By Keith Hosey
It’s no question that unemployment from the downed economy has affected many families across the country. Many people are submitting applications and interviewing for the first time in years, while others, who may have ever only had jobs through their personal networks, are doing it for the first time ever. There’s more competition for fewer openings and jobseekers everywhere, with and without disabilities, are looking for ways to get ahead of the crowd and stand out above the rest. In this economy, I believe traditional job search will only get you so far. Here are some tips and tricks for finding a job, some of which are anything but usual.
Network, Network, Network. I don’t think anyone can stress this enough. It’s still the staple of good practices for finding a job. Get out there and network. Tell everyone you know that you are looking for work. They may have a friend of a friend of a friend who is hiring. Not only that, they may become you’re best advocate by taking on your cause and helping with job leads, a good reference and more.
Stand out, but don’t stick out like a sore thumb. I’ve heard of some interesting things job seekers have done recently to stand out of the crowd and get the attention of recruiters. I’ve had people tell me they put their resumes on pink paper, so it will immediately draw the attention of the recruiter. I read an article a while back about a man who mailed a shoe with every resume and a note that said he’s “trying to get a foot in the door.” No joke. While these incidences make us laugh and do gain the recruiters attention, are they drawing the right attention or are they drawing negative attention? It’s important to walk a fine line between standing out and sticking out like a sore thumb.
Do something productive. They say that looking for a job is a full time job itself, but you can’t put that on a resume. Volunteer or join a group so you can show something current on your resume. Volunteering keeps your skills fresh and gives you something to put on your resume that says “present,” which is important on a resume. There are professional groups associated with many careers. Not only are you increasing your networking when you join your respective professional group, but many times you’re accessing the inside track on job openings and keeping you knowledge of the field current. It looks good on your resume too. You may want to think about joining other community groups like Toastmasters, where you can even polish your speaking skills.
Make the internet work for you, not against you. Have you ever Googled yourself? Well you should. Fifty-five percent of employers report checking candidates out online, including through Google and social media sites like Facebook and Myspace. So if your Facebook profile has pages and pages of pictures or comments about you that you don’t want a potential employer to see… make it private. Hopefully that’s not the case. I would suggest examining your email name too. I had an individual whose email address was similar to Killingspree@domain.com (I’ve changed it to protect identity). You get the idea. I suggest firstname.lastname@example.org.
We live in the information and technology age, so don’t limit yourself to only real world networking. Get a LinkedIn profile, you’ll be amazed at who you might find. You’ll be amazed at who might find you. There are also free and cheap web hosting options. You can set up a website touting your skills and achievements (let them Google that). Get on Twitter or use www.search.twitter.com, seriously. There are a lot of professionals tweeting resources, including job openings. I saw three job opportunities in my feed today alone and I’m not even actively searching for them.