Conducting a job search when our news is mired in negativity regarding topics such as failing economy and unemployment at the highest rates they have been in five yeas can engender resignation. However, I encourage you to engage in practices that are nurturing and that support you in keeping a positive attitude. Do whatever it takes to maintain an “attitude of gratitude” and state a clear positive intention. Also, keep in mind that there may be fewer jobs available this year than there were last year, but intrinsic in this statement is the fact that jobs are indeed still available. Companies are experiencing cutbacks, but they still need talent to function. Finally, the job market will pick up again. Companies don’t downsize indefinitely. In no time they’ll be expanding.
When unemployment is rising and the economy is volatile a job search must have a multi-pronged approach. This approach could give you access to opportunities you may not find executing a single strategy.
Here are critical elements to include in a multi-pronged job search.
Networking is the most critical piece of your job search. Networking takes numerous forms. A network should always be active. Professionals should be networking throughout their career. I am often amazed at the amount of seemingly, successful people who don’t have a network or don’t know how to network. Networks include: professional organizations, current and past colleagues, other professionals doing your job in your industry, friends, yahoo groups, online communities (linkedin, facebook, etc.), and more. Do not wait until you are laid off from your job to start networking. I believe every mid-level and above professional should have this as part of their professional responsibility.Networking, actually, is a basic skill. However, for some it comes naturally and for others it is a developed. If you meet someone professionally where there is a potential mutual exchange of support (services, jobs, professional information) simply ask if you can consider them a part of your network. Put their information in your contact manager and develop a relationship with the person over time. You may at some point call on them with a professional question or they may call on you. When you find yourself in a job search, particularly if this person is in a similar role in a similar industry, you have someone you can inform that you are looking and to please let you know if they hear of available openings. Networking can occur just about anywhere. I know people who have found jobs by sharing gym equipment! Hopefully, as your network builds it will include a whole lot more than one individual. The fact is the old idea, “it’s all about who you know,” does hold some water. So, consider networking long before you’re job hunting!
2. Job Boards
Job boards include well-known sites such as Monster, Hotjobs, Careerbuilder. There are now job boards for just about every industry and every function. There are job boards specifically for sales, finance, jobs over $100k/year, etc. Of course, job boards have become a standard tool for hunting. That is why it is shortsighted to think you have executed a complete job search after submitting a few resumes online. Having worked for ten years in various recruiting departments I know that recruiters don’t expect to receive all their best candidates through job board submissions. Nonetheless, I do suggest including them in your search. What I advise you not to expect is to get a call simply from dumping your resume into an online database. You need to do some homework. Homework includes finding a contact at the company to which you are submitting, and making a follow up call five days later. In the age of technology, with sources like linkedin.com that is not as hard as you think. A good recruiter is interested in finding the greatest fit for their position. If it is you, and they know they may have otherwise overlooked your resume; they will appreciate the contact. However, DO NOT cross the line between making a follow up call and becoming a stalker. That is a sure way to significantly lower your status on the candidate list.
3. Company specific career websitesA company specific career site essentially functions the same as a job board. Make a list of companies you would like to work for and browse their career sites for jobs you want to pursue. Advanced websites will also allow you to create an account and e-mail you when a job matches your interest and profile.
4. Job Fair
I strongly urge you not to go to a job fair expecting to get a job. I do urge you to go to a job fair to collect information and meet people. Collecting information includes taking a look at the companies that you might bet interested in, dropping off a resume, meeting people, and collecting business cards. If you are indeed interested in a company or a specific job make a follow up call a week after the fair. Let the person know you met them at the fair. For a little while after the fair this could help establish rapport. Job fairs are usually more useful for college students and recent college grads. However, do your research before the fair. There are a lot of industry and professionally specific fairs that are useful for more experienced professionals as well.
The bottom line is don’t leave your next career move up to cyberspace. Execute a proactive, multi-pronged approach. Keep your intentions clear, your attitude positive and go out and make it happen!