Top 25 Ways to Find a Better Job

Evelyne Brown

Is it time for a career change? Examine the 25 most effective job-search strategies. If it’s time for new beginnings, and if you’re looking for work, now is a good time to check your priorities. Begin with some basic soul-searching, then move on to creative networking, and finally, the most important ways to investigate potential companies. These are all tried-and-true methods for gaining a competitive advantage in the job market. However, finding a job entails more than just being competitive. It also means knowing your way around in the befuddling new world of technology—online bulletin boards, career centers, and an increasing number of complex web sites. Here are 25 pointers to help you maximize your time, effectiveness, and chances of success in your next job search!

1. First and foremost-take a personal inventory. Job hunting allows you to go back to “square one” and inventory what you’re all about, what skills and knowledge you’ve acquired, and what you want to do. What is your name? What do you hope to achieve in life? Is there a job? A profession? What are your plans? Do you have any idea how to get there? Have you been satisfied with your job/career/profession? What do you want to change? Because it focuses your view of your skills and talents, as well as your inner desires, an inventory like this is the best job hunting method ever devised. You start your job search by identifying your transferable, functional skills. You are, in fact, identifying the fundamental building blocks of your work.

2. Apply directly to an employer. Choose the employers who pique your interest the most from any available source (web listings, yellow pages, newspaper ads, etc.) and obtain their contact information. Arrive on their doorstep with your resume in hand as soon as possible. Even if you don’t know anyone there, if you are persistent and continue your search for several weeks or months, this method will work nearly half of the time.

3. Ask relatives and friends about jobs where they work. Inquire with every relative and friend you have now or have ever had about any job openings they may be aware of, or where anyone else works. A village may be required to raise a child, but it takes an entire network to find a new job! You more than quadruple your chances of success if you tell everyone you know or meet that you are looking for work and would appreciate their assistance.

4. Search hidden job markets. The “Hidden Job Market” is networking. Because every time you make contact with someone who is directly related to your career interests, you increase the likelihood that he or she will lead you to more people or the job you are looking for. People are linked to one another through an infinite number of channels. Many of these pathways are available to you, but you must activate them in order for them to work in your favor. The majority of available jobs are in the undiscovered job market. They aren’t placed with a headhunter or listed in the classifieds. Find them through your contact list. This is your most important asset!

5. Ask a professor or old teacher for job-leads. No one understands your abilities, dedication, and discipline better than a teacher or professor who worked with you in school. Because more people find their work through direct referrals from others than any other method, this is a target audience you don’t want to overlook.

6. Spend more hours each week on your job hunt. Finding work is a job! Treat your job search as if it were a normal job, and work a normal number of hours per week, at least 35, preferably 40. This will significantly reduce the amount of time it takes you to find work. Did you know that the average job seeker spends no more than 5 hours per week looking for work? It’s not surprising, given that statistic, that it can be a long and tedious process. Increase your chances by demonstrating your self-discipline and determination. Spend Sundays answering ads and planning your next week’s strategy. Don’t waste valuable weekday hours sitting in front of a computer. You must be out there looking for leads, networking, and interviewing. Work smarter for your own benefit!

7. Concentrate your job hunt on smaller companies. The majority of new jobs will be created by smaller, growing businesses with fewer than 500 employees, rather than large, restructuring businesses. Although larger employers are more visible, well-known, and aggressive in their search for employees, smaller businesses may offer you the best chance of success. Pay special attention to companies that are expanding and on the verge of thriving…they are easier to approach, easier to contact key personnel, and less likely to screen you out.

8. See more employers each week. If you only visit six or seven employers per month in your job search (which is the average), you will prolong your search and postpone your success. This is one of the reasons why job searching takes so long. If you need to see 45 employers to find a job, it only makes sense to see as many as possible in a week. Make it a point to see at least two employers per week! Do this for as long as your job search lasts. Continue your search until you find the type of employer who wants to hire you! Finding a job is a numbers game. The more people you know, the more interviews you’ll get. The more interviews you conduct, the more job offers you will receive.

9. Be prepared for phone interviews. Would you believe that more than half of all prospective candidates are disqualified after their first phone contact with an employer? In today’s world, employers don’t have time to interview every possible applicant, so they rely on phone calls to weed out potentially unqualified candidates. Many people are taken aback by the phone interview. You may be called for more than one phone interview, and you must pass them all. Within the first five minutes, the interviewer usually makes up his or her mind. The rest of the time is spent simply confirming initial impressions.

10. Create a support group. During the job-search process, it is easy to become discouraged, depressed, and despondent (the three D’s). This can be one of the most difficult and lonely experiences in the world, and the rejection you may face can be crushing, but it doesn’t have to be. The key is to recognize that you are not alone. There are literally hundreds of thousands of people looking for work, and you can join forces with one of them if you so desire. Many job-searching organizations already exist, such as local Chambers of Commerce and online support groups via the Internet. Find a partner or a larger group of people to support and encourage one another. Success is literally just a phone call away.

