Jump Start Your Job Search is a five-part blog series that shows you the best way to find and get your ideal job. You may be the most qualified person in the world, but if you don’t know HOW to get hired, you will not get the job. As someone who has had over 100 jobs within 19 careers in nine industries, I know HOW to get hired, and I am going to share some of my tips with you. So sit back, buckle up, and take notes. Don’t forget to download the worksheet at the end of each blog post. Let’s go!
Part One: How to hunt for a job—By looking in all the right places
Where are the right places to find a job?
People are your best friends … sort of
HOW you look for a job depends on whether you are currently employed. While it is easier to get a new job when you already have one, it is much harder to look for a new job while employed. Let’s examine both scenarios.
- Pros: You have more time to look for a job. In fact, looking for a job is now your full-time job. Seriously.
- Cons: Employers sometimes discriminate against people who are unemployed though that issue seems to be less of a problem since the economy tanked in 2008. However, the longer you are unemployed, the harder it will be to find a job. I’m not saying give up. There are ways to fill your time to make you look more attractive. (See networking.)
- What you need to do: everyone you know — including your Facebook friends’ in-laws who live in Europe — should know you are looking for a job. The point is to tell your family, your friends, and anyone on your email address list and social media accounts. I’ve seen people who are completely unqualified for their jobs get them solely because they knew the right person. Be specific about what you want. Don’t say, “I’m desperate. I’ll do anything. Please hire me.” Because the truth is, you probably don’t want to flip burgers at McDonalds or harvest grapes in Napa Valley. Instead say, “I’m an IT Specialist with over ten years of experience who is looking for a position in the downtown Chicago area.” If you want to work for a certain company, see if you know anyone who knows anyone who works there. Anything you can do to put your resume at the top of the list can only help you.
- Pros: Employers find you more attractive because they know someone already likes you. Think of it like dating. When you are in a relationship, you often get hit on more often because you are not available. If you are employed by someone else, other employers, especially direct competitors, think you must be special.
- Cons: You don’t have as much time to hunt for a job, and you have to be careful. Do not apply for jobs from your work computer, use your work email, or call from your work phone under any circumstances. Let people in your inner circle know you are looking, but don’t advertise it, especially if you made the mistake of being Facebook friends with your coworkers.
- What you need to do: Look on your own time. Never on the company’s time. Reach out to people whom you trust privately via email, LinkedIn messages, Facebook messages, etc. If you like particular companies, begin following them on all their social media channels, and begin connecting with their employees on LinkedIn.
Remember! Let people know you desire a new job and describe your ideal job in great detail.
Network, network, network!
Networking is different from telling people you know you need a job. Networking means mingling with people in your industry and other industries often in social settings for the purpose of building relationships. Networking activities can include:
- Attending seminars, conferences, and/or parties.
- Participating in online activities such as Twitter chats, Facebook groups, and LinkedIn groups. (Read How to create an all-star LinkedIn profile for more details.)
- Becoming a member of any professional organization pertinent to your line of work and going to their events.
- Volunteering for a charity, which makes you look admirable to many employers because you are giving your most valuable asset: your time.
Another benefit to volunteering: it can fill up gaps in your employment history. It is a great way to maintain and sharpen your skills as well as expand your network. Moreover, if the charity’s president is willing to give you a stellar recommendation on LinkedIn, then it’s a win-win for everyone. Many nonprofits will hire a long-time, dedicated volunteer with a solid track record when the right position is open, or they may create a job for that person. It happens!
If you are a friendly, outgoing person, pounding the pavement still works! If you can talk to anyone, create a list of small businesses in your area that you know are hiring and/or you want to work there, even if they are not currently hiring. One of my best friends walked the streets of San Francisco giving his resume to anyone who would take it. This technique worked well for him because he never meets a stranger. He can make small talk with anyone. Guess what? He landed a full-time job this way. He says it feels strange yet comforting every time he sees his medical insurance card in his wallet. By literally walking the walk, he now earns a steady paycheck.
