Unfortunately, there is no magic formula that guarantees job-search success. Anyone claiming that all you have to do is “Follow These 10 Steps To Find A Job” is selling a promise that cannot be delivered. The fact is that the job search greatly differs from person to person. We all know someone who appears to be using all of the recommended job-search strategies but remains jobless after six months or more. Each of us also probably knows someone who sent out five or six resumes in response to online ads and had a job a week later.
The job market is fickle. Yes, it is necessary to have the right skills and experience. Yes, it is necessary to perform well in the interview. But, let’s face it, job-search success often comes down to being in the right place at the right time.
Say you send in your resume in response to an online ad. In a good economy, that ad might get 150 responses. In this economy, with so many people out of work, that ad will probably get 300 to 500 responses. That company is probably going to filter those 500 resumes through a computer program to identify 50 to go through by hand. At that point, the goal is to find 5 to bring in for interviews. If you were lucky enough to get into the stack of 50, the chances of being asked in for an interview are just 1 in 10 — not very good odds. And chances are the hiring manager is not going to go through all 50 of the resumes. He or she will only look until 5 candidates have been chosen. Maybe that takes 15 or 20 resumes. If your resume was number 21 in the stack, you are out of the running…and it had nothing to do with your skills or experience. It simply came down to luck of the draw.So, right now, you may be thinking, “Great, there is nothing I can do to find a job. It’s all just dumb luck.” However, that’s not the attitude to have. While there are no steps that will guarantee job-search success, there are steps you can take that will greatly improve your chances of being in the right place at the right time.
Remain Positive. It is easy to get discouraged. Much of the job news is negative and the job search itself, even in the best economy, is full of rejection. It is important to remember that companies are hiring, to the tune of approximately four million new workers per month.
Join LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, et al. More employers are seeking candidates and advertising positions through social and professional networking sites. These sites also offer effective means of expanding one’s network. It is critical to create a professional profile and remember that even status updates can be seen by potential employers. Do not post anything that might eliminate you from the running.
Get out from behind the computer. The Internet has become an awesome tool for conducting a job search. It’s powerful and its scope is wide. But too many job seekers make it the center of their campaign. A very small percentage of job seekers are able to find jobs by answering classified ads, whether they are in print or found online. This is not to say that this aspect of the job search should be abandoned entirely. However, online job searching should be confined to a small portion of your activity and conducted mostly at night. The bulk of your time during business hours should be spent meeting with people who can provide advice, contacts or possible job opportunities.
Read the newspaper and regional business publications. Beyond the classified ads, these sources are invaluable when it comes to news stories about new businesses, company expansions and general hiring. You can often learn the names of key managers and executives at local companies, which allows you to circumvent the human resources department.
Get involved with community service group. This is a great way to build your network as well as hone your professional skills.
Join a professional/trade association. These organizations can provide training and education opportunities and most hold several networking functions every year. The dues are worth their weight in gold if you meet a person at an event who can help you find a new job. If the cost of joining is too high, at least attend networking and educational events, which are typically open to non-members for a small fee.
Meet 10 new people in your field. Building these relationships may help you in your current position and they will definitely help when you enter the job market.
Rev up your skills. Build upon your established skill set. Explore online courses and local certificate programs to broaden your industry knowledge, increasing your marketability to a variety of employers.