The Tipping List
Finding a Job 2.0
6 tried and true tactics in a downsized economy
You need a job. $4 gas has come and gone in the rearview mirror. And milk is more expensive than gas! You really need a job. Like yesterday.
Helpful people are telling you that no one’s hiring, times are tough, you might as well give up, yadda yadda yadda.
Depressing. Especially if you want a job in, oh, energy, banking, the car industry…
But let me fill you in on a little secret: jobs are open in other sectors and people are getting hired.
So, how do you find those open positions and get yourself in the interview pool? Use the tools I call “Finding A Job 2.0”. Ready?
1. Think big.
Big picture, that is. Take a really big picture look at your skills — it doesn’t matter what the industry is, if you know how to manage people, you know how to manage people. Ditto for handling budgets, problem solving, strategic planning, program management and tons of other areas. Focus on your most transferable skills, and make these the backbone of your search.
2. Know what you want to do.
I know, you need a job. Any job. But when you succinctly define what it is you can do, it makes it so much easier for other people to understand and help you. Develop your own “elevator speech” — two to three sentences that capture the essence of what you want. For instance, “I’m looking for an executive director or VP position at a non-profit working on green issues. I’ve worked in this field for fifteen years and really know the issues, and like managing people.” I understand that completely, and can refer you to two or three people who can help you.
3. Network with people you know.
Over 70% of jobs are filled by personal referral. That means your Christmas card list, cell phone directory, email contacts, alumni directory and community phone book are your most important tools. Go through these personal lists and identify people who are already in the field where you want to work. Contact them, give them your elevator speech and ask if they know of any openings. Even if they don’t have an immediate light bulb moment, you’ve planted a seed in their minds — they’ll remember you the next time they hear about something that would be perfect for you.
4. Network with people you don’t know.
If a friend says, “You should really meet my friend Tom”, then go see Tom. Worst-case scenario? You’ll meet a new friend. Best case? Tom will know of a job for you. You can also use LinkedIn, Facebook, and alumni discussion boards. Consider these opportunities to expand the reach of your resume and bio. Word to the wise: You can spend more time “updating” your social marketing pages than you do working on your job search. Use your time wisely.
5. Morph your resume.
Gone are the days when you had one resume that a printer typeset for you on ivory laid paper. Many resumes are scanned into a humungous database, so make certain the words you use are keywords recruiters will use to fill a position like the one you seek. If you’re responding to a particular job opening, tailor your resume to that job. Use the same keywords they use in the job posting. Stress that you have the skills they seek. And feel free to alter your resume for the next opening you pursue.
6. Write thank you notes.
Sure, it’s a holdover tactic from Finding A Job 1.0, but, hey, don’t fix what ain’t broke! The number of people who write thank you notes by hand is dwindling, so you will stand out when you’re one of the few who use this tactic. Plus, gratitude is a happy place to be. Expressing your gratitude will increase your overall happiness and keep you positive for your next job interview.
Searching for a job in uncertain economic times is…uncertain. But by employing 2.0 tactics, you can make your job search efficient, effective and maybe, just maybe, quick.
Have a career question for Michele Woodward? She’s our Career Coach on Call! Ask her here.