Remember! Always have business cards and copies of your current resume with you at all times when you want a new job.
The Internet is your best friend!
Before I discuss job boards, let me explain what I like to call the sweet spot. Let’s say you are reading a job description online and you have done everything listed in it. Everything. You are a 100% match to the job, which means you are overqualified. In the eyes of an HR manager, the company will not be able to afford you. Also, you may not stay long because there is no room for you to grow. You don’t want a 100% match. On the opposite end, you don’t want a 50% match either because you will be considered underqualified. The sweet spot is about a 70 – 75% match to the job description. You have done most of what is listed but not everything, which means the company believes they can afford you and you will stay. Two other words to look out for: required v. preferred. If an item in the job is listed as required, it usually is. If you don’t meet that requirement, I would recommend you do not apply though there are exceptions. However, preferred is what their ideal candidate would have. It is not a requirement. If you meet all of the requirements and you have hit that 70% sweet spot, go ahead and apply. You can beat out other candidates who have the preferred skills that you may not have by building a stronger application, writing a killer resume, and giving an exceptional interview. Now, if you are serious about finding a job, then you should:
- Peruse all of the major job boards every day.
- Look at job boards specific to your line of work daily.
- Save your best general resume on a few job boards for public view (recruiters often find you this way).
- Set up job alerts by keywords, places, and/or salaries (not job titles).
- Download job search apps such as Indeed and LinkedIn’s new job search app (separate from the LinkedIn app) to your phone.
Major job boards that include a wide range of jobs: Careerbuilder,* Craig’s List,* Glassdoor, Indeed,* LinkedIn, Monster,* SnagaJob, SimplyHired, and TweetmyJobs. Examples of job boards specific to professions: Dice (technology and engineering); Mediabistro* (publishing, advertising, and entertainment); Idealist* (nonprofit jobs); and The Ladders (top executives). Check out 100+ Job Boards for Job Seekers and Recruiters. *I obtained jobs through these websites. Remember! Looking for a job is a job. You have to spend time doing it. Tweet: Know what you are worth by going to @Salary. #career #BLISSStip
Part of the search is research!
If you don’t research a company before applying or worse before an interview, then shame on you. When it comes to job-hunting, Google is your new wing man. Never has it been so easy to find out so much information about a company. Part of a job search is research so Google the company, find its website, and ask yourself:
- Who are the key players?
- Who is most likely to interview me?*
- What is the business address?*
- How big is the company? Small, Medium, Large?
- Is the position currently filled or is it new? (pros and cons to both)
If the position is currently filled then use LinkedIn to examine your competition. (Keep in mind, the person is not a direct competitor if they are leaving the job.)
- How long has the person stayed with the company?
- What skills do they list on LinkedIn? Do you have similar skills?
- What projects have they completed?
You are not comparing yourself to see if you are worthy. You are gathering information to make your application stronger! Remember! *You need this information to write a proper cover letter. Tweet: Learn more about companies by reading reviews @Glassdoor & @Careerbliss. #career #BLISSStip
I’m not surprised when people don’t have Facebook accounts, but if you want to get a job, you must join LinkedIn. No excuses. With over 433 million active users, LinkedIn is the top professional social network in the world. Employers expect you to have a LinkedIn account. It’s a great way for them to learn more about you before they even pick up the phone. LinkedIn also has an excellent job board. Your LinkedIn profile should be:
- Publicly searchable
- Under your name (not a series of numbers)
- 100 percent complete (LinkedIn lets you know)
I swear LinkedIn should make me an ambassador because I love it so much. In fact, I’ll cover LinkedIn in more depth in a separate post titled How to create an all-starred LinkedIn profile and why you need one.
Download our JSYJS How to hunt for a job by looking in all the right places worksheet.
P.S. Are you unemployed? How much have you lost in wages? Download our FREE Salary Loss Tool to see why you may need to hire a career coach to help you find your next dream job.