Network, Network, Network
Sorry, there is no magic answer to finding a good job fast. Well, not unless you have family in your intended field or graduated from a “top school” or with great grades– in which case you’re probably not on this website reading even this far into how to find a job. That said, there is no reason why you can’t find a good job, if you are patient.
I read from time to time certain blogs or hear from certain people that it is impossible to find a job. That is not the truth. The truth is it is very difficult and more than ever you have to play the game. I’m always surprised when I read or hear such comments at just how much those people have already given up. With that attitude of course it’s nearly impossible to find a job. I have been on two disheartening job searches over the past two years. By keeping the faith, however (and it is NOT easy), I have (knock on wood) never gone more than a month without a job.
A defeatist attitude toward the whole situation will not be helpful. Again, there have been moments during my two drawn out job searches where I began to have my doubts, just like anybody. I have zero family connections. The jobs I have found have been through the below methods.
After one year of networking and getting involved, when I had to find a new job, I had a few job offers at large/medium sized firms. I was named to an important post at the local bar association, and I had all told more than 15 interviews scheduled. I hate coming across like I’m bragging, because what I am really trying to say is that if I can do it so can you.
Who Do People Want to Hire?
It’s a cliche but let’s go there. “People hire people they know and like.” Time and again this is the truth. I know that in every job I have ever been offered there have been at least three people who were going for the same job and who looked better “on paper.” How did I win out? With personality, and by putting myself out there. If you don’t network and become a known commodity, prospective employers will never know if you have a good personality or not. It’s a shame that so much of life comes down to “playing the game,” but that’s just the truth of how the world works. To fight this truth is to risk unemployment or a drawn-0ut employment search.
Keep a Log of Prospective Employers
For every lead, prospective employer, or place you just are interested in working at, make note in a log of the following types of information: names of the employers, names of your contact there, if any, anything about the contacts that you can later reference when speaking to them. This might sound a little sneaky or even weird, but it is a helpful strategy for keeping all the information straight.
You will use this log as a basic database of potential employers. These employers are very targeted for jobsearch purposes. You know they are in your geographical location, in your field, and that you have some personal and tangible connection with at least one employee of theirs.
This list will keep you from blanking when you sit down to consider where to apply. It will also help you when going to an interview at one of these employers. You will be able to perhaps bring up something you wrote down. “Hey, how about those Dodgers! Do you still have season tickets?” “Remembering” something like that is a powerful way to start off building rapport in a job interview.
Get Active in the Local Community
There is no greater piece of employment advice than this: make yourself a “known commodity.” Get active in the local trade associations. Attend networking functions. Start volunteering for various roles in your community or your industry.
Again, people want to hire people that they know: so, get known. If you can, reach out to employees at your dream jobs and ask them if they would be willing to discuss with you the local job climate in your field.
Treat Support Staff With Respect
It should go without saying that you should treat support staff with nothing but the utmost respect.
Where can a prospective employer go when he learns you have been rude to support staff personnel when visiting for a job interview or any other purpose? Only one of three places. 1) That you are just rude in general–so I wouldn’t want to work with you. 2) They you were rude but it’s probably because you are overwhelmed. But again, even if that is true and I believe you are inherently a nice person, I still wouldn’t want to hire someone who is overwhelmed; 3) That you are a nice person in general but simply do not like our company. Again, this is not a scenario that favors employability. Try to remember that many bosses ask their support staff’s opinions when making employment choices.
Have a Great Work Product
Do an excellent job at your current job and keep records if you can of your accomplishments. That way if you ever need to find a new job, you should be well-positioned.
Let It Be known You Are Looking for a Position
Don’t talk about nothing else, but let everyone know you are looking for a job. Although coming across as desperate (which I’m sure I did many times during my job searches) is not ideal either, there is no sense being totally coy about your job search.
Stop the Mass Mailings
Unsolicited resumes usually die at the secretary’s desk. A better method is to send out a few targeted letters. But here is an even better method:
Putting Your Connections To Work
Instead of sending out mass mailers, call up your contact(s) at the place you want to work and ask who you should send a resume and cover letter to. Your contact, if it is a good one, should often respond that they will take it to the head hiring guru themselves. If that is the case then you’re looking good for an interview.
Take Each Interview Seriously and Consider Every Offer
You won’t get too many offers or interviews, no matter how well you play the game, so take each interview 100% seriously. It might be one of your few chances to land a decent job.
That said, don’t be afraid to say “no” to an employer you don’t feel comfortable working for. Every job you take goes a long way in determining the path of your career.
I turned down at least three law firm job offers prior to accepting my present position. I wasn’t being picky and I wouldn’t recommend you be picky either, but the one firm seemed to have questionable ethics and a few others either did not pay enough for me to survive on with my high student loans or did not practice the type of law I ultimately was interested in practicing.
Let Friends and Family (Heck Anyone Who Might Help You) Know You Are On a Job Hunt
You never know who knows who. Your seemingly unconnected Uncle Bill might just be on the bowling team with your dream employer’s head hiring partner. Ok, it’s highly unlikely that is true, but it can’t hurt to let people know you are looking.
Keep Your Confidence and Keep the Faith
This is just another hurdle in your way. You are competent and you deserve a job. Just stay focused and don’t get down on yourself. If worse comes to worse you can always start your own business. If you stay at it and play the game the right way you should be able to find something sooner rather than later.
Chris Thomas, owner of the online freelance writing and web-copy company, FreelancePF. Chris’s interest in personal finance stems from leaving grad school with six figures in student loan debt.