There is no one best way to find a job opportunity. A lead can come from anywhere, which is why they say if you’re looking for a job, you never really stop working. There are ways to be a bit like Sherlock Holmes in your search and hopefully here we can outline some of those for you. Keep in mind that none of the following may ultimately help you find your next job because it often comes from someplace least expected, but these actions sure will increase your chances.
First, start with a mindset. If you think of finding a job as pure drudgery then it already sets you off course. Is it drudgery? Of course it is. But try to imagine the things that job will bring you and make it about that if you need to. You need a positive reason to be relentless. It’s awfully hard to be relentless if you kinda-sorta-not-really-somewhat want that position at the publishing company. Start to see “jobs” as opportunities and not always so rigidly defined as some set of duties and obligations. Opportunities are literally everywhere and one reason I prefer that you see this is because in tremendously hard times – as we are all witnessing over the last few years – one could argue that there is just as much opportunity if not always as many jobs.
Let’s look at some of the basic ways in which you can increase your chances of finding leads:
Networking – This is the single most powerful tool in your search for anything, so get really good at it! For those that think it’s too difficult, think again. Start with those closest to you, your friends and family. Remember – if you don’t ask you won’t know and you will be left out. Ask for help and then REMIND people. Always be polite and always write thank you notes. Write letters to people you admire and ask their advice, it’s always a great way to open a dialogue. Try and be around people as much as possible, but be sincere in your efforts or it will not be as effective.
Trade Groups/Affiliations – Each industry has its own groups and trade organizations so if you’re thinking of going into a certain area of business you must find these groups. What better way to do so but to attend some meetings? It’s always better to find people with like-minded interests rather than join a group just because the people are important. (However, let’s be smart here, if you have the chance to be around influential people at an event or a party then, by all means, do so). I think the key to networking is finding that perfect balance between being aggressive and not being desperate. Once at an event, start networking!
College/School Alumni – Depending on where you went to school and how long ago you graduated, this resource can be valuable. Talking with fellow alumni often leads to insider information when it comes to job openings and a referral from fellow alumni can be powerful.
Job Fairs – Companies often send employee recruiters to Job Fairs and though these can leave you feeling a bit like a lost sheep, there is great value in attending the better ones. Stick to ones you know that specialize in your areas of interest.
Headhunters – For those seeking some of the higher-level executive jobs, utilizing the services of a professional recruiter or headhunter is the best way to go. They have the inside track on what employers are looking for and often can act as a sort of matchmaker. If you find yourself needing a headhunter, then you probably have peers who know someone, so ask around. And remember to never pay an application fee if someone asks you to do so. Maybe there is a legitimate reason for one, somewhere out there, but in almost all occasions it’s a scam.
Online Sites & Postings – The newest and most expansive method of finding a new position is to hit the online job boards and online postings. It is its own enormous universe so take a breather and we will deal with this next time. For now be on the lookout for your next lead. (And in preparation, read my story on LinkedIn).
Jason Veduccio is a hard-working entrepreneur following his dreams, and he wants you to dream, too. Drawing on his experiences working with companies on marketing, technology, hiring, and workplace issues, his regular column will demystify the job search process and identify strategies for moving up the corporate ladder. Founder of In1Concepts, Jason also knows the ins and outs of launching a new business. He welcomes your questions and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.