If you follow my blog at all, you already know that I recently changed jobs. I left my position as the Executive Director of Hope Lives Breast Cancer Support Center to accept the Executive Directorship of the Northern Colorado chapter of the American Red Cross. You can read about the challenges and excitement that I faced while making this change here.
Since making this change to a bigger job with greater responsibilities, many people have asked me how I did it. It seems that many of my friends and colleagues are feeling stuck and stagnate in jobs that they no longer consider to be rewarding.
While there is no sure-fire way to guarantee job hunting success, there are numerous steps that you can take to help give yourself every possible advantage as you look to advance your career. Here are some FabYOUlous job hunting tips that are sure to help you stand out among the competition and land that dream job.
Find Your Dream Job by Knowing Where and How to Hunt
–Ask the Right Questions: Ask yourself exactly what you want. Are you looking to expand your current position with a possible promotion? Do you like your current career but hope to take your talents to a larger company with more opportunities for growth? Do you long to do something all-together different? Once you’ve determined what you are looking for in a career, ask yourself what you are good at and what skills and experiences you bring to the table. Finally, take a look at which companies in your area might be a good fit for the type of position you are looking for.
–Know your ABC’s: Networking is one of the most effective tools in the job hunter’s arsenal and yet, despite its effectiveness, it is a tool that is often underutilized. We all have three different “circles” within our personal networks and when looking for a job it is vital that we make use of all three. A-listers are those who make up our innermost circle of friends and family. Be sure that each of these individuals knows that you are looking for a new career opportunity and that they are familiar with your professional credentials, experience and skill sets. These individuals who know you best will (out of their love and concern for you) be highly invested in your success and therefore willing to introduce you to any connections that they have who might be beneficial to your search. Your B-list is comprised of your acquaintances, neighbors, colleagues etc. Be willing to give these individuals your business card and ask them to keep you in mind if/when they hear of job opportunities that fit your interests. You never know what connections your butcher might have. Finally, your C-list is made up of people that you don’t necessarily know but that you would love to be introduced to. Take a chance and reach out to these individuals via a LinkedIn message or send them an email with an attached article that you think might interest them. Small gestures like this might just be enough to put you on their radar–a position that you might be able to leverage in the future.
–Become a Networking Superstar: Once you’ve mastered your ABC’s (above) it is time to start working your network. Click here for Eight tips for FabYOUlously Successful Networking.
—Be Search Engine Savvy: Monster.com, Careerbuilder.com, Craigslist.com, TheLadders.com…where do you start when it comes to online job searches? Fortunately, there is one website that does the work for you by searching all other job search sites and online classified listings. Just visit www.Indeed.com for a complete listing of all relevant online listings for careers fitting your criteria. To maximize your results, hit the “advanced search” option and enter your location.
–Find Hidden Jobs: Take the time to join industry associations and groups related to your field on LinkedIn.com and you will occasionally receive “alerts” about positions that have not yet been posted publicly. This insider information will provide you with a jump start and competitive edge as you apply for the position before others know about it.
–Make the Most of Career Fairs: Career fairs can be wonderful opportunities to learn about various companies and the jobs that they have available. Unfortunately, career fairs also attract a large number of qualified job seekers which makes it difficult to stand out among the masses. According to David Bukovinsky, author of 15 Minutes to a Better Interview and career fair veteran, it is best to attend a career fair with the intentions of making an impact on one or two specific employers rather than just making the rounds and submitting resumes to everyone. “If you hit every booth around us before coming to ours, it looks like you’re just doing a resume drop and hoping for the best” says Bukovinsky. “Instead, come to our booth from another area of the fair, speak to us with passion and then walk out of sight to another part of the fair. That conveys to us that you were solely interested in our opportunity and that works to your advantage.”
–Go for Growth: Make a list of the top 10 to 15 companies in your area. Are they growing or shrinking? If they are growing, do your skills and interests fit with what they do? Does anything pop up on Google indicating that they are expanding? Are people buying what they are selling? Companies that are growing will always need good employees. Even if they haven’t yet posted any specific job openings, it is a good idea to connect with the Human Resources department to express your interest in working for the company. Oftentimes, HR Directors will know of job opportunities before they become public and can provide leads on potential hiring timelines.
–Volunteer: Yes, you want to find a job that will pay you. However; one often overlooked opportunity is that of volunteering. Volunteering for a cause that is close to your heart will not only help you to gain valuable experience that you can later transfer to your paid position, it will also help you to connect with others that share your passion. These individuals will oftentimes know others who may be in a position to hire someone with your experience and level of commitment.
Following these eight tips will give you a leg up when it comes to seeking out potential career opportunities. Next month we’ll cover resume tweaks that will help you to land an interview and in January we’ll help you to nail the interview and land that job. Applying these lessons will help to ensure that 2016 is the year that you finally become satisfied and successful in a FabYOUlous career that you love.