It’s important that you have a plan for your job search. Remember you are a “product” and you need to “market” yourself, so you might as well get the most out of the different avenues to spread the word. Below is a list of the most common avenues used to conduct a job search. Most people only use one or two, but it is a valuable strategy to use them all in various degrees. Develop a strategy on how and when you will work on the different avenues and work your plan.
1. Referrals: This is the number one way to get a job that you would not otherwise hear about. Employers would rather have a personal referral then to post a job online that will garnet them thousands of responses. Keep in mind that some employers give bonuses to staff that provide good referrals.
2. Networking: This is the cornerstone of your job search, where you should put a lot of effort and time. If you have let your network go, this is a time to get it started again. However, if you have never had a professional network, it’s time to put your efforts into development and keeping a network that will be key to your future career success. This is hard for many people, but it is so important. Start with your immediate network to build your confidence:
a. Associates in your field.
b. Past supervisors and co-workers.
c. Attend trade or professional associations in your area.
d. Professional development groups, such as Toast Masters.
e. Your internet social network, including LinkedIn and Face book.
f. Your actual social network, dentist, doctors, parent’s or family friends.
3. Recruiters: The use of professional recruiters is an important part of your job search. Often they have some jobs that are not posted. While some deal with executives, many deal with a variety of levels of experience. This is a more passive avenue, but it is important to develop a relationship with key recruiters that specialize in your field.
a. Do your research. Go online and conduct a general search for recruiters. Then you need to actually go to their sites, read and review their postings if will they let you have access.
b. Remember, a recruiter doesn’t work for you, they work for the employer. However, you can develop a relationship with some of them and they will be willing to put your name in consideration for jobs that come to them first.
4. Responding to Newspaper, magazine and periodical advertisements: This is certainly not what it used to be, with fewer companies posting jobs in the paper unless they are trying to target local applicant pools, are required as a part of EEOC suggestions, or it’s just a part of their process.
a. Look into professional magazines in your field.
b. Check the local paper for trends. Read it cover to cover to see if there are hidden leads that you can follow-up on. For example: if a company has several positions in the paper, there is something going on inside that organization and while they may not have posted a specific job in your field, there could be an opportunity.
c. Don’t wait, if you see an ad it is important apply within a day or two.
5. Responding to online sources: There are any number of online job search boards that you could be following. You could use a large one and also focus on those specific to your field. Keep in mind that thousands of people have the same access that you do and will apply even if they aren’t a good “fit”. That means you have an incredibly large pool of applicants. Don’t spend too much time scanning these sites.
a. Create a job search account on the site so that you get notifications if something in your field comes available. This will save you time.
b. Post your resume specific to the industry/field you are applying.
c. Make sure your cover letter is specific.
There are many people out there looking for a job and yet many have no plan beyond going through online job boards, with little or no prgress. It’s time for you to have a better strategy that will give you a higher probablity for success.