6 Ways to Master Your Job Search
Being out of work, especially in a tough economy, is always a frustrating situation.
You may start to feel a sense of hopelessness as the days and weeks go by without
a job interview.
Luckily, the situation is not hopeless, even if you’ve struggled for months to find
a new job. Below are strategies to help you rise above other job candidates.
No. 1: Contact everyone you know
Don’t rely only on newspaper and Web postings. Ask friends, family, and neighbors
if they know of any job opportunities. Most jobs are found through a one-on-one contact.
Many are never even advertised. They are simply waiting for the right person to stumble
onto them. So don’t be shy about asking people who care about you and want you to
succeed. And don’t be afraid to call people you haven’t seen for years. Many may be
glad to help if they know you’re looking for work.
No. 2: Use online resources
More and more employers are using online social networks such as LinkedIn and online
job search engines such as Indeed.com to advertise jobs and find workers. You can
easily create a profile on a site liked LinkedIn with your resume (without your home
address or phone number), job history, online references, and a professional-looking
photo. If you see a job listed on LinkedIn that you’d like to apply for, check under
the company’s name to see if you know anyone who works there, even a friend of a friend.
If those contacts are people who like you and your work, ask if they’ll consider recommending
you or telling the HR department about your application.
No. 3: Look into unions, alumni groups, and professional associations
Depending on your job training or skills, a union or another professional association
could assist you in finding the right job. Associations generally offer job listings
and support, such as additional education in your field or professional conferences
and contacts. Alumni associations can also be useful. Ask contacts there who to send
your resume and contact information to if a job comes up.
No. 4: Redo your résumé
If you recently lost a job, you may have an outdated résumé. It might be time to start
from scratch. You might want to get professional help or look at examples online.
The new résumé style is short and to the point. It should give specific examples of
how you helped your former employers succeed. It should also be professional-looking
No. 5: Practice the interview
Job interviews can definitely make anyone feel nervous. You will do better by preparing
in advance. Write down some of the questions you might expect, such as, “Why do you
want this job?,” “Why do you think you’re qualified for it?,” and “What are your greatest
strengths and weaknesses?” Then, have a trusted friend or relative help you prepare
by going through the list of questions with you. Preparing thoughtful answers in this
way can help you speak more clearly and confidently during a real interview.
No. 6: Ask the right questions
During an interview, a potential employer is listening not only to how you answer
questions, but also to what kind of questions you ask. Your questions can tell how
much you’re interested in the job and if you understand the responsibilities and expectations
of that job. Read up on the company before the interview by going to its website so
you don’t ask questions that are already answered there. Ask questions like “What
are the most important things to do to really succeed on the job in my first year?”
No. 7: Send a thank you note
You’ve gotten in the door, and good manners will help keep it open. Sending a handwritten
thank you note or even an online thank you email within two days of the interview
will help keep you in the employer’s mind and in the running.