Effective Job Search Methods
Internet, Newspaper and Networking
When you begin your job search, where do you go? If you turn only to the internet and local newspaper, you are limiting your possibilities. Newspapers do not contain all of the available job openings that exist. Many positions are filled internally, or inside the company, and never reach the outside world to the classified ads. Internet job postings may be old and the position filled. There may be scams associated with internet jobs, the “work at home” ads are notorious for being unreliable. If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. The vast majority of job seekers find jobs by interacting with people, otherwise known as “networking”. To find out detailed information about using networking properly, Google this excellent piece by Rachel Zupek ,“10 Ways to Network Properly”, featured in Career Builders.
Utilizing your relationships with family, friends, classmates, and anyone else you interact with often, making known your intention to seek employment, can greatly increase your chances for an interview. Be specific about what you are looking for, most people you know can be the best resources when they hear about positions available internally (not yet posted publicly). Periodically, call your contacts to see if they have heard about recent or future openings.
The art of networking can be face-to-face, over the phone, or on the internet in a networking site. Below, all three are explained in detail;
Ask the trusted people you know to give you the name of a hiring manager where they work, someone to speak to face-to-face. There might not be an opening, but approach this meeting as an information interview–a time to get your foot in the door–for future openings and making a contact. Bring your resume, dress as if it is an actual interview and ask questions about the company (that you don’t already know from doing your prior research) and future possible openings. Find out what they are seeking in an employee. You can take a couple of minutes to say if you possess those attributes. Don’t stay long, you don’t want to over stay your welcome. Always send a thank you note and follow up when you promised to do so (if they gave you a date to recontact).
Business cards or JIST Cards, (see Michael Farr’s books regarding JIST Cards), are useful tools to hand out to your contacts. Ask them to pass your cards to the right hiring managers if you cannot get a face-to-face information interview. Carry them in a card holder and hand out whenever the opportunity allows.
Over The Phone
“Cold calling” a potential employer is another way to make contact, possibly landing an information interview, but in the current job market the odds may be against you. Since the person called is not associated with anyone you know, there won’t be an automatic “in” here. But, if you approach this correctly, you could get in touch with the right person who will agree to a few minutes of their time, either over the phone, or in person. This provides opportunity to find out more about their needs and pass along your interest in becoming a new hire that can address those needs.
If you only go as far as the phone call, there is still hope. Make sure to follow up by sending a letter thanking them for their time, include your resume and business card, ask they keep you in mind. Later, you might phone them again for an update on job prospects.
There are many sites on the internet. Places to post a resume, and do some business networking (LinkedIn I highly recommend) and many job boards with thousands of listings across the country. As with any other internet site, great caution needs to be taken. Never give out your home address or other information that might put you in danger. If you decide to post a resume, leave off your home address and home phone, contact should be made through an e-mail address.
In our current job market, posting your resume and hoping someone will call won’t be productive. Better luck may be found on networking sites where you can take advantage of the sheer numbers of people available who can provide helpful information. These online contacts have connections that could become your connections, and visa versa.
When you post your resume or work history information in a portfolio on the internet, make sure to take your time and check spelling, data accuracy, contact information is clear, and position or type of employment listed. There are opportunities to belong to groups with similar career interests, forums that take comments, or ask those you’ve gotten to know to recommend you. Again, remember this is a public site and what you put out there will be seen by all.
Other internet sites where many college students have profiles, (MySpace and Facebook), are much more social than business in nature. Even so, if your full name and photo are up on your profile, a potential employer will find you and read it. Many people can attest to the fact that they have either been passed over–or fired–for what is on their page. Inappropriate photos, company gossip, foul language and other unprofessional behavior will turn off even the most open minded employer. So, check your profiles before a potential employer does.
Some experts in the field of job search recommend not posting a photo on your business profile, no matter how professional it may be. The reasoning behind this has to do with discrimination (age, race, gender, etc.). I tend to agree with this since those researching your profile are human and possess personal preferences and prejudices. The argument might be that they will eventually see you in person, but at least give yourself the chance to get that far. If you decide to post a photo, make sure it is a portrait type of shot with only you in it, and not full body. Dress the way you would for an interview. Don’t forget to smile! Need inspiration? There are many excellent examples on LinkedIn.
2009 Judy Anne Cavey, who resides in the S.F. Bay Area of California is a credentialed, certified, higher education instructor who taught Work Experience/Cooperative Education and ESL at three community colleges. She is also a freelance writer and grant writer currently authoring a textbook, has designed other learning programs, and worked with several nonprofits. Her Edublog, “Work Experience”, is a not-for-profit endeavor designed to assist job seekers of all ages. http://workforcedevelopment.edublogs.org/