Is a job change in order? Peruse the 25 most effective ways to job hunt. If it’s time for new beginnings, and if you’re searching for a job, it’s a good time to make sure your priorities are in check. Begin with some basic soul-searching, move to creative networking, and conclude with the foremost ways to investigate prospective companies. These are all sure strategies for getting a competitive edge in the job market. But finding a job means more than being competitive. In the bewildering new world of technology—online boards, career centers, and growing numbers of complex web sites—it also means knowing your way around. Here are 25 tips to learn how to maximize your time, your effectiveness, and your chances of success in your next career search!
1. First and foremost—take a personal inventory. Job hunting gives you the opportunity to go back to “square one” and inventory all over again what you are all about, what skills and knowledge you have acquired, and what you want to do. Who are you? What do you want out of life? A job? A career? Where are you going? Do you know how to get there? Have you been happy in your work/career/profession? What would you like to change? An inventory such as this is the best job hunting method ever devised because it focuses your view of your skills and talents as well as your inner desires. You begin your job hunt by first identifying your transferable, functional, skills. In fact, you are identifying the basic building blocks of your work.
2. Apply directly to an employer. Pick out the employers that interest you the most from any source available (web listings, yellow pages, newspaper ads, etc.), and obtain their address. Appear on their doorstep at your first opportunity with resume in hand. Even if you don’t know anyone there, this job hunting method works almost half the time, if you are diligent and continue your pursuit over several weeks or months.
3. Ask relatives and friends about jobs where they work. Ask every relative and friend you have now or have ever had about vacancies they may know about where they work, or where anyone else works. It may take a village to raise a child, but it takes an entire network to find a new job! If you tell everyone you know or meet that you are job hunting and that you would appreciate their help, you more than quadruple your chances of success.
4. Search hidden job markets. Networking is the “Hidden Job Market.” Because every time you make contact with a person who is in direct line with your career interest, you set up the possibility that he or she will lead you to more people, or to the job you are seeking. People are connected to one another by an infinite number of pathways. Many of these pathways are available to you, but you must activate them to make them work to your advantage. Most of the available jobs are in the hidden job market. They aren’t listed in the classifieds or placed with a headhunter. Find them through your network of contacts. This is your most valuable resource!
5. Ask a professor or old teacher for job-leads. No one knows your capabilities, dedication, and discipline better than a teacher or professor who had the opportunity to work with you in school. Since more people find their work through direct referral by other people than by any other way, this is a target audience you don’t want to miss.
6. Spend more hours each week on your job hunt. Finding a job is a job! Treat your job hunting just as you would a normal job and work a normal number of hours per week, at least 35, preferably 40 in the process. This will cut down dramatically on the length of time it takes you to find work. Did you know that the average person in the job market only spends 5 hours or less per week looking for work? With that statistic, it isn’t surprising that it can be a long, tedious process. Improve your chances and demonstrate your discipline and determination. Devote Sundays to answering ads and planning your strategy for the next week. Don’t spend precious weekday hours behind a computer. You need to be out there researching leads, networking, and interviewing. Work smarter for yourself!
7. Concentrate your job hunt on smaller companies. Most new jobs will come from smaller, growing companies, typically with fewer than 500 employees, not large, restructuring companies. Although larger employers are more visible, well known and aggressive in their search for employees, it is with the smaller companies that you may have the best chance of success in finding work. Pay particular attention to those companies that are expanding and on their way to prosperous growth…they are easier to approach, easier to contact important personnel, and less likely to screen you out.
8. See more employers each week. If you only visit six or seven employers a month in your job search (which is the average, by the way), you will prolong your search and delay your successful outcome. This is one reason why job hunting takes so long. If you need to see 45 employers to find a job, it only makes sense to see as many employers a week as possible. Determine to see no fewer than two employers per week at a minimum! Do this for as many months as your job-hunt lasts. Keep going until you find the kind of employer who wants to hire you! Looking for a job is a numbers game. The more contacts you make, the more interviews you’ll get. The more interviews you have, the more offers you’ll get.
9. Be prepared for phone interviews. Would you believe that over 50% of prospective candidates are disqualified after the first phone contact is made with them by an employer? In today’s world, employers don’t have time anymore to interview every possible applicant and are using phone calls as a less expensive, less time consuming way to weed out potentially unqualified candidates. The phone interview catches many people off guard. You might receive more than just one phone interview, and you have to pass them all. The interviewer usually makes up his or her mind within the first five minutes. The remainder of the time is spent just confirming first impressions.
10. Create a support group. It is easy to get discouraged, depressed and despondent (the three D’s) in the job-hunt process. This can be one of the toughest and loneliest experiences in the world and the rejection you may have to face can be brutal, but it doesn’t have to be. The key is in understanding that you are not alone. There are literally hundreds of thousands of people looking for work, and you can team up with one if you choose. Many job-hunting groups already exist, such as the local Chambers of Commerce and online support groups through the Internet. Find a partner, or a larger group, and support and encourage each other. The path to success is literally a phone call away.
