Job Search and Networking
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Overview

Finding the career you love starts with the job search. Take your time on your research and stay positive.

An example of a job search:

1. Determine the type of job you want and where you would like to work. For example, do you want a career with a large corporation, local store, manufacturer, real estate office or bank?

2. Make a list of all businesses that are hiring in the locations where you are willing to commute and include telephone numbers. Cold call each one and ask to speak with the appropriate person, such as a hiring manager, the head of HR or the contact person listed on the job announcement.

3. Join social networking groups, such as Facebook and LinkedIn. Connect with as many people as possible. When / if appropriate, ask your connections if there are any job openings at their places of employment. Whether there is a job available or not, ask if you can send them your resume. Ask them to keep it on file. You can also network by participating in fitness and religious groups. Mention that you are looking for work

Job Search Plan

Creating a job search schedule will enable you to set aside time for drafting a resume, creating a cover letter, being prepared, using the Internet to find job openings, networking and completing the interview process. 3 Schedule time on your calendar for job search activities. Treat that time as you would any work commitment. Be consistent in the amount of time you spend each day, or week, on job search activities. This will help you keep your momentum going. It’s a good idea to have a plan before you start searching for specific jobs. A plan should be a flexible outline of what you want to do and how you expect to do it.

  1. Start with at least one career goal that will be the focus of your job hunt
  2. Assess your skills, strengths and interests. List the types of jobs that match them
  3. Have your job application information ready along with an updated resume and cover letter
  4. Research businesses or employers you want to work for and contact them
  5. . Network with people in the field, support groups and job clubs for information
  6. Rehearse answering questions about leaving your past jobs out loud
  7. Practice your interviewing skills
  8. . Keep records of your job search
  9. A job search takes time, so if possible create a budget to support yourself during your search

Market Yourself

By identifying your skills and how they match the jobs you are seeking, you will be able to market yourself more effectively. Knowing what skills you possess is at the core of a successful job search. Skills mapping helps you to consider a job or experience in terms of what you gained and learned instead of focusing only on what you did. It helps you prioritize the most meaningful skills for the job you are considering.

How to Market Your Skills

  • Resume: Your resume showcases your transferable skills. You can emphasize your many skills and elaborate on how you used them.
  • Cover Letter: Transferable skills can be highlighted in a cover letter to market the skills you have to offer to an employer. A cover letter provides an opportunity to focus a potential employer on the skills and details that might not have been included on a resume. A cover letter also gives you an opportunity to compare the skills required for the position to the skills you possess.
  • Interview: An interview is the best time for you to showcase your skills. Be prepared to describe your responsibilities, how you contributed and what you gained from your relevant experiences. Remember, communication skills can be demonstrated during the interview as you express your thoughts and connect with the interviewer.

Job Fairs

Going to job fairs may lead to an opportunity for jobseekers to speak directly to employers that might have job openings. It is important to have the right expectations for what you can and cannot do at a job fair.

  • Expect to leave with increased opportunities to discuss your brand or how you want to be seen by others in the marketplace and ultimately, how others see you
  • Build your professional network
  • Introduce yourself to potential employers and answer employers’ questions
  • Get information and leads that are not available on the employers’ websites

Before the Job Fair

  • Although not always required, registering ahead of time puts your name on the list of pre-registered attendees and shows professional courtesy to both fair organizers and exhibiting employers
  • Research participating employers to find out ahead of time which employers hire people with your skills
  • Even if the company is not on your list of targeted employers, treat them as if they were
  • Know your career objective
  • Make a list of questions for employers and ask about how they recruit and hire people with your skill set; your target employers will likely have similar hiring practices
  • Perfect your resume
  • Practice your elevator speech or 60-second promotion that highlights your background and skills; it is a good idea to practice this with someone
  • Practice interview responses

During the Job Fair

  • Dress professionally
  • Bring several copies of your resume and a pen and paper for notes
  • Talk with recruiters while being aware of the social cues; if a recruiter wants to continue to talk to you, do so, but if they seem to be busy with other priorities, do not talk for too long
  • Begin with a firm handshake and maintain good eye contact when you give your 60-second elevator speech; use a clear voice and provide the employer with brief and relevant information
  • Get business cards, names and contact information from everyone you interact with
  • After meeting someone, make a few notes about what you discussed with them
  • Talk with other jobseekers at the job fair
  • Be professional, polite and positive

After the Job Fair

Send a thank-you email message or letter to remind your contacts of who you are and any specific details you discussed. Thank your contacts for their time and ask about next steps. Make sure to organize your job fair notes and contact information.

Networking

Networking is about getting to know people and building relationships that can reveal hidden job opportunities. Networking is one of the most effective ways to find a job, and can be as simple as asking an acquaintance about their field of work.

