Job Hunting Strategies to Get You NoticedFeb 14th, 2011 | By Bill | Category: Employment News
So now you’ve got to look for a job. Maybe you’re experienced at this, maybe not. Maybe you’re a hot commodity, maybe not so much. Reportedly there are 5 applicants for every position, so for sure there’s more competition. I can say with certainty that no matter how great you are, among those five is at least one person smarter, younger, out of work a shorter time or with better credentials than you.
So, is it hopeless? Of course not. 9.5% unemployment, means 90.5% employment. You just have to be smarter and faster and yes, maybe settle for less pay, shorter hours, and/or fewer (or no) benefits. But if you need to have a job as soon as possible, you’ve got to start right away as the longer you’re out of work, the less desirable you are to a prospective employer.
Update and target your resume for a few companies that you want to work for even if there are no job openings at the moment. Concentrate on those in growth industries, energy, health, security, for example. If you go after what you want, you’ll have better focus and determination.
When applying for positions, make sure you follow the instructions given. If they say, “no calls,” then don’t call. This seems obvious, but it’s easy to forget when you have a pattern going and then someone asks you do something in a way to which you’re unaccustomed.
Put your resume online. It makes it easier to find. There are many free places to do that. One of the easiest and best ways (also free) is to use blogging software, like WordPress or Google’s Blogpost. All you need is one page for this unless you want to elaborate in which case you can do that also. Just use your name, i.e., yourname.wordpress.com and you don’t need a domain name and you can reuse it for something else when you’re done having your resume online. Perhaps a blog about your job hunt?
Updating also includes updating your computer skills if they are rusty or non-existent. There are many courses given at the community level to help you in this area. Also, get a professional email address if yours is more like daffyducklovesdaisy @ whatever.com.
Learn how to speak about yourself effectively. Find some sample interview questions and write down your answers and do it until you feel confident speaking them aloud. No one employer will ask all of them, but if you prepare for any contingency, the confidence you’ll get will help you be a powerful and interesting interviewee. No matter what, it’s a good skill to have in life.
Doing Your Research
Do your homework about the organization and speak to your knowledge in an appropriate way in your cover letter. Have a list of questions prepared should you get to speak with someone. (Not “how much does the job pay?”, but more like “how did your company (or division) overcome challenges to growth last year?”)
Get the names of key people in the organization. Call the companies, get correct spellings and titles. Mail (by US Postal Mail) your personalized cover letter and updated resume. Speak to the specific skills and qualifications they are looking for. It’s “what can I do for X Company” approach, not the other way around. Try saying in your cover letter you’ll call on a certain day and time to be available for any questions they may have and follow through on that. If this sounds a little gimmicky to you, remember those 4 other smarter, younger, more qualified people. If you get to speak to someone and it’s a “no” or “I haven’t looked at it yet”, find out what you need to do to get noticed.
Getting and Staying in Touch
If there are no openings now, write a letter to the person who has the job you would want in that company, and request a short (telephone or email) informational interview about three things they would recommend you do to land a job in their field. Be creative and appropriately flattering to their position and knowledge in the field. Who could resist this? The possibility of landing such interviews and the information and networking potential here is worth any amount of resistance you might have to the idea. It works.
When you land an informational interview, make sure the last question you ask is, “May I stay in touch with you?” Keeping yourself in front of key people can never hurt. If they say “no,” thank them and move on.
No matter what the situation that got you a face to face with someone, follow up with a thank you note. Thank them for their time and ask (if it wasn’t covered in the meeting) what weaknesses you should address based upon their time with you. Another opportunity a) to learn and b) to keep in touch. An online search will yield tons of examples of post-interview or post-informational interview thank you notes.
Be open to possibilities you might not have originally considered like:
Freelancing or consulting. Many companies are farming out work to save on benefits. If you need a paycheck more than health insurance or a pension, this might tide you over or even create a new focus for you in the form of a new business.
Temporary work. Many a temporary position led to a full-time job. At the least it can help pay the bills until one comes along, possibly broaden your experience or keep your skills sharp and fill in resume gaps.
Consider job hunting your new job, although keeping busy at other endeavors can help fill in the gaps in your resume should you not have any temporary or part-time work to put on it. If you already were volunteering, volunteer more, or find something to do that shows you were trying to enrich your employment potential.
Janice Salomon is the creator of http://theamericanidle.com, a comprehensive blog/website offering the latest resources, tools, tips, news and information for anyone affected by job loss or change. From what to do if you get laid off to negotiating the unemployment insurance maze through job hunting or career change, we’ll help you with your journey. Come visit today and tell us your story about you survived and conquered being The American Idle.
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