Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Job Search

OK, unfortunately its that time of year again and you need to get your name out there and start looking for another job.  Now, this might be for any of a variety of reasons and we're really not going to worry about that here.  What we are going to discuss however is some good tools that you can and should be using to ensure that you are promoting yourself correctly and that you are looking in the right places for your new role.

First Question - what do you do now and are you happy?  

Sorry I know it seems a little bit redundant, but you need to ask this one as so many people just go from job to job without doing what they enjoy.  Considering you are spending 8+ hours a day there and over 40 hours a week - it really makes sense for you to seriously think this one through.

If you are not happy with your current career - perhaps it is time for a change?  Think about schooling options and time away from the workforce in relation to your bills.  Assuming that you can afford to do it, get the relevant training you need so that you can progress forward in your new chosen career.  Remember for a lot of us, our job is just something we "fell into" after school - more often than not, it has no relation to what you studied, so this is your chance to do it right from an adult point of view!

One thing you should obviously consider is that whatever new career you start, you will be starting at the bottom.  Just keep it in mind and don't expect to immediately be at the same level you were previously.

Hows your CV/Resume?


Make sure you have a professional looking version of your CV available.  There are many free templates available on the Microsoft Website itself that are a good starting point if you have not built anything at all yet.  Here are some links to some good ones - but check the site itself for even more:
Now if you recall in a previous post, I mentioned the fact that when first creating your resume do not worry about page length.  The most important thing is content and information.  You want to think about having a "master" version of your CV that you can tailor specifically for the job that you are applying for.  So your master version could be 10 pages in length, but the tailored version once you've gotten rid of the jobs/roles that are not relevant and shrunk down the wording and font, would be 2 (or 3) pages.


Advertise yourself - 

OK, so assuming you're happy with your chosen career and you have an appropriately formatted CV to show the world, you need to get your name out there.  There are probably three main ways to do this and to be honest they are all somewhat interrelated.


Networking


Even though job search networking is one of the most successful ways to find a new job, it can sound intimidating and sometimes seems a little bit scary. It doesn't have to be.  At least 60% - some report even higher statistics - of all jobs are found by networking.

The thing you have to keep uppermost in your mind is that your Job Search IS a job!!  You need to treat it as such and ensure that you assign some time to doing it right.


Develop contacts - friends, family, neighbors, college alumni, people in associations - anyone who might help generate information and job leads - although you are not selling a product, you are selling yourself and that's how you should think about it..  Contact everyone you know. You may be surprised by the people they know.   Make yourself pick up the phone and call.  Networking isn't a process of making cold-calls to people you don't know. It's talking to people you do know or asking them to introduce you to others.

Email is a perfectly acceptable way to network as well.  Keep your message brief and to the point and be sure to check your spelling, grammar, and punctuation.

Formal networking works too - try going to a business social or an association meeting or event.  You'll find that many of the participants have the same goals you do and will be glad to exchange business cards.

Job Board

Now there are lots of different Job Boards that you can find and use.  One of the most popular ones of course if Monster.  In addition to Monster you will find many that are specific to your country or region and I will try to cover most of the bigger ones for the US/UK and Canada over the coming months and years.  However another International tool that is definitely worth looking into - especially as it ties into the Networking topic mentioned above is called LinkedIn.

This site is different as it is very similar to social networking sites like Facebook and others, but it is professional in nature.  Your work friends and colleagues will be your networking contacts here and these are also the same people that through their own network will assist in getting you a new job.

The main reason that companies are using LinkedIn is to find passive job candidates. Another reason why companies are using LinkedIn, is because referrals from their employees are highly valued because they typically have a higher success rate (hence the popular "employee referral bonuses"). LinkedIn helps companies leverage the networks of their employees.
 
It's also important to note that LinkedIn has reached a point where it's almost unprofessional not to be on LinkedIn. There are members from all 500 of the Fortune 500 companies. LinkedIn members comprise 130 different industries, and include 130,000 recruiters.

Recruiters

Your third option in your Job Search is Recruitment firms ... now, don't think of this as your last option as they should not be ... they are simply another arrow in your quiver and should be used in conjunction with the other two methods already mentioned.

Try to ensure that you target recruitment firms in your chosen sector vs. general recruiters as the specialists are most likely to have an opening in an area that you are interested in.  I'll try to cover some of the better/bigger ones in the next little while, however finding a recruitment firm is probably best done through Google and other search engines.
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