Finding a Job

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When it comes to finding a job, a lot has changed in the last five years. The Internet has reshaped the way we find jobs by offering such varied resources as job sites, search engines and social networks. However, many of the tried-and-true job-finding techniques still work. Here, we can help you find your new job by combining the latest in online resources with some classic strategies.

Reach Out to People You Know

With at least 70 percent of job seekers finding employment through networking, one of the best ways to land your first job, or any job for that matter, is to be referred by someone you know. So tell your family, friends and neighbors what interests you and what kind of job you’re looking for.

If you know people who are in your career field of interest, ask them how they started out. Make sure to write down any names, phone numbers or information that might help you in your search. Also, remember to make note of who gave you referrals so you can thank them later.

Be sure to follow up with everyone. Try to set up meetings with people in your career field of interest, even if you’re simply asking for information. During the meeting, be honest and be yourself; the rest will come. And don’t forget to thank anyone who helps you, even for the smallest of favors. Developing and maintaining these relationships is known as networking. It’s a powerful tool, and it works.

Check Out Job Listings

Job listings are everywhere: online, in newspapers, in trade magazines and even on the bulletin board of your local coffee shop. Look at them all! Not only will it give you a good sense of what’s out there, but it will open your eyes to opportunities you might not have considered otherwise.

Your town’s newspaper can also be an indispensable resource for the local job market. Search the classified ads in the Sunday edition or find the newspaper’s website and do a search by job type. If you find something that catches your eye, do exactly what the ad instructs you to do – whether it’s calling for an interview appointment or sending a résumé and cover letter.

The Internet may be your greatest job resource. There are now hundreds of sites, ranging in scope from local to national, that focus on career planning and job searching. To find them, search for words like “entry-level jobs,” “internships,” “volunteering,” “first job” or a word or phrase (like engineering, veterinary school or photography) indicating the kind of job for which you are searching.

Here are a few starter sites:

Set Up Social Networks

You’re probably familiar with MySpace, Facebook and Twitter, but did you know certain social networks could help you get a job? Offering a fresh way for people to make new contacts, social networks have become an extremely helpful resource for job hunters and employers alike. You can use social networks to make inside connections that will help you learn about jobs you won’t find in traditional postings.

Start by creating a profile that summarizes your academic accomplishments and career goals on a career-focused social network. Then build your network by connecting with friends, teachers, neighbors and former colleagues (if you have already had a job). Your network will consist of your connections, your connections’ connections and all the people they know. So reach out to as many people as you can. The more connections you make, the more friends-of-a-friend you can meet, and the better your chances of finding a contact that can fill you in on or set you up with a career opportunity.

This might seem obvious, but it’s wise to “clean up” your social networking profiles. Most employers search the web for information on candidates, and you don’t want them to see something that sheds an unflattering light on you. Anything that you wouldn’t want your parents or teachers to see is probably something you also don’t want future employers to see, whether it’s a picture, video, offensive language or other inappropriate content.

Some helpful career-specific social networking sites are:

Speak with a Recruiter

Depending on what stage you’re at in your career and what kind of field you want to get into, you may want to employ the help of a recruiter. Formerly known as “headhunters,” recruiters work with companies and organizations to help them find new employees – and to find you a job. Some recruiters work only with seasoned professionals, but there are recruiting agencies that place employees at all levels. Fields that often use recruiters to find new employees include accounting, marketing and legal and financial services.

Using a recruiter costs you nothing, since the hiring company pays the fee. Recruiters can provide you with information on unadvertised jobs and can tap into their lengthy contact list on your behalf. Plus, they will save you time since they do most of the legwork.

Some helpful websites for locating recruiters are:

A lot of elements go into finding a job: Networking, résumés, cover letters and research. And when it comes to finding (and hopefully landing) the right job for you, you want to make sure you’re addressing every aspect of a thorough job search. Stay organized throughout the process, and make sure you’re taking advantage of every opportunity by following our comprehensive Job Search Checklist.