You’ve assessed and explored, gained experience and connections. You’re ready for the next step in building your career — the job search. Knowing where and how to look is key to your effectiveness. Check out our resources and tips below to learn more.
Quick Tips: Job Search Success
Until you have a job, your job hunt IS your job. As a professional job seeker, rise early each morning and begin looking for leads and opportunities. Follow the tips below to boost your job search success.
Organization is key to your success. Put in place a system to help you stay focused and effective. Figure out a way to arrange letters and emails you have sent, applications you need to complete or submit online, phone numbers you have collected, and names of your potential employers. Keep a job search log to keep track of your actions, required follow up and outstanding tasks.
Involve friends and family
Network with your friends and family, understanding that everyone may have potential leads. A support group can also provide helpful encouragement and advice.
Be respectful and polite
When networking and pursing job opportunities, make sure to strike a balance between being assertive but not aggressive, enthusiastic but not pushy, professional but not stiff, and persistent but not annoying.
Be dedicated and prepared
A job search is hard work. Devote a proper amount of time and effort. Expect to spend several hours a day pursuing leads, researching potential employers and opportunities, and following up with contacts.
Tailor your cover letters, resume and references to specific opportunities. This shows you have taken the time to do your homework and that you have a sincere interest in each employer, which can improve your chances of getting called for an interview or being hired.
Have a realistic time frame
Allow a reasonable amount of time. Do not expect to find a job within a few days or even a few weeks.
Understand that setbacks and rejections are part of the process. Do not be discouraged when one job does not work out. Look for ways to learn and improve from the experience, and remain active and open in your search.
Once you have a sense of your interests, abilities and aptitudes, it’s time to explore and discover careers that interest you. The following resources can help you get started.
Job search websites offer a great way to search for job openings online, allowing you to organize your search according to location, cluster or industry, specific job titles or keywords, and more.
Online job search sites are great tools, but you must take proper precautions to ensure that in finding a job, you don’t lose your identity.
Popular Job Search Sites
Social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn can play a valuable role in your job search and should not be overlooked. Sites such as TweetMyJobs.com show how social networking is quickly and increasingly becoming a top way to search for your next job. You can use these tools to let people know you are looking for a job, specifically what kind of career you are interested in, share your resume, make connections and research leads. It is important that your use of social media is always safe, professional and appropriate.
Friends and Family
Friends, family members and acquaintances can often be one of the best ways to find employment. They may know of an opening, can refer you to the right contact for a company, or point you in the right direction according to your needs, skills and interests.
Your local library is a great place to find trade publications, local magazines, company information and other job search resources. Don’t be afraid to ask the library staff for help as they are there to help. Many libraries also have special career centers such as the Richland Library Business and Job Center.
A newspaper’s “Classifieds” section includes ads for current job openings. Read through the ads, circle ones that interest you and follow up using the contact information provided. Most newspapers also have a special “Jobs” or “Classifieds” section of their websites, such as The State’s http://www.thestate.com/jobs.
Company and Agency Websites
Many companies, especially larger ones, as well as local and state government agencies, will post job openings along with application instructions on their websites, often in a special “Careers” section. You may also be able to speak with someone about current job openings and the application process by calling a company or agency directly. Call the main number and then ask to be connected to the Human Resources Department.
Job Service Centers
Visit your local job service center or workforce development board online or in person to explore job listings as well as participate in many workforce training and support programs.
A staffing or “temp” agency can help connect you to employment opportunities. Companies hire staffing agencies to fill open jobs either temporarily or permanently. You, as the job seeker, may be placed as a contract, trial or direct placement hire.
- Review information about the company prior to placing the call.
- Make sure to know the name and title of the person whom you wish to reach.
- Identify yourself politely and indicate that you are following up on a letter (if that is the case).
- Ask directly for the person with whom you wish to speak when/if an administrative assistant answers. If your contact is not available, ask the assistant when he or she is expected to return then leave a message indicating that you will return the call.
- State that you are calling to find out if they have any immediate openings in your field or if they anticipate any openings in the near future.
- Be prepared to interview over the phone.
- Make notes about the key points you wish to make.
- Keep your conversation brief, to the point and professional.
- Prepare questions that relate to the organization – something you found out during your research (e.g., new product, expansion of facilities, etc.).
- Ask to arrange a meeting and suggest a time to discuss possible job opportunities.
- Write individual letters, tailoring each letter to the specific recipient.
- Address letters to individuals with appropriate job titles and positions.
- Write in a way that will capture the attention of people who serve a variety of functions in your career field.
- Focus on geographic interest and specific career goals if applying from a distance.
- Show initiative by stating that you will call at a future date about the possibility of an interview.
- Sign each letter with a black ink pen.
- Address the employer by his or her proper title and last name.
- Always use your full name when closing your email.
- Make sure your email address is professional. Cute and clever email names are considered unprofessional. Play it safe and use your own name.
- Write using complete sentences, use capital letters and punctuation appropriately and correctly just as you would with other correspondence.
- Avoid slang expressions.
- Do not use “smiley’s” or “emoticons” as they are inappropriately casual.
- Never presume on the employer’s time. Ask if what you propose is convenient. Make polite requests, not demands.
- Do not inundate the employer with a string of emails. Once you have sent the original message, follow up at well-placed intervals (about once a week). Employers often receive hundreds of emails. Make sure to give them time to respond to you.
- Do not assume the employer will remember you. In subsequent messages, refer to your prior correspondence and always use your first and last name.
- Check your email every day. You may risk losing an opportunity or alienating a potential employer if messages sit for several days.
- Never keep employers waiting. Answer email messages promptly, always within 24 hours.
- In the case of an ad placed by an employment agency, call first and try to schedule an appointment to meet with the person who is screening for that type of ad.
- Dress professionally as if you are going to an interview.
- Be prepared for anything — filling out an application, participating in an initial screening, setting up a return appointment, etc.
- Ask to see someone in a particular department and have the name ahead of time, if possible.
- If you cannot see the person right away, offer to wait.
- If waiting is not possible, ask to make an appointment or leave your resume and offer to call back for an appointment.
- While the potential for being in the right place at the right time can be great, cold calling can be tough and discouraging. Being told “no” to your face can be a major confidence destroying experience.