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SETTING UP YOUR JOB SEARCH CONTROL ROOM

"Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity." - Seneca (Roman Philosopher, Mid 1st Century A.D.)

Good fortune, in some way or form, comes to us all. It is they who are prepared to receive it that notice its arrival and reap the rewards. When it comes to your job search, you should leave nothing to chance and employ as many strategies and tools as possible to ensure the best chance for success. Here are some recommendations for maintaining your work area that will make you more search efforts more efficient and effective:

The Different Divisions of "Mission Control"

If executed with diligence, your job search will have many facets. You will manage searches with multiple online job boards (some highly specialized), record contacts and conversations with multiple personnel from various organizations, customize resumes and related documents for each employer submission, and track your countless follow-up efforts. To ensure you stay on top of the myriad of strategies and tactics you have in place at one time, you need to establish a stand-alone control area where nothing outside of the job search realm takes place:

Separate Control Room. If available, utilize a low-traffic room with a door that you can close to reduce outside noise. Keep it neat and clean. You need room to pace and clutter distracts you from thinking clearly. Print your favorite motivational quotes and post around the room. You want to create a positive atmosphere to carry you through any unsuccessful efforts.

Desk. Be sure to stock your desk with the basics (pens, highlighters, correction tape, notepad, telephone message pad, 10x13 envelopes). As with the room, keep your desk clear of clutter and establish a separate area for hot items that require immediate attention.

Computer and Printer. If you share a desktop computer with family members or roommates, arrange priority access in advance before beginning your search. Organize your computer file tree to make documents easily accessible. Create a separate desktop ID from the rest of the household and keep your virtual world desktop as clean as you keep the real world desktop. Maintain separate areas for job search file shortcuts and related programs. Of course, a laptop of your own makes this a much easier task.

If you are going to print resumes from your printer at home, make sure the printer is one of quality. Guard against fuzz around the printed letters and streaks on the page. Be sure the high quality setting is just that. The text should be dark and rich. If you don't own a quality printer, bring your files to a professional copy center such as Kinkos and have them to print your resumes for you on high quality resume paper.

Telecommunications. If the room does not have a phone line, perhaps you can purchase a cordless phone instead of incurring the cost of installing another phone jack. For about $25, you can get an inexpensive headset that can be utilized during employer contacts and phone interviews. This allows you to record the notes of your conversations unencumbered by having to hold the receiver. Additionally, you won't be distracted by weary arms during a lengthy interview session.

Many telephone company packages offer free secondary telephone numbers with distinct ring patterns. Securing a second number for the job search with a different ring pattern warns you and those who live with you that the call coming in is a job contact. Now everyone knows to be on their best behavior before the call is answered, and you can take a second to pull yourself together before answering the phone.

Also, look into subscribing to an online fax service. Companies like Send2fax.com offer packages for as low as $7.95 per month. This is a much better short-term option than purchasing a new fax machine. If all goes well, you'll only need it for a month anyway!

Embarking on your job search should not be taken lightly. Sitting down on the couch, grabbing the three-day old newspaper, and circling two or three openings for the week just won't cut it anymore the competition is too fierce! Remember, every day that you are unemployed results in lost revenue. Inefficiencies such as precious time wasted looking for files on your computer, or inappropriate noises in the background when you answer the phone, could all result in a longer road to employment than necessary.

Take the time and effort to prepare your workspace, then keep your eyes open for opportunity, because luck won't be far behind.

William Mitchell is a certified professional resume writer and Owner/General Manager of the Resume Clinic (http://www.theresumeclinic.com), serving clients in the United States and Canada with highly targeted and effective resume and cover letter packages since 1995. You can E-mail William at wmitchell@theresumeclinic.com.