Job Hunting 101 – 10 Hints for Job Seekers (with a special bonus)

There are some ideas about job hunting that can benefit everyone. There are also some ways that you can make the process easier, in the event you unexpectedly find yourself looking for work.

1)      Keep your resume up-to-date – Nothing is more difficult that having to sit down and remember what you did every day at a job that you had 5 years ago. If you keep track as you advance in the company and keep your records up, it won’t be as difficult later.

2)      Make connections, now! – While you’re working is the best time to plan for a new job. The days of staying in one place for 50 years are pretty much extinct. Make sure you keep track of the people you meet that might be able to help you find work. Set up your profile on Linked In and try to keep your wall on Facebook as positive as a future employer might want. While you are not likely to find work on Linked In and Facebook, they are great places to network and future employers will look there to get an idea of who you are.

3)      Always be looking – Put your resume in with discreet employment agencies, like ACE Employment in Boston. They won’t jeopardize your current job, but they will help you keep feelers out for opportunities you might not know exist. Be sure that you work with people with a great reputation and a solid background. There are lots of companies these days that just set up shop, looking to capitalize on high unemployment. Don’t be fooled! They will only work for you if it’s easy. A professional company will work hard for you, because you’re great.

4)      Don’t stop moving – If you lose your job unexpectedly, it can be very defeating. Don’t sit still. Wake up the next morning and start making phone calls, meeting with employment pros, reaching out to contacts and friends. The better the position, the longer the run to get the job. Just keep trying every day! If you feel defeated, give your employment counselor a call; they will remind you about the rewards at the end.

5)      Look around – Don’t be afraid to look outside of your field for something different. If you are a great administrative assistant from the manufacturing sector, you might find yourself an awesome position with a hotel chain. A great manager from the financial sector will still be a great manager in manufacturing. And remember – some fast food managers make more that degreed engineers

6)      Learn, constantly – You know all of those lame seminars that you don’t want to go to, but your present company is willing to pay for. Go! Those lame seminars are the leading edge of what your industry is doing. It’s called continuing education. Paying for it on your own is expensive and difficult, but very often your present employer has budgeted for it. Take advantage of that fact and LEARN!

7)      Stay clean – Inside and out! Just because you don’t have to report to work tomorrow doesn’t mean you should pretend you’re in a dorm tonight. There will be drug tests and you don’t want to be a 10-year professional who doesn’t get hired because you tested positive for drugs. Shower, shave and wear clean clothes every day. You don’t have to wear business clothes, but you never know when you’re going to run into a future employer.

8)      Clean out your car – It sounds crazy, but if you drive up in a car that looks like you live in it, your interviewer might wonder if you do. Remember: Your hiring process doesn’t end when you leave the building. The person who interviewed you will talk to the parking garage attend (who saw you open a flask when you got back to your car), the employee (who heard you swearing as you left), and the server at the coffee shop (who remembers you didn’t tip).

9)      Tip well! – I hear you saying it, “But I am out of work. I can’t afford to tip well.” You can’t afford not to. No one talks to more people in a day than a server. Not just says “Hi,” scans their stuff and they leave. Talks to them! Servers know who works where, who might be hiring; sometimes they can even tell you when the CEO of the local company comes by for a cocktail. So eat or have a beer (one, just one!) at a restaurant that is frequented by employees from the company you want to work for. Don’t stalk anyone, but a meeting over a beer and nachos can go a long way to getting you in the door. And that server is the key.

10)  Step down – It’s an old adage, “It’s easier to get a job if you have a job.” Don’t be afraid to take a second shift job at Burger King or a weekend job at Lowe’s. The conversation goes like this:

Interviewer: So you’re working at Lowe’s now after leaving your job as a nuclear technician. What made you decide to do that?

You: Well, I don’t like to sit still and I get to meet people. I thought, heck, they’re a great company and I want to never let my work muscles get weak. It’s been fun. It’s just temporary until I get back on my career path and I told my boss that.

Interviewer: So what has that been like?

You: Well, first, it is great to meet all kinds of people I would never have met otherwise. Also, my career is pretty isolated and this gives me a chance to hone my interpersonal communication skills. (etc., etc.)

So, as long as it doesn’t significantly impact your unemployment or severance, see what you can do that will help keep you busy. Oh, and if working for money is out for you, volunteer. It looks great on a resume and you will be contributing to your community.

Bonus hint: Clothes – For many of us, the only time we dress up is during the job hunting process (and funerals, but we are thinking about that now). If you find that you need interview clothes, try a decent local thrift store. Goodwill, the Salvation Army, and St. Vincent de Paul are the big ones, but most cities have dozens of places that sell second hand clothes very cheap. You only need them for a little while, so why dump a lot of money. And with a little effort, you can almost always find good clothes there.

OK. So that wasn’t the greatest bonus ever, but it is a good idea.

Please comment below with ideas you have.

Is there anything you have learned that will help others during the employment cycles of their lives?

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