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Job hunting can be very challenging and time consuming. In fact, it can feel like a full time job in itself. It can also be soul-destroying when you have been looking for months and keep getting rejections. However, the more techniques you apply to your search, the more opportunities are likely to open up. This varied approach helps you stay focused and enthusiastic - two valuable attributes employers will be looking for.
- Newspapers and Journals
Many publications advertise jobs online now so it might be quicker and cheaper to access their recruitment pages online rather than look for jobs in print versions. Avoid the “carpet bomb” approach where you apply for as many jobs as possible in the time you have available. You are much less likely to do a good job on any of them. Focus more on what you want and spend longer on a few really interesting vacancies.
- Employment Agencies
Make yourself a memorable candidate who stands out from the scores who come through an employer's doors every week. Stay in touch regularly with prospective employers and let them know you are willing to take on lower paying or less popular jobs to get your foot in the door. This will get their attention and mark you as someone prepared to work hard to advance in the company.
This old job-hunting technique shows employers you are serious about finding work. Decide on a particular geographic area to cover and research the best companies in that area to visit. Get the names of hiring managers beforehand so you can ask for them in person. Take plenty of resumes, cover letters and other relevant documents to drop off at prospective employers. Bring along a bottle of water and a healthy, high energy snack. Dress professionally enough to make a good impression, but comfortable enough to do a lot of walking. You might only get rejections on the day you visit different companies, but even one call-back a month later makes the effort worthwhile.
- Speculative Letters
Draw up a list of companies you would like to work for and research them to find out who you should address your letters to. Write the envelopes by hand and mark them as “personal” or "confidential." This will help ensure each hiring manager receives his letter unopened, rather than it being opened, processed and filed by an administrator. Write the letter in standard business style and keep it concise. Let him know you are interested in a position with company, list your experience and qualifications, and tell him you look forward to talking with him soon. Again, follow up with a brief phone call to the hiring manager to ensure he received your letter and talk more about your interest in the job.
Family, friends and former co-workers or associates are valuable sources of job information and can even recommend you to their own bosses. Attend professional networking events, such as industry trade shows, as often as possible. Get some simple business cards printed displaying your contact details, profession and key skills to hand out with your resume. Memorize a 20- second “elevator pitch” so you're always ready with an engaging summary of your career highlights. Let people know you're available and motivated, but avoid looking desperate. If someone says he's not hiring, ask if he knows anyone who might be.
- Advertise Yourself
Get the employers to come to you rather than the other way around. You can advertise free on some classified ad websites under “Work Wanted." Other self-advertising techniques include creating a low-cost, simple website about yourself, or creating eye-catching cards placed (with permission) in stores or libraries.
- Job Search Websites
Post your resume on job search websites. Be very careful about putting your personal details into a public domain and follow instructions on privacy settings carefully. One option is to use a dedicated e-mail address so your personal contact details remain private. Be sure to take your resume and profile down as soon as you get a job or you will send the wrong signal to your employer.
Voluntary work that's relevant to your career will give you fresh experience, a recent reference and new networking contacts. Being in a work environment, whether paid or unpaid, shows potential employers that you are hardworking, energetic, dedicated and not content to sit idly around while unemployed. Volunteering also structures your time and maintains essential skills. It helps you feel energized, valued and motivated.
- Social Media
Signing up with social media sites is an effective way to get your name out there and make job contacts. LinkedIn is a site dedicated to professional networking and a good place to search for advertised job openings. Alternatively, create a dedicated business page for yourself on Facebook, or a Twitter account specifically for your job search. Keep all social media accounts separate from your personal ones to avoid the risk that private posts will be seen by potential employers.
Research companies in your field of interest to find out which ones offer internships, either paid or unpaid. If necessary, let the hiring manager know you are willing to take on any internship assignment with no pay for the opportunity to show your skills and work ethic. This can be a good way to get your foot in the door and make important contacts.