7 Career Tips for Finding Jobs : For job seeking professionals who have been looking for work for months or more, the whole job search process may seem a bit tedious. Frequent hours spent on job search websites and job search engines like CareerBuilder.com, Dice.com, and Monster.com often result in minimal feedback.
It’s very frustrating to go months without finding a job. Inevitably you start to question your career choices, professional skills, experience, qualifications, or even your education. But you are not alone. In times of high unemployment, a slow-moving job market can create the appearance of a stagnant job search.
In this seven-part series, we’ll provide job search strategies and tips to revive your job hunt and revive your career confidence.
1. Part Time, Temporary or Volunteer Jobs
Looking for short-term, part-time, or temporary work in your career field is a good way to start. Even if there doesn’t seem to be a full-time job opening anytime soon, part-time and temp jobs are ways your employer can get to know you and your work ethic. If a job opens or a new position is created, then you have a higher advantage than other applicants who might apply for the same job. You’ll have more than just a resume to show employers.
2. Work on Your Personal Brand
If someone searches for your name online, what, if any, will they see? Most likely, hiring you is a great investment for any company or organization. Especially in challenging economic times and an employer-driven job market, companies are becoming more selective about their job applicants.
Take a few minutes and search for yourself online to determine your digital footprint. Do you share your name with someone who could create career opportunities or problems with your online image?
Use your personal brand to tell employers about your strengths, why they should hire you, and that you are a worthy candidate to invest in. If you remember, personal branding is your life and professional skills when displayed online. You want your personal brand to be accurate and honest, but you also want to make yourself look great in the eyes of the company. Your brand should reflect your qualifications, education and overall career goals.
See what comes up in Google search and Yahoo search. Having a LinkedIn profile and profiles on other professional social networking sites can help create a positive digital footprint. Your profile should be professional and consistent. Keep your information consistent with career goals and similar career goals in each profile.
Avoid mixing social media and your online professional image. It is important to keep your private life private. It’s a mistake that many people make with personal branding that might get them selected for their next job or opportunity.
3. Changing Careers or Branching Out into a New Industry
Diversify your job search and branch out into new job markets that you may not have considered in your previous job hunting strategy. Choose a career field, any career field and determine whether your skills and qualifications will translate into new job opportunities.
That doesn’t mean that you just have to apply for the first job opening that presents itself. In fact, the opposite is true. Choose a career field that can benefit from your professional knowledge. Your best option is to look at a small geographic area and determine what employers are in this area.
Check what area employers’ job positions and job descriptions are looking for and compare the qualifications to your resume. A midlife career change into a new industry can seem challenging but rewriting a career change resume and cover letter can quickly expand your job options.
Check your strength. If you’re not good with people, don’t apply for personnel jobs. If you don’t have a talent for math, don’t apply for engineering or accounting jobs. Choose an industry or career field that you know can be successful and focus your job search in that area.
Maybe you haven’t found a job because you’re stretched across too many possible career paths. You may have missed an opportunity when you wasted your time and applied for a job that didn’t suit you. Since the job search seems drawn-out, it may be tempting to try to apply for all of them, but stay focused on your qualifications and job skills.
Be realistic about the type of job you are applying for. Most often when making a career transition to a new job market, you will find yourself competing for a more junior level position than in your current career field. Changing careers may seem like a step back; but showing potential future employers that you are up to new challenges, have the foresight, and the flexibility to expand your expertise across a variety of industries can be a powerful asset.
4. Use Career Counseling and Career Advice Services
Get help. If months have passed without a job offer or job prospect, you may need help with your job search. You don’t want to be in a position where your financial obligations outweigh your focus on the job search.
College graduates and recent college alumni can use their college career services department. Beyond job listings and postings, many college career services departments offer interview preparation assistance, resume writing and career advice, and can assist you in choosing a career path.
These services are often helpful when you are considering a career change or career transition. Also, many companies are looking for students from specific universities, colleges, and degree programs or departments. Careers advisors at the school’s career services can connect you with these companies.
Outside of a college or university career center, see what career placement services your city or area provides. Contact your local chamber of commerce to begin your search for this type of local service. Many of these services are free or at minimal cost to local residents.
