Goal-setting a good first step in job search

Finding work demands a plan, career coach Cici Mattiuzzi says. Setting long- and short-term goals is a start. So is writing a to-do list with those goals in mind.

Reading publications associated with the career you are pursuing and setting up informational interviews with potential employers and others who can start your search on the right path are also part of a strategy to move off the sidelines and into a new job.

“It’s a good time to be looking for work, but it’s also a good time to have a plan,” Mattiuzzi said. “I know how hard it is (to find a job). I’ve coached for more than 30 years. One of the toughest things we do in life is get a job. Where do we start this process?”

For nearly four decades, Mattiuzzi, director of career services at the College of Engineering and Computer Science at California State University, Sacramento, has helped put job seekers’ plans into motion, steering students into careers after college. The longtime career counselor has expanded her reach with her blog and e-book “The Serious Job Seeker.”

The digital job search guide shows students how to organize and plot their job search, research career options, craft resumes and interviews, survive layoffs and manage careers.

Mattiuzzi shared some of her tips for a successful search. Many of the tips – she calls them “action steps” – are included in her e-book at www.seriousjobseeker.com.

List short-term and long-term goals for your job search, then create a daily to-do list of plans to achieve them.

This is more than an exercise. Employers, Mattiuzzi says in her book, ask about goals to gauge your potential. They often pass up people who fail to set goals for themselves and organize their time.

Mattiuzzi recommends finding a career-planning workshop to help create a road map for your job search. Local libraries, college campuses, employment offices, church and networking groups offer workshops for job seekers.

Workshops can offer new ideas and help keep you motivated during your search.

Taking a skills assessment can better help align your talents with the job you are seeking and help define your search.

“Skills are the building blocks of jobs,” Mattiuzzi said.

Holidays, Mattiuzzi said, are a good opportunity to look for work, and the search can start at home with family and friends, talking about your plans and interests in a positive way. Family and friends may have leads you didn’t realize.

“I try to get people to go positive. Say, ‘I’m exploring new possibilities. These are my interests,’ ” she said. “You don’t know who’s sitting at the table.”

Mattiuzzi said job seekers often write resumes that look back at their experience instead of showing a potential employer what the candidate can do for them.

“Resumes are not just for the other person; it’s for you,” she said. “Look at where you’re going. What’s your job description? Now you have a piece of paper that says who you are, that defines who you are. It’s focusing on what you want to be rather than where you’ve been.”

Contact us

Is your company hiring? Is your organization hosting a career fair or offering job training? Contact Job Front at dvsmith@sacbee.com.