Networking is critical when job hunting:

  • It can result in referrals
  • It is an important business skill
  • It can directly impact your career achievements and income

Most career specialists feel that a network of between 40-75 people is required for the network process to work. Overall, the more quality network contacts you have, the more likely you are to find a good job. You probably “network” more than you realize already.

10 Networking Tips, Tricks and Techniques

  1. Generally, avoid asking for more than 20 minutes of someone’s time in-person, or more than five minutes of their time on the phone.
  2. Return all phone calls within 24 hours.
  3. Present yourself and your needs concisely. Do not talk too much about personal or unrelated matters.
  4. Look for “leads,” not for “jobs.” “Leads” will lead you to “jobs.” If someone suggests getting in touch with someone else, ask permission to use their name and then follow up as soon as possible.
  5. Focus your networking on people who have direct links to the people with the power to hire.
  6. Always be prepared to present your strengths, goals and how you’ll benefit your next employer.
  7. Never speak poorly of someone in your network, your school or your former employer.
  8. Practice, practice and practice your verbal and phone presentations.
  9. Learn more about the field you’re currently pursuing.
  10. Be ready to handle rejections.

Network Your Resume

Networking is a great way to circulate your resume. Remember: networking is about establishing relationships and sharing information — not asking for a job.

Here are some guidelines:

  • Before you offer your resume to a new contact, wait until you’ve established a relationship (offering it right away may be viewed as asking for a job)
  • Focus on getting information and referrals from your contacts, then use that information to do additional research and target your resume to a specific opportunity
  • Since there’s always a chance someone will ask for your resume, always have copies available when networking (make sure your resume is on high quality paper)
  • If a contact does ask for your resume and offers to circulate it for you, follow up promptly with a thank you note or email message (keep them informed on any resulting activity) The same resume etiquette applies when you’re using social networking tools such as LinkedIn.

Many job seekers focus on big job boards like Monster.com. But according to experts, unless you’re in a high-demand field, this is one of the least effective job search methods.

Measure Your Ability to Network

Social Media

An online presence or "digital footprint" is the broad spectrum of the identity that you have created for yourself online, both personally and professionally. Your online presence changes each time you publish new content or interact with someone on any public domain. Essentially, your online presence is the information that can be found about you when an online search of your name is conducted.

There are two parts to building your online presence:

  1. Establishing yourself on key websites
  2. Creating online activity and content

Your online presence shows who you are, helps build trust and credibility between you and potential businesses, shows that you are passionate about your career field and helps distinguish you among jobseekers.

General Social Media Tips

  • Keep it Clean: Remember, anything you put on your social media profiles can be found.
  • Be Consistent When You Are Online: Make sure that the information on all of your social media profiles is the same.
  • Highlight Your Skills: Share examples of your work on your social media accounts. Employers are interested in seeing what skills you have to offer, so make sure you showcase them online.
  • Help Your Contacts: Network with your connections by writing them a recommendation on LinkedIn, introducing them to another one of your connections or sharing an interesting news article with them.
  • Reach Out to Contacts: Whether this person simply left a nice comment on your blog post or helped you form a connection with a client, it is always important to say thank you.
  • Quality Over Quantity: Instead of focusing on being the account with the most followers, focus on creating meaningful relationships with those who you know will be a good contact.

Research Businesses or Employers

Researching businesses or employers on social media before you get started is a smart idea because it can give you a direction for your job search.

What to Research:

  • Primary mission of the company
  • Services or products they provide
  • Work environment
  • Job descriptions of your preferred position

Social Media Platforms to Use During Job Search:

  • LinkedIn: LinkedIn is a social network for people looking to find new opportunities, grow their careers and connect with other professionals. In a recent survey done by Jobvite, 92% of recruiters that are actively searching for candidates online have hired a new employee through LinkedIn. Businesses claim that they are using LinkedIn as either their primary or exclusive job-posting website.
  • Facebook: Make sure your profile is complete and add past work and educational experience. Clean up your page and change settings to private if there is something you don't want a business to see. Like, follow and engage with the pages of prospective companies.
  • Twitter: Although Twitter may offer less structure as a job search tool, it offers more opportunities to connect with people than some other social media websites. Hiring managers, in a field where social media might be considered a qualification, frequently check Twitter for potential employees.

Placement Agencies

Recruiting and staffing services can be excellent resources in your job search. Also consider using placement agencies. These agencies work with jobseekers to develop their job seeking skills. Placement agencies provide temporary (a day, a few weeks or longer) job search services.

Benefits:

  • You often get access to unadvertised openings
  • A third party (the recruiting firm) is working to match your skills and long-term goals to a job
  • You can gain work experience, develop skills, obtain training and increase networking contacts
  • You can earn money while you look for permanent work

Tips for Working with Employment Agencies:

  • Be professional
  • Be available
  • Expand your job search
  • Check your benefits

Resource Guide

Get more tips on how to effectively search for jobs and network with others.

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