In these tough times, it is important to keep a positive attitude and know that there is light at the end of the tunnel in terms of finding a job. With the unemployment rate continuing to rise and there being so much competition for a limited amount of jobs, it is important to keep the following tips in mind while on the hunt for a job.
Networking. The old saying is, “It’s not what you know, but who you know”. Networking is an extremely important tool while job searching. There is so much to gain by going out and networking yourself. There are many professional associations that frequently hold networking events and these are key in helping you find a job. You never know who you may run into at these events and it is important to make as many contacts as possible. Joining professional organizations also gives you another avenue to search for jobs because these associations always have their own job boards that aren’t available to non-members. Another takeaway from professional organizations is that it gives you the opportunity to stay current and up to date on happenings in your industry.
Talking with family and friends to see who they may know in your industry that may be able to help you in your job search is important. I found networking to be extremely useful in my recent job search. I was looking for a position in a city outside my home town and had limited contacts there. I networked with a friend of a friend and ended up making a dozen different contacts through that one person. You never know when one of these contacts may have a lead, another contact, or even a job opportunity available.
Send your resume to companies, regardless of there being a job available. There are many companies out there that might not be currently looking to hire, however, if you send them your resume regardless, when they are looking to hire, you will be one step ahead. Obviously your best bet to finding a job is by applying to a specific position, but it can’t hurt to let companies learn about you regardless of their hiring situation.
You never know when a company may want to call you in after you send them a resume, even if a job is not available. It is always good to be able to have a meet-and-greet and sell yourself to that company as to why you would be their next great hire. I have heard of people that went in for an informational interview and a few months later were called back to interview for a job that opened up. By introducing yourself to the company earlier than later you will have an advantage over other candidates out there. Not only do they already know you and your skill set, but you will have good insight on the company and thus, have a leg up against the competition.
Make sure you are persistent in your job search. It is easy to get discouraged and not feel like looking/applying to jobs because of the lack of jobs available. While you may want to give up or even take a few days off from the search, it is crucial to continue your job search. You never know when an opportunity may arise and its important that you stay in the hunt to land a job.
It is important to not rule out any job postings or job boards during your search. It may seem frustrating seeing the same jobs posted over and over, but you need to fight through the clutter and find the jobs. If you think you are coming across a job or position that seems phony, or too good to be true, do your research. Take a look at the company website, or see what other articles may exist on the web that talk about the company. If you have a phone interview or an in person interview, make sure to be ready with a list of questions. Employers appreciate when you do your homework and come in with questions regarding their business. Ask about how the company has been handling the tough economy, what direction the company is headed in the next 5, 10 years, or ask a more specific question regarding the position like what path you can take once in your role.
Make sure you always follow up or follow through with employers. One thing that people always feel is that they are being too aggressive or annoying by contacting employers or contacts. Something very important to remember is that at this point, you are such a small part of their day, you have to keep yourself in front of them or you will get lost. If you have an interview it is important to send a thank you note. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or formal, but again, stay at the top of the employers mind with a simple, “Thank you for your time, it was a pleasure meeting with you, and you are anxious about any possible job opportunity that may exist”.
Finally, don’t get discouraged. This is one of the most difficult times to find a job in recent history and you aren’t alone in your search. With the unemployment rate nearing 10%, you have to realize that you aren’t the only one out of work and there are others that are in the exact same boat that you are in. Not every interview you go on will land you a job. If you can think about that in a positive way you can really take something out of that. If you aren’t selected for a certain position that you interviewed for you can take away from that another contact, a possible future opportunity with that company and interviewing experience. By going on multiple interviews during your search, it makes you a stronger, more confident candidate because of experiencing different types of interviews.
Matt Lash knows of what he speaks since his 9-month job search ended recently when he became an Associate Account Manager at Centiv Services, Inc., a marketing services company. Matt is a 2007 graduate of the University of Kansas where he majored in Marketing and had a concentration in International Business. He currently is pursuing his MBA at Loyola University Chicago.