7 Tips For Finding a New Job

Over the past few weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to chat with a few people about job hunting strategies. One of the most common questions I’ve been asked has been: “How do you stay optimistic?” and, “What strategies are you using?”

After reading a lot of articles on the subject, and doing a lot of searching myself, I figured I’d share my tips here:

  • Network, network, network. Find people on sites like LinkedIn who have careers you’d like to have, or are at companies you’d like to work at. If they look as though they’re receptive to “random connections” (i.e. they have a substantial network size, or say they’re interested in making new connections) send them a connection request and outline your interests in the request. Be succinct and polite. Also, people are more likely to connect with you if you have something in common– a past employer, a friend, etc. If you can establish that from the get-go, be sure to include that in your connection request. Meeting and connecting with new people is the best way to find a new job: most jobs are secured through internal referrals. By expanding your network, you exponentially increase your odds of landing your next gig.
  • Ask questions. Take this opportunity to learn something new. Check out a Question/Answer board on a job site and see what types of questions employers and potential employees are asking. Check out boards that are specific to your niche/market and answer questions that you know the answer to. But be careful: only answer questions you know you know the answer to, and you know you can provide a solid, clear, and awesome answer to. Think of this as a mini audition/interview. These Question/Answer boards stick around for, well, as long as the Internet is around– if you say something offensive, or just wrong, it could come back to haunt you. Be sure that you’re putting your best foot forward and this could be your ticket to meeting new people, and securing a new job.
  • Stay in the game. If you’ve lost your job or are just looking to change careers, be sure to stay up to date on the latest trends in your space. This means reading industry blogs and articles and knowing what’s going on. My tip? Set up a Google Alert for a few strategic key words that relate to your space. That way, at the end of each day, you’ll be sent a snapshot of the industry’s relevant news articles. If you’ve been laid off, be sure to maintain business connections. Keep up to date on the latest products and tools that could help you, should you land your dream job. Then, once you do get into your new role, you’ll know exactly what you need to succeed– and, will blow your new boss away with how prepared and well-researched you are.
  • Talk about it. Start a blog, start a Twitter stream, start a Flickr page, start a community outreach group, start something. Just let it be known that you’re into what you do, and you want the world to know. Be multi-dimensional, and prove that you’re capable of communicating in many ways.
  • Be a profile troll. Ok, not really. No one likes a stalker (so definitely don’t call them, hunt them down, or email anyone incessantly), but what you can do is identify a few key industry pros that you aspire to be like. Check out their online profiles and see what words/phrases they use to succeed. Do any of them sound like things you’ve done? By no means should you steal their words, nor should you lie about what you’ve done, but think of their profile as a muse. Use it to inspire your own, and reassess your wording and your profile/resume as a whole.
  • Be Kevin Bacon. This goes back to the networking thing: in some way or another you’re connected to everyone. Be sure that when you’re out and about (whether it’s online or, gasp, offline) the image you’re projecting is the image you’d want your potential employer to see. You never know who is connected to whom, and how far that great first impression might take you.
  • Be positive. No one likes a “Debbie Downer” so even if things are rough (i.e. you’ve been laid off), you keep a positive attitude. It’s going to make it easier to find a job, and easier to transition into your new role.

To everyone looking, good luck! I know looking for a job (especially in this economy) can be rough, but think of it this way: finding a new job (especially if you were laid off) is a chance to reinvent yourself. It gives you the opportunity to truly find out what you’re looking for in a role, and, what you’re not.

More job hunting resources: Guy Kawasaki’s “10 Ways to use LinkedIn to find a Job” and an article on “How to use Twitter to find your next job.” And, check out this great Question/Answer stream from LinkedIn on “How to recover from a layoff.”

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1 comment so far

  1. David Skyrme on

    Hi Melissa

    I found your blog after reading the ‘hard-copy’ version of Fortune on the train home from London tonight (old media still has its place!).

    You are absolutely right that networking is probably the best way to a key job. However, in the charity that I co-chair (Careers Springboard West Berkshire) the first thing we ask our members (out of work managers and executives) to do is to articulate the characteristics of their ideal job. This then acts as a filter on all the ads they see, and also helps them target opportunities better.

    When networking – and this may be the British more conservative approach – we suggest they ask their network contacts, not for a job, but for help. It doesn’t matter how old or tenuous the contact, people are generally willing to help someone they have met in the past.

    Best wishes in your search for your ‘ideal job’

    David


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