This is something we see a lot, since for the better part of the last 20 years, job seekers have been conditioned to think that good grades and a good “education” would be sufficient for finding a
job. And while we certainly respect the overall education system, we think it’s safe to say that a 3.0 GPA, and a college diploma aren’t going to save the day when it comes to landing your ideal job.
Instead, we recommend....job seekers get out of the house and start networking.
We’re talking about local Chambers of Commerce, Business Associations, Kiwanis Clubs, Rotary Clubs, non-profit organizations, cocktail parties…anyplace where you can find people who have jobs in your industry.
Now with that said, the likelihood of finding a Hiring Manager at one of these functions is pretty remote. However, a lot of times you’ll run into people who even though they might not be the hiring authority for a position, they might know someone, who knows someone else who might be looking to hire someone just like you. And by meeting that original contact, you’re gotten the ball rolling for finding a job.
That reminds us of a story of a friend of ours a few years back who really took this to the next level.
He’d graduated college recently and was looking for work in the oil and gas industry. That was all good and well except that at the time, the United States was in the middle of a recession (the one before this one), and no one was hiring all that much.
So instead of sitting around complaining about the situation, he hit the phones and started calling Oil & Gas Conferences and Trade Expo events to see if he could volunteer at those events, in exchange for receiving a “scholarship” on the registration costs.
(Industry groups have conferences all the time. Usually it’s just a matter of looking up your industry online, plus the word “association” and something usually pops up.)
Anyway, some of the event coordinators took him up on the offer. So all he had to do was drive out to the Conference site, and in exchange for a half day of registering people at the Welcome Table or whatever volunteer position they needed filled, he was then free to roam the halls and network in an environment where EVERYONE was a potential hiring manager.
And here’s the best part: All he had to do is find one person, who had one contact, who could find him one job.
Needless to say, it didn’t take too long until our friend find himself a position…even during a tough economic time.
So if you are looking for a job, do yourself a favor and dive right in to whatever networking events you can find in your city, since that will go a long ways towards finding your ideal job.
Mistake #2: Not Having a Gameplan, Not Having a Professional Looking Resume.
This is a real common mistake, since most job seekers we’ve run into have more or less…how shall we say, flown by the seat of their pants when it comes to finding a job.
Sure everyone wants a job, and most job seekers even have an idea as to what industry or even company they might want to work for. But beyond that, there’s usually not too much of a gameplan for physically making that happen.
Which needless to say is a real mistake if you plan on finding a job in the shortest time possible.
First off, you’ll want to take a look at your field and figure out which jobs are best suited for your particular interests. Ask your parents, ask some of their friends and talk to some professors if you attended college to get their opinions of the best direction to go.
Once you’ve established that you’re heading the right way, then we recommend creating a Hit List of say 25 companies who fall into the industry or category where you want to work. During this time you’ll also want to ask yourself if relocation, or living in another city is something you want to do.
If you’re open to relocation, then your options will be much greater. If not, that’s fine too, but you’ll want to get that worked out before hand.
From there you’ll want to get your resume in order and make sure it highlights some areas that would interest perspective employers in your industry. Remember, when it comes to resumes, one size does not fit all.
You want to tailor your resume to address their “hot buttons” or issues facing your chosen industry.
You’ll also want to make sure your wardrobe is in line with that of your desired professional destination. So if you’re interviewing for a banking position, then showing up in sneakers and dock siders probably isn’t the way to go.
Conversely, if you’re interviewing for software or technology job position, then a blue suit and white tie might not do it either.
In a word: Know your audience.
And lastly, have a few good questions relating to that industry ready to go, that way when they ask you “do you have any questions” during the interview, you can come across as the competent professional who they want to hire.
Mistake #1: Solely Relying on “Monster” and Other Job Posting Sites.
This is an absolute killer for anyone coming out of school looking for a job, because here’s how the story usually goes…
You’ve begun your job search. You might even have good grades and a degree, and you’re feeling good about your prospects for finding a job. So after doing a little research and creating a resume, you do what any normal person would expect…you post your resume online.
You go to this site, and that one.
You go to company websites and message boards…all the while posting your resumes along the way.
So a few hours later you sit back in your chair, exhale loudly and get ready for the job offers to come in.
Except guess what? It never happens!
And while we don’t know where all of those online resumes and job applications go, we do know this: It almost never (and we mean never), leads to an interview…much less an actual offer.
Sure you might get some calls, but at the end of the day it usually just turns out to be a recruiter or some other person “screening” applications, and you just happened to be next in the stack.
If we could impart one piece of advice to today’s job seeker it would be this: Get in the game.
Go to networking events, talk to your mentors or professors, talk to your parents…just don’t sit around thinking that 3 hours, a computer and an online resume is going to help you land your ideal job.
There are just too many applicants for too few positions, and not enough time for employers and HR folks to sift through the rubble.