Monday, January 03, 2005

12 Tips for finding a new job

The newest, most effective ways to find your dream job.
The typical job in the new millinnium is best viewed as temporary employment. If you work for someone else, then how long your job lasts is up to the people you work for, and not just you. Your job can end at any time, so you must be prepared to go job hunting again at the drop of a hat. No one owes you a job. You have to go out and hunt for it. And to be successful, you have to be willing to change tactics. If you try something and it doesn't produce results, move on to another strategy. Employment experts define job hunting insanity as "when something doesn't work, you respond by doing more of it."
The cure for this kind of insanity is obvious: if you answer ads in the newspapers, if you reply to job postings and send your resume everywhere, and nothing works, don't just do more of it. Change your tactics. Here are 12 effective strategies for finding a job.

1) Talk to successful job-hunters
Identify friends and acquaintances who have found a job they love. Talk to them and learn what they did. After all, if you want to improve your tennis game, you train with good tennis players. It is the same with job-hunting. If you want to succeed, talk to people who are good at it.

2) Persistance is the name of the game
You must be mentally and financially prepared for your job hunt to last longer than you think. Don't count on two weeks, or even two months. Out-placement experts say typically, the higher the salary you are seeking, the longer the job search can take.
Persistence means sending an e-mail resume, then sending a printed resume by mail to the same organization, then following up with a phone call. It means going back to places that interest you, atleast a couple of times in the following months, to see if their "No Vacancy" situation has changed. And persistence means learning to work without quotas.
What causes so many job hunters to fail is that they have a mental quota in their head: say 50 applications and 15 phone calls and three interviews. Once they fill their quotas, they give up. Without a job. Don't let this happen to you. Keep going till you find that special opportunity.

3) Do not expect to find exactly the same kind of work
If you enjoyed your last job, you might be thinking, I would like the same kind of work with the same title. Maybe you can find this. But be prepared for the fact that in this changing world, jobs do vanish. And others are created.So you need to take the job label off yourself ("I am an auto worker...") and define yourself instead as, "I am a person who ..." And then find other lines of work that you can do successfully.

4) Go after the job you really want the most.
Forget "What is available out there". The most dependable and up-to-date information is not found on the Internet or at the library. It's found by talking to people who are actually in the careers and doing the work you are interested in. The name of this process is "Informational Interviewing".
Get the names of people to interview from your own co-workers, from departments at local universities or career offices, from the yellow pages in your phone book. Call them and ask for a chance to talk for 20 minutes. Ask them: How did you enter in your line of work? How did you get this particular job ? Who else is doing this kind of work that I can talk to ?
Note: You are not applying for a job at this point. You're searching for information to help you decide what you really want.

5) Tell everyone you know what you are looking for.
This way you will have as many as possible eyes and ears out there looking on your behalf. If it takes 80 pairs of eyes and ears to find a job, you need to recruit 79 other people - family, friends, school alumini, university alumini, former co-workers. Then you can use these people as a resource.
Ask them if they know anyone who works at the place that interests you. If they do, ask if they could arrange for you and that person to get together for coffee, or just to talk briefly. This is how you really find out about an organization and what jobs are available.

6) Use your telephone answering machine
Advertise the kind of work you are looking for in the opening message on your answering machine at home: "Hi, this is Bill Gates. I am busy right now looking for an IT job. Leave me a message after the beep, and if you have any leads or contacts for me, be sure to mention that too, along with your phone number. Thanks a lot!".

7) Find a support group.
Encouragement from others keeps you going. Join a support group in your town or city, or take job-hunting classes at your employment office or local university. If there is no group, consider starting one. I know of some job-hunters who formed a group by running an ad in the newspaper under "Help Wanted" listings.
Enlist the aid of a relative friend to be a loving "taskmaster". This is someone you meet regularly who will check up on what you are doing - and be very stern with you if you have done nothing since you have last met. You want understanding, sympathy and discipline.

8) Go after many different organisations, not just one.
Restricting your search to one favourite place is job-hunting death. If a company doesn't seem interested in you, don't let your job hunt go on hold because you hope this place will somehow pan out. Continue searching at other organizations, until the day you actually begin working!
Keep in touch with an organization that you want to work, even if there is no vacancy at the time you are looking. Vacancies often develop long before any notice is put up.

9) Concentrate on smaller organizations
Job-hunters tend to make large organizations the measure of all things going on in the market. If newspapers are filled with reports of multinational companies like IBM laying off thousands of workers, most job-hunters assume things are as bad everywhere. When they can't find a job at these large places, they figure no one is hiring. This is a costly mistake. The fact is there are always companies hiring - but they are often places with a hundred or fewer employees. Read the business section of your newspaper and notice which small firms are hiring, talk with everyone you can, contact your Chamber of Commerce (or equvalent) to find out which local business are expanding.

10) Use the telephone.
The more phonecalls you make, the more successful you will be in finding a job. This isn't easy for most of us. But the more people you contact, the faster you will find a job. Call before 8 AM or after 5 PM when you are most likely to get a manager. Briefly describe your greatest personal strength or your top skill. Give a brief description of your experience. Then ask them for some career advice they have for someone with your skills and background.
If you have done something in the community, work that into the conversation. If there is no job, ask if they know of anyone else who might be hiring someone with your experience. Always thank the person before signing off, whether they gave you a job lead or not.
If nothing else is working, knock on doors. Choose places you would like to work, go in and ask if they might be looking for someone with your skills. Although this approach probably won't be effective for managerial jobs, one study found that going face-to-face at a workplace, without introduction or leads, was the most effective job-hunting method for a blue-collar worker.
Today many job experts still agree with the findings of this study. Nowadays it may be harder to just "show up" to an office. But this can be an effective technique if you know someone inside the company to visit.

11) If one employer doesn't want you, move on to someone else.
Many of us think that we have a handicap that's going to keep us from getting a job: We're too fat, or too old. We have a physical handicap, a criminal record, not enough education. We're a foreigner, we're too shy; we come from a different background. Keep in mind, there are two kinds of employers: those who will be put off by your handicap, and those who won't. You are not interested in the first kind; you are looking for the second kind.
If an employer is bothered by your supposed handicap, then bring your interview to a close, ask them in parting if they know of anyone else who might be interested in your skills. And then keep going untill you find that second kind of employer.

12) Don't be wearied by rejection
You could follow this model that I follow for the typical job hunt: NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO YES. So if you get rejected at a lot of places, you must realise that the more NOs you get out of the way, the closer you are to YES.

Happy Job Hunting!!

1 comment:

Greg said...

Thanks very much for this great post. It's extremly relevant and insightful. I'm sure it will help many people who are frustrated by the process of searching for a job to get themselves into the right frame of mind.