11. Contact potential employers directly through professional associations. Professional associations provide excellent networks for your benefit. Almost every dedicated professional belongs to at least one or two professional networks. Membership typically includes a directory, which serves as a direct networking resource for verbal contact and mail campaigns. Furthermore, most professional associations hold regular meetings, which provide additional opportunities to mingle with your professional peers in an informal setting. Finally, all professional associations publish newsletters that are a valuable resource for other trade publications, associations, and help wanted sections.

12. Post your resume online. In today’s world, there are numerous resume databases available on the internet. When conducting a job search prior to an interview, job seekers can now access massive online databases. Joblines, Bulletin Board Systems (BBS), and the Internet are the three most common electronic or online job search methods. Many employers now make their job openings available by making a simple phone call. You can also use ResumeMaker’s advanced Resume Caster feature to distribute your resume to all of the top career centers on the internet for thousands of hiring managers to review. You can also use the Job Finder feature to search among more than 1 million online-listed job openings in the state you specify for a specific job title. The information is all there, just waiting for you.

13. Promote yourself in unique ways. Creating an audience of potential employers and making them aware of your qualifications is what promotion entails. There are numerous unconventional approaches to completing this task. Use electronic resume services, for example, to distribute your resume. Include your contact information in relevant trade association newsletters. Prepare 3 x 5 Rolodex cards with your name, address, and phone number on the front and your resume objective and skills on the back. Leave them wherever you go and give them to anyone who has a reason to contact you about a job later on.

14. Accept a temporary position or volunteer work. Accepting a temporary position allows you to be your own working advertisement. You will gain valuable experience, contacts, and references as a result of this. Volunteer for organizations and activities that have business sponsors and relationships, as this will increase your visibility and personal contacts. Investigate your options and keep them all open. You never know which method will eventually land you your dream job.

15. Make cold-calls. In addition to face-to-face meetings, the telephone is the most effective way to find work. Every call you make is an opportunity to sell yourself to a potential employer, apply for a new job, or get a referral. Your approach during the initial phone call can have a significant impact on your chances of getting what you want from the call. Make at least 15 phone calls per day. You’ll be astounded by the results. Always be pleasant, gentle, and upbeat. When you speak, smile; the listener will notice. Prepare and practice a brief outline for each call. Make brief statements outlining how you can assist your prospective employer in meeting their objectives. Always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always

16. Re-define your job hunt in terms of alternative possibilities. Successful job seekers always have backup plans ready and implement them at the first sign of difficulty. Prepare alternative ways to describe what you do, alternative job-hunting avenues, alternative leads and contact lists, alternative target organizations and employers to contact, alternative approaches to prospective employers, and alternative plans to see your job search through to a successful conclusion. The jobs are out there; you just need to make sure you’re looking for them in the right places.

17. Seek career counseling or job hunting help online. Many service providers offer career counseling, job hunting advice, and reference tools via the Internet, which you can use in your job search. Some of the best of these services are free, and the number is increasing at an alarming rate each year. Your first step would be to go to the online career centers that are integrated with ResumeMaker and look at each site to see what services they have to offer. A virtual community is waiting to hear from you.

18. Consider federal and local government sources. The federal government is a vast repository of potential job search information that you can access for free or at a low cost. Several Department of Labor publications, for example, can help you from start to finish with your job search, including career counseling and industry research. Make contact with your local employment office and take advantage of the services they provide.

19. Make sure you can survive financially between jobs. Make a budget for the time you will be looking for work. It is always beneficial to have a general idea of how your money will get you through any job search or training you may need to undertake. You will have enough worries and issues to deal with without having to worry about your finances.

20. Set and prioritize goals while job-hunting. You must know what you want before you can ask for it. There are literally thousands of jobs available in your immediate vicinity. Determine what you want, set goals for achieving it, and prioritize the steps you will eventually need to take. The more specific you are about your goal, the more likely you are to get the job you want.

21. Zero in on a career position and research the market. Before you start meeting people, you should learn about the industry or field in which you want to work. The more you know, the more effective your conversations with potential employers will be—and the more impressed they will be with you.

22. Interview others for information. Interview people whose occupations pique your interest. You can always find someone who has done something similar to what you want to do. Find out who these people are and go see, call, or write them. You will learn a lot of information that is relevant to your dream.

23. Organize a job search campaign. Plan your job-search campaign. Failure to do so is a common flaw in many people’s job-search strategies. Create a strategy for your job search. This includes planning and organizing your job strategy, establishing a base or operations center for your job search, preparing materials, and implementing job search tactics.
24. Update your resume and be prepared. Update your resume! Almost everyone you approach in your job search will request a resume. Make sure your resume is in tip-top shape. Prepare a jaw-dropping resume with the help of a professional service or ResumeMaker!

25. Keep yourself dedicated, strong, positioned, and consistent. Job searching can undoubtedly be one of life’s most stressful experiences. However, you have more control over the pressures of job hunting than you may believe. The key is to keep your job search focused and to remain strong, dedicated, and consistent. One of the most perplexing aspects of the human brain is its ability to focus on only one thing at a time. So keep your attention on you—and on finding a job!