11. Contact potential employers directly through professional associations. Professional associations provide excellent networks for your benefit. Almost all committed professionals are members of at least one or two professional networks. Usually membership includes a directory, which provides you with a direct networking resource for verbal contact and mail campaigns. Additionally, most professional associations hold regularly scheduled meetings, which provide further opportunities to mingle with your professional peers on an informal basis. Finally, professional associations all have newsletters that are a valuable resource for other trade publications, associations, and help wanted sections.
12. Post your resume online. In today’s world there are numerous resume databases on the web. Job hunters can now tap into giant online databases when launching a search prior to interviewing. There are three primary ways to job search electronically or online: Joblines, Bulletin Board Systems (BBS), and the Internet. Many employers today have their employment opportunities accessible through a simple phone call. You can also use the advanced Resume Caster feature in ResumCV to post your resume to all of the top career centers on the web for thousands of hiring employers to review. You can also use the Job Finder feature to search from among more than 1 million online-listed job openings for a specific job title in the state you specify. The data is all there, waiting for you.
13. Promote yourself in unique ways. Promotion is creating an audience of potential employers and making them aware of your qualifications. There are many nontraditional ways to accomplish this task. For example, use electronic resume services to broadcast your resume. List yourself in appropriate trade association newsletters. Prepare 3 x 5 Rolodex cards that contain your name, address, and phone number on the front and your objective and skills from your resume on the back. Leave them behind wherever you go and give them to anyone who has reason to contact you later about a job.
14. Accept a temporary position or volunteer work. Be your own working advertisement by accepting a temporary position. This provides you with valuable experience, contacts, and references. Volunteer for organizations and activities with business sponsors and relationships that increases your visibility and personal contacts. Explore your possibilities and leave all options open. You never know which method may ultimately land you your ideal job.
15. Make cold-calls. Next to face-to-face meetings, the telephone is the most effective method available to find a job. Every call you make is an opportunity to sell yourself to a prospective employer, to pursue a new job opening, or to obtain a referral. Your technique in the initial telephone call can have a categorical impact on your chances to obtain what you want from the call. Complete at least 15 calls per day. You will be astonished at the results. Always be agreeable, gentle, and positive. Smile when you speak; the listener will hear it. Prepare a brief outline for each call and rehearse it. Create brief statements that outline how you can help your prospective employer accomplish their goals. Always, always, always ask for referrals.
16. Re-define your job hunt in terms of alternative possibilities. Successful job hunters always have alternative plans ready in the background and implement them at the first sign of difficulty. Prepare alternative ways of describing what you do, alternative avenues of job hunting, alternative leads and contact lists, alternative target organizations and employers to contact, alternative ways to approach prospective companies, and alternative plans to continue your job hunt through its successful completion. The jobs are out there—you just need to be sure you are using the right methods to look for them.
17. Seek career counseling or job hunting help online. Many service providers, through the Internet, are offering career counseling services, job hunting advice, and reference tools that you can turn to in your job hunt. Some of the best of these services are free, and the number is growing astronomically each year. Your first approach would be to visit the online career centers integrated with ResumCV and visit each site to determine what services they have to offer. There is a virtual community just waiting to hear from you.
18. Consider federal and local government sources. The federal government is a huge resource of potential job search information, available to you at little or no cost. Several Department of Labor publications, for example, can take you through your job search from beginning to end, and help with career counseling and industry research. Call your local employment office and take advantage of the services they offer.
19. Make sure you can survive financially between jobs. Budget for the time you will be looking for a job. It is always helpful if you can get an overall view of how your money will carry you through any work search or training you may need to take on. You will have enough worries and issues to deal with and do not want to have to be concerned about your finances.
20. Set and prioritize goals while job-hunting. You need to know what you want, or else you can’t ask for it. There are literally thousands of jobs open around you. Determine what it is that you want, set your goals for achieving this, and prioritize the steps that you will ultimately need to take. The more specific you are about your goal, the better your chances of getting the job you want.
21. Zero in on a career position and research the market. Before you start meeting people, you need to know something about the industry or field you want to work in. The more you know, the better your conversations with prospective employers will be—and the more impressed they will be with you.
22. Interview others for information. Interview people whose occupations interest you. You can always find someone who has done something that at least approximates what you want to do. Find the names of such persons, and go see, phone, or write them. You will learn a great deal that is relevant to your dream.
23. Organize a job search campaign. Organize your job search campaign. Failing to do so is a common flaw in many people’s job search strategy. Make a plan for your job search. This entails: planning and organizing your job strategy, setting up a base or operations center for your job hunt, preparing materials, and carrying out job search tactics.
24. Update your resume and be prepared. Update that resume! A resume is what nearly everyone you approach in your job search is going to ask for. Get your resume in top shape. Use a professional service or ResumCV to prepare a show-stopping resume!
25. Keep yourself dedicated, strong, positioned, and consistent. Job-hunting can certainly be one of life’s most stressful experiences. You have more power to keep the pressures of job hunting under control, however, than you may think. The key is to focus your job search and stay strong, dedicated and consistent. One of the curious things about the human brain is that it focuses on only one thing at a time. So keep it focused on you—and finding a job!