Job Doc

Draw up action plan for employment goals

By Elaine Varelas
Globe Correspondent / August 21, 2011

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Q: I have been unemployed for more than a year. I have applied to hundreds of jobs and have only had a few interviews. Since I’m home most of the day, I’ve decided to work on my dream of becoming an author. I’ve finished a novel (that hasn’t been published) and I wrote some short stories and freelance articles. I thought putting ‘writer’ on my resume would show that I haven’t been sitting on my butt doing nothing. This has backfired. The past few interviews I’ve been on, the interviewers imply that I would rather stay home to write than work for them. I’m barely making any money and need a real job. How do I get a hiring manager to understand I’m serious?

A: While I applaud working on your writing skills, effective job-seekers aren’t “home most of the day.’’ You have applied for every kind of job there is, but with no target, or action plan, it will be difficult to show you are serious about getting hired.

Hiring managers want to see that you have maximized your time off. But they also want to know what you can do for them. They need to see skills, experience, knowledge, and capabilities.

Many job-seekers forget to focus on what they have to offer. Many go right into action mode, without taking time to do a self-assessment to identify skills, values, and interests. Doing this will help develop the right target, and strengthen answers to interview questions.

Right now, writing is a great avocation. Often the best job matches are made when an avocation, hobby, or interest is woven into a career. Focus on jobs where your work experience can be combined with your writing.

But you can’t conduct a successful job search at home. Build a LinkedIn group. Set up face-to-face networking meetings. Anticipate at least 100 face-to-face meetings before you find the right opportunity. You can continue writing on your own time - after you are employed.

Elaine Varelas is managing partner at Keystone Partners, a Boston career management firm.