Not long ago, one of my former students contacted me in despair. It was six months after graduation, and she still hadn't found a job. I started thinking about some of the common roadblocks to a successful job-search, and I came up with this list of 10 important questions. Still haven't found a job? Ask yourself. . .
- Are you networking? -- Job-seekers today can't rely on passive methods of job-hunting. You have to meet people and tell as many of them as possible that you're looking for a job (be specific). Take your resume everywhere and give it out to everyone you can. Try informational interviewing; it's a highly effective form of networking.
- Are you limiting your search? -- Are you relying strictly on want ads in the newspaper? Or have you decided that Internet ads will be the source of your next job? Don't search in only one sphere. Only a small percentage of job-seekers find jobs through either print or Internet want ads. So where do they find them? See Question No. 1 through networking. But don't even limit your search just to networking; incorporate every form of job-hunting into the mix.
- Are you targeting employers most likely to need your skills? -- A really effective job search begins with comprehensive employer research and development of a list of employers to target. Based on various research criteria, you can target companies you most want to work for, companies that are likely to have plentiful openings in your field, and/or companies in particular need of the skills you have to offer. Once you've researched them, you can approach them using various job-hunting techniques:
- Sending cold-contact inquiry letters the impress the employer with your knowledge of the company.
- Using your network to uncover people with an "in" into your target companies.
- Informationally interviewing people in your target companies.
- Watching for print and Internet want ads from the companies (but not relying solely on these ads).