Depending on your specific situation, consider hiring a professional career advisor or career counselor. The job of a professional career counselor is to help you figure out exactly what you want to do and to advise you on how to make the most of your resources and qualifications.
Before opting for a career counselor, do some research on what services career counseling services provide and what their recent candidate placement success rates are. This way, you will know what to expect as a final result. Will they help you find a career path, provide resume writing and interview preparation advice, placement services, and assist you along the way?
Don’t be afraid to ask for help when the job search seems drawn out. Having a career advisor or independent career service can help you revitalize your job hunt.
5. Does Your Resume Writing Reflect Your Career Goals?
Refresh your resume and professional image. If your job search seems stuck, take this time to review your resume and overall professional image. This includes your cover letter, professional social media sites like Linked-In, and your professional references.
If the employer has looked at your resume and you haven’t received any response, then this may be your cue to take a second look at your resume. Check your resume for spelling mistakes, typos, and poor grammar. That’s a sure hit with any potential employer.
Do you think your online resume will pass the 20 second test? Keep in mind that 20 seconds is generally the amount of time an employer will spend looking at your resume. Within that time frame, the employer will decide whether he or she will call you for a job interview or not.
If it’s been a while since you were called for an interview, this may indicate that your resume didn’t pass the 20 second test. Some resume writing changes may be required. Also, make sure your resume is aesthetically pleasing and your resume qualifications, education, and experience flow together properly.
6. Only Using Top Job Search Engines can Limit Your Career Options
Not all job search websites are created equal. Searching for the next job opportunity using an online job search engine can distribute your resume to many companies and job centers. Although, not all job search websites have the same weight for your career field or professional industry.
Major job websites like Moster.com and CareerBuilder.com are great options for broadcasting your resume skills and qualifications. However, your chances of getting noticed on these online job search sites are low. Thousands of career professionals and job seekers post and update their resumes daily, and in a highly competitive job market, being too general about your career goals may not get you the job.
Take the time to research what are the best job search sites, specific to your industry or career goals. If your career field is in the medical industry, look for websites that specifically focus on medical jobs or nursing jobs. Expand your career and look for part-time job search opportunities to enter a company or organization.
Be focused and specific in your job search and make sure you search everywhere. Limiting yourself to just a few major job sites can be disastrous. Many of the jobs you are looking for may not be listed on the most popular and common job search engines.
So, try looking on lesser-known job sites, and industry-specific ones. Check your local newspaper every day, especially the Sunday edition. Sometimes job listings can be printed on just one day in the newspaper.
Keep checking your professional social networking sites and keep your eyes open for possible job openings. You may be missing out on a great opportunity by limiting your search to one place. If you are unemployed, be sure to let everyone know that you are looking.
People speak and words will circulate. Your friend’s cousin’s boyfriend may be in the Human Resources department of the company they’re hiring for. You may be surprised where you find your next job. Whatever you do, don’t stop looking until you find what you’re looking for.
7. Review Your Long Term Career Options
What long-term career planning steps have you considered throughout your professional career. Often we can feel comfortable and somewhat complacent in our chosen job once we meet certain educational and experience requirements. However, over time we can lose our job security if our skills are not always up to date or with economic changes, technological innovation, or corporate restructuring.
If you find yourself in a position where there seems to be no work in your career field, you might consider changing industries. Change can be great, but when you mention a career change, people often confuse it with more school or education, a significant change in their schedule, or starting over from scratch. While any change may require retraining or new knowledge of the job, changing careers may be easier than people think.
See what parallel industries or other careers use your similar talents. Seek career counseling and take some career tests to help you determine what industries you may not be aware of that use your qualifications. A career counselor can help you with this decision and give you some knowledge in a specific career area.
If you don’t have a career counselor, then you might want to think about who in your area hires professionals with your skills and make a list of all the things you loved about your old job. Then look for jobs that have the same qualities. You can also look at the things you didn’t like about your old job, and look for jobs that don’t have those qualities. Take a reputable personal or career test and consider jobs that match your personality type.
The worst thing you can do is do nothing, especially if you see major changes taking place in an area of your career where your future job could be affected. A proactive approach can open new doors and provide you with new career opportunities.