Job Search Strategies That Work!

Job Search Strategies That Work!

Today’s job market gives employer’s the advantage of being able to choose from many qualified applicants.  That’s why it is so important for job seekers to approach their employment search as if it were a job itself.  By devoting time and effort and utilizing the following strategies, you will find a new job.   It takes work to find work, but if you are suddenly unemployed, don’t despair – there are still positions available and the following tips will help you find them:

1)      Reach out to your entire network – that means family, friends, colleagues, and anyone with whom you have had professional or personal contact.  The message should be “I am looking for job leads: here are my qualifications.  Please contact me if you know of any opportunities, or have ideas or tips for me.”  A couple of months ago, I received an email from someone with whom I had worked on a very small project letting me know her position was being downsized and asking for help with her job search.  While I didn’t have any specific leads, I directed her to Web site that I found useful for job listings.  She immediately personally thanked me for my help.  One month later, I received an email that she sent to her entire network thanking all of us for our support and letting us all know about her new position that perfectly matched her professional background and interests.

2)      Utilize LinkedIn and other networking sites.  LinkedIn focuses on professional networking and is viewed as an important resource for finding and maintaining contacts in your industry,  so don’t be afraid to be listed on LinkedIn while still employed.  If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile or have not  kept it updated, take the time now to make sure your professional profile is up-to-date and ask your colleagues for recommendations.   The value of unsolicited recommendations cannot be measured.  If you have a vibrant LinkedIn presence, be sure to include your LinkedIn profile on your resume, with your contact information.   Because of its emphasis on networking, many people don’t realize LinkedIn also includes employment listings, but those listings provide an additional resource for job leads.    Besides LinkedIn, many professional and educational organizations also have online networking capabilities, including discussion forums and directories.

3)      Don’t waste your valuable time perusing general job boards and employment listings. These sites make their money listing employment offers, not making connections.  Instead, identify and focus on associations, recruiters and specialty publications specifically for your profession.  Many trade and professional associations offer job postings as a service to members…both those offering employment and those looking for a job.  Many are open to the public as well as members.  Another good resource for help in your specific area of expertise are employment recruiters, who work for their clients and are hired to find very specific skill sets.  If you don’t match one of their current openings, you will not be considered for a position, but a good recruiter will keep your resume on file for future jobs and may even offer job search tips in their specific profession/industry on their Web site or be happy to discuss your career path with you. 

4)      Do SOMETHING.  It’s important to stay busy and professionally active.  Attend professional meetings, luncheons, anything that keeps you in contact with those in your area of expertise. If you are not already a member of your professional organization, join and participate in activities.  Many associations offer dues waivers or discounts for those who are unemployed.

5)      Don’t discount temporary work.  Many companies use temporary employment agencies in order to identify future stellar employees without the commitment of permanent employment.  Through temporary assignments, you will gain knowledge about a new company as well as become aware of any permanent openings.    Plus, it gives you the flexibility to take time off for job interviews.

6)      Differentiate yourself so you stand out.  There are so many applicants for any one position that you have to identify yourself as someone better for the job than anyone else applying.     I once had someone stop by and hand-deliver her resume to my office.   It just so happens, I was looking for someone who would take initiative and not be afraid to reach out to potential business partners.  She got an interview, and got the job.   Another person I know was interviewing for a teaching position.  She knew that the school wanted to integrate technology into each classroom.  During her interview, she shared a PowerPoint presentation that she had prepared on exactly how she would integrate technology into a fourth-grade classroom.  She also got the job.

If you conduct a focused job search and are committed to applying yourself to the task of finding a new position, you will soon find employment.  It takes work, but by approaching your job search effectively and efficiently, you will once again join the ranks of those employed.

Christine Gardner is the executive director of a non-profit professional education association, marketer, resume writer, and facilitator for the University of Phoenix.

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