I’ve been reading a lot of postings today on career forums such as the one at indeed.com [http://www.indeed.com/forum/gen/Career-Advice.html], and where I could add value I’ve been responding to some specific situations or questions. However, there are a lot of postings out there with either people just starting a job search due to graduation or being laid off, or people that have all but given up due to no response, not getting the job after an interview, etc.
In both cases, I wanted to review the basic “game plan” that I think is a good approach – note that my experiences are primarily in the high tech industry, but I think much of this applies to any industry:
1. Find a friend [preferably in the industry you want a job in] and ask them if they would ask their manager to review your resume for you. I’ve done this on behalf of friends of my employees, and I think most managers would be happy to help a friend of one of their employees. Ask for a marked up version back on what they would change if you were interviewing with them.
2. Ensure you have a linkedin profile. There are tons of guides out there on sites like monster.com etc. that explain the most effective way to write your linkedin.com profile. Recruiters and internal HR personnel use this a lot to proactively find candidates.
3. Connect with as many people as possible on linkedin.com assuming you have a relationship with them [past coworker, friend, etc].
4. Search the jobs section on indeed.com and linkedin.com every day. Both have options to sort by date. Use multiple keywords depending on what you are looking for.
5. Join groups on linkedin depending on your industry. There are tons of groups of almost every profession and good pointers and often openings often come across these group postings.
6. Set up a job search profile on monster.com, doostang, and climber, and other job search sites that may be more specific to your field. Set up 2-3 different email profiles with different keywords and make sure you check the boxes to get emails on new positions delivered daily.
7. If you find a position that fits you, apply immediately [as in same day]. Don’t be afraid to tailor your resume a bit [I have 3 versions] so that it is oriented specifically to that type of role or title.
8. Research the company more and find contacts there – linkedin is a good place to search, as is just googling everything about the company. The goal is to find a contact in that office.
9. Follow the approach I outlined on http://www.indeed.com/forum/gen/Career-Advice/help-recent-grad-BS-aerospace-engineering/t340774 to draft a polite email to that person asking them if they could forward your resume to the hiring manager. See tips in that post on how to find the email address and structure the email.
This is a front door and back door approach. The front door application goes into HR where your resume is one of hundreds that is screened either by software or by an HR recruiter. The back door approach often can get your resume directly to the hiring manager which is what you want [and why it is important to have a great resume], bypassing the filtering mechanism of HR.
10. Also, use facebook to find people that may work at the company and friend them, then send them an email explaining the postiion you’re interested in, why you’re a great fit, touch on ANY common interests you may have, then ask them if they could forward your qualifications to the hiring manager as well.
11. If you find a company page on facebook, “like” it and then post on their wall about what a great candidate you are, that you’ve applied to the position [be specific], and am excited about the opportunity to potentially work there. You NEVER know if the owner of the company’s facebook page may take action and also forward your info to the hiring manager – always worth a shot.
12. Don’t stop. You should be doing all of the above search steps every day – structure your mornings to find possible positions, then your afternoon to followup on applications and finding contacts at the company.
13. Finish each day with at least 2-3 applications and emails to contacts you have found. Every day.
14. Find another friend and have their manager review your resume. You need to refine it as much as possible preferably by an actual hiring manager.
15. One final tip – most large companies have extensive remote workers, so don’t restrict your search to just your area. If you find a position that fits you, at a large company, in another city/state, go ahead and apply anyway. If you get as far as a phone interview, at that point you can ask if there is an opportunity to work remotely [you’d be amazed how many tech companies allow this now].
Good luck, and NEVER give up. Remember, the job doesn’t always go to the most qualified, hardest worker. Getting the interview and the job offer is marketing – you are marketing yourself, and you need to get good at it. They don’t know you are the best, hardest working, biggest contributor. All they know is what they see on paper, what they hear during a phone interview, and what they observe during a face to face interview. These are all critical marketing steps to ensure you convey everything you bring to the table!