Job hunting is one of life’s biggest stressors, right up there with moving and getting a divorce. Having a plan and being proactive are two things you can do to gain some control over a seemingly uncontrollable process. To aid you in relieving the stress of looking for a new job, here are some tips to help contribute to your success.
You probably know that one of the fastest and easiest ways to find a new job is to speak with your business acquaintances, former managers/coworkers, and vendors. Don't forget that your network is significantly larger than just business acquaintances. Does your neighbor know what you do for a living and that you are currently in the job market? How about the person on the yoga mat or treadmill next to you in your weekly exercise class? Job leads can come from surprisingly unexpected sources.
Many recruiters don’t post current job openings, but instead search resumes in the databases of sites like Monster, CareerBuilder and Dice. As a step in your job search process, be sure to take the time to load your resume on sites like these and be sure to fill out your profile completely. If you are nervous about your current employer finding you, simply leave off your name and your company’s name, thus allowing for complete confidentiality.
Updating your resume is an overwhelming task and having to detail all the relevant accomplishments of the last five, ten, or even twenty years can be time consuming and frustrating. One tip to make the process less troublesome, is to update your resume during your company’s annual review cycle. Oftentimes, companies ask employees to complete a self evaluation at their review. This is the perfect opportunity to dust off your resume by adding recent accomplishments, updating the skills list to include new software you’ve learned, and maybe even adding any volunteer experience or on-the-job training you’ve received.
Having your references ready to go is an important part of the job search process. Identify who you would like to have as references, and then confirm that they’re happy to speak positively on your behalf. Ask if they might be willing to provide written letters (on company stationery) that you could then photocopy and leave behind at interviews. Companies look for what are called “360 degree references”; this means a manager (ideally two), vendor or colleague in another business unit, and if you managed people, then someone who reported to you. Try to offer the full spectrum of your work experience.
Look into joining a local job seekers networking group. These types of groups provide worthwhile advice, introductions to companies, and moral support through the job search process. Networking groups can be found through churches, as well as sites like Meetup.com and Linked In.
Cancelling interviews, taking call waiting while on a phone interview, asking recruiters to call you at night are all signs that you are not ready to switch jobs. Job hunting needs to be a top priority, and while it’s challenging to search for a job when you have one, once you decide to do so, you need to carve out time in your day to return recruiter’s calls and attend interviews.
If you haven’t already, join LinkedIn, complete your profile and start collecting references. Join some of the groups that are relevant to your industry and search the job postings within. If it won’t jeopardize your current job, let your Facebook friends know that you are in the job market. Remember referrals can come from the most surprising of places.
Recruiters are overwhelmed with the volume of resumes they receive for each position available, so whenever possible, follow up with a phone call or email. See if you know anyone who has contacts inside the company and can help with an introduction. Keep applying and interviewing. No matter how perfect a job may seem or how well an interview goes, don’t stop pursuing new opportunities until you have the offer you want in hand.
Recruiters often see a flurry of resumes, but after a week, the resume flow slows to a crawl. If the right candidate didn’t appear in the first batch of resumes, the recruiter often finds themselves refreshing the ads in hopes of attracting new candidates. While it’s always a good rule of thumb to apply as quickly as you can (in case they do find the perfect candidate in that first batch of resumes), don’t ignore jobs that seem a bit older. Your resume may be perfectly timed to catch a recruiter’s attention.
Often times the best jobs aren’t advertised. Sometimes they are created by a candidate’s interest and knowledge of a company. If you can present a good business plan to solve a need, or add to revenue, you may be able to entrepreneurial and create a role for yourself. This can also work out very nicely when it comes to moving about within a larger organization.
Being proactive and creative by exhausting all of your opportunities (not just the ones right in front of you), can help you shorten your job search process and find your next career opportunity. You may even find the job of your dreams. Whether you’ve been downsized, or are feeling frustrated in your current role, lay the ground work for a planned out, broad based job search, and you’ll begin to see results.
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Photo Credits: Job posting board in by Flickr: Silly Jilly; Check Man, Cross Man and Jump Man © ioannis kounadeas - Fotolia.com