Whether searching for entry-level or more senior work, follow these simple strategies for a more effective job hunt:
1. Just graduated? If you didn’t begin begin informational interviews start NOW. Many fiscal budgets may start in July so companies might be amping up staffing. Keep an eye on agency job sites throughout the month.
2. Don’t just count on popular job or internship sites. These are great resources that should certainly be used. However, some of the best jobs or internships aren’t even posted. If there is an industry or company that appeals to you, pinpoint these companies. Apply directly to that organization and the decision maker, regardless of apparent openings. Your ability to illustrate how/why you would make an immediate impact on the organization is your way in the door.
3. Small businesses may be eager for your expertise and assistance and you may be able to create and build a new position (social media director anyone?) within that organization. Volunteering at a non-profit is also a great way to fill resume gaps with meaningful work (bonus: many board members are senior executives in business!).
4. An experience at a smaller organization may be more meaningful than a first job at a more prestigious place of employment. You may fetch coffee at a major network or global company, but at a less prestigious organization you will earn much more substantial assignments.
5. Get a name and send your resume via snail mail. Yes, you should follow the procedure outlined by job sites or company career pages, which usually require you to apply online to careers@companyX. However, your best bet may be to use Linked-in or even call the receptionist at an organization and get the real name of the person responsible for making hiring decisions and send them an actual print out of your materials.
6. PROOFREAD!!! Verify spelling. In addition to the human resource professional’s name, you should send your job query to your potential boss. This person’s name is likely on the company web site in the press room. Just be sure to let HR and that boss know you have copied their colleague.
7. Spread the word. Literally anyone you know or meet, may become a professional contact or lead. Let people know your career aspirations. An uncle, professor, employer, gym members, the receptionist at the doctor’s office or friend may know someone in the business that could help you find a job or internship. Don’t be afraid to strike up friendly conversations with casual acquaintances, these may indeed lead to a career lead.
8. Network. Most colleges, businesses and professions have Linked-in groups, alumni associations and mentoring programs. Join these professional or collegial organizations, attend their events, go to their seminars and workshops. When there, talk with guest speakers, association members and organizers! These all may become professional contacts and references.
9. Read the business press and industry trade publications. New clients wins will likely indicate an upcoming hiring push, new executive appointments (or departures) may mean staffing changes. Be sure to reference your research and insights in your customized cover letter!
10. Customize your resume for EACH position and to be resourceful and creative with how you approach the job search. Include key words that are in the job description. This way your resume will come up on computerized scan systems.
There are hundreds of thriving firms and companies who are eager to hire star rising professionals! It is your job to take the time and initiative to find them.