There is no doubt about it, the job market is thin and finding a new job is harder than ever. With so many companies laying employees off, it is hard to imagine landing a great position anywhere. This can lead some to wonder if they will ever be able to find gainful employment again. But, there is hope for those industrious and persistent enough to look under every stone in the quest for a new job!
Look Further than the Net
It’s really easy to jump online and find job openings. After all, there are many job sites and sources for classified ads. Within an hour a motivated job seeker can locate and apply for a dozen or more jobs. So, it would seem that the net is the beginning and end of any job search, right?
Wrong. The problems is that it’s too easy to find jobs online and employers get overwhelmed by applicants. If Company A puts up an ad and receives a hundred resumes, how many of them will they truly be considered before the search is stopped and a few candidates decided upon? The top ten qualified candidates have a shot, but nobody is likely to see that amazing candidate that just happens to be number eighty in the email box.
So, look online and see who’s hiring, but don’t let the hunt stop there, get proactive!
Become a Proactive Job Hunter
Placing an ad on a major job sight costs money and even smaller venues like Craigslist are charging for some ads. But, in the interest of saving money, many companies are scaling back on expenses. It doesn’t mean they don’t have opportunities, it just means a little extra work for job hunters.
Don’t wait for a company to post a job opening, go to them instead. Make a list of potential employers and go to their website. Look for a career section and see if there are any openings. Keep track of every website and write down any contact information like an address, phone number, email or names.
Let Your Fingers do the Talking
Not every company has a web presence and even if they do, they might not advertise job openings online. One reason for this is that many companies get plenty of resumes without advertising and they don’t like being overwhelmed with calls, emails and faxes. They also might be impressed with job hunters that find them, knowing that it took extra effort and consideration.
Get a phone book or use an online directory and search for potential employers. Write down their contact information and get to work. Look for websites, phone numbers and email addresses. Send a letter of interest by email to inquire about potential openings and include an updated resume.
Finding a great job can be a real challenge. But, when the search takes months with no end in sight, it can also be disheartening. The longer one looks without success, the harder it is to keep up the motivation. Keep in mind that putting out resumes is just the beginning, it’ll take more than that to snag a worthwhile job. The trick is to think outside the box and remember that persistence will lead to success.
Tips on Finding a Job
There is always a job market, but in a down economy, there is usually a surplus of applicants and not enough jobs to go around. How can job hunters compete effectively for good jobs? Here are some tips on finding a job – strategies that job seekers can employ even in the roughest economy:
Build a Personal Brand
McDonald’s has a brand. Wal-Mart has a brand. A job seeker should also have a brand. What is a brand? It’s a fancy term that refers to one’s marketplace identity and reputation.
In most cases, a prospective employer must read a cover letter, analyze the resume, call references, and interview the applicant in order to determine her “identity” and get a glimpse of her reputation. But what if the applicant took a more proactive approach? What if the applicant took her cue from McDonald’s, Wal-Mart, and other companies with clear, compelling brands? After all, when a customer goes to McDonald’s, he knows what he’s getting. Can a job applicant create the same effect?
A job hunter these days must do more than simply send out resumes and cover letters. She should build a compelling brand identity oriented toward the kind of job she is seeking. For example, a person looking for a job in customer service should position herself as an experienced expert in customer service, one who will dramatically improve her department’s or company’s effectiveness in customer relations.
A few simple ways to do this would be:
Dress for Success – The clothes a person wears says much about his or her temperament, personality, work ethic, and confidence level. A job applicant should dress with his or her image in mind.
Attention to Detail – Proof the resume, cover letter, and application form for errors, misspelled words, etc.
Get Published – Applicants can write articles on a subject related to the job they are seeking – and enclose clips of the article with one’s resume
Include Third-Party Articles – A job applicant can include a third-party article in with her resume submission, with an attached note that says: “Though this approach was interesting. It’s something I’d like to bring to your company.”
Get blogging! Have a blog that deals with subjects related to the job in question, and have the blog URL on the resume.
A personal brand consistent with a strong application will separate the most successful job applicant from the average one.
Job Search Strategies
In this economy, an all-fronts approach is recommended. Job applicants shouldn’t just send out resumes. They should launch soft-sell marketing campaigns. The term “soft sell” is used deliberately. A job hunter doesn’t want to push himself too aggressively on an employer and be perceived as obnoxious. At the same time, the applicant should create what marketers call “TOMA” (Top of Mind Awareness) in the mind of the prospective employer.
The following steps should be pursued in this marketing strategy:
Set Clear Goals – The applicant should know the kind of position she wants and the industries and locations she’s targeting.
Create a Target List – Using the newspaper, the Internet, friends, etc., the applicant should create a spreadsheet, listing all of her prospective employers (contact names, addresses, etc.)
Study the Prospects – An applicant should then study her list of prospects. The goal is to understand each employer, before the resume and cover letter are sent.
With the above ground work in place, the applicant is ready to launch a marketing campaign, targeted toward his or her list of prospects. Such a marketing campaign, coupled with a positive brand, can help create the TOMA needed to land the applicant the job. How should this campaign be launched?
Target Each Cover Letter and Resume
Once the prospective employers have been studied, the applicant should tailor a resume and cover letter package for each prospect. Depending on the prospect, this package may include more than simply a resume and cover letter. Other enclosures might include a reference list, an official application form, enclosed articles, etc.
Today’s job applicant should do everything possible to get a real name (and title) to which to address the package. It’s much more effective to personalize an application than to have one’s cover letter say “To Whom it May Concern.”
Depending on the nature of the employer and type of position, the applicant could then follow up her application with a clipping from a pertinent newspaper or magazine (personal note attached, of course), an article she has written, etc.
The applicant should also work her network to see if she has friends or acquaintances (or if her friends have friends or acquaintances) with contacts to the companies she is targeting.
When it comes time for the interview, the applicant should bring the package along and have additional copies of his or her resume to show the employer.
It is possible, even in a tough economy, to compete successfully for a job. The most effective job hunters are those with clear goals, a compelling personal brand, comprehensive job search strategies, and a targeted approach to each prospective employer. Such applicants stand out in a sea of mediocrity.