to also remain flexible and consider entering their chosen profession differently. For example, you may have to take a step down in both status and salary. Accepting these facts up front means you're less likely to be disappointed, says Sucher, who points out, "If plan A doesn't work out, you won't be discouraged, because you can pursue plan B, C and D."
- Build a Team: Asking for help takes courage, but Sucher says job seekers can't afford to go it alone. "Tap into people you know, and identify people you want to get to know," she advises.
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This team-building approach transformed Battle's job search. Once she realized that applying for open positions wasn't working, Battle began to ask friends and family members for support and advice. Within a few weeks, she secured informational interviews with the owner of an HR placement agency and executives at an international relocation company. Perhaps more importantly, she also met a senior-level HR professional who became her mentor. In addition to providing advice and support, this executive has introduced Battle to other corporate HR professionals and has even invited her to help organize an upcoming high-profile HR conference. Having seen firsthand how important networking is, Battle quickly expanded her efforts and is now attending local Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) meetings. She has also begun a 10-week Professional in Human Resources/Senior Professional in Human Resources (PHR/SPHR) certification prep course to help grow her network. The shift in Battle's job search has not yet landed her the HR position she seeks, but it has brought more success in a few weeks than she experienced in several frustrating months sending job applications. She acknowledges that making a career change in a down market is a challenge but is not discouraged. "I am so excited, and I now feel it is only a matter of time before I land my dream job," she says. Sucher's final advice for would-be HR professionals is simple: "Show dogged determination and a relentless spirit. If you define your goals, remain flexible and build a team, you will succeed." This article originally appeared on Monster.com