It’s about who you know, NOT what you know! But, what if you don’t know anyone? Then what are you suppose to do? You suppose to go hunting and make contacts. When finding any job the first rule is to make looking for a job your JOB!
Finding a Job Is Your Job
If you are unemployed then you should put aside at least 6-8 hours of each business day for applying to jobs, making contacts, interviewing, and staying on top of your industry. This strategy will always award you a job in less time. Your goal should be to apply to a minimum of 3 jobs per day. You should manage a list of contacts of everyone you directly or indirectly make contact with.
If you already have a job, then you shouldn’t be looking for a job. But, if it is imperative that you find a new job, then it will be more difficult to find the adequate time to job hunt, therefore you should put aside the time for your job search as it becomes available.
Analyze Your Craft
You should know your craft. Know the skill you hold and the level at which you best perform. Rate yourself fairly, do not underrate your talent. Know your worth, but better know the least (salary) you are willing to accept.
It is important to know your skill set. Knowing this information will help you better asses the position which you are seeking. Getting a job isn’t only about the employer finding the perfect fit, it is also for you to find the perfect fit. Research the salary for your position, such as Salary.com, SalaryExpert.com, and PayScale.com. Once you are familiar with the salary you should stay at least $5,000 within that range (e.g. if the salary for the job is expected to be $45,000 then you should seek opportunity within the range of $40,000-$45,000 or $45,000-$50,000, depending on your level of skill for the position).
Prepare Your Resume
You should update your current resume or create a new resume. Your original resume should be generic, but keyword-rich. The generic version should NOT contain any formal greets to any particular party. Basically, you should be able to apply to any job with the generic version without any editing. It should be readily available for fast access and quick apply. The generic version will be used to post on job boards, for employers to view when searching the database. Editing your resume for formal greets should be done at the time of applying to a job.
You want your resume to be keyword-rich because when employers/recruiters search databases for resumes they usually use keywords to find employees. If your resume has the proper keyword density and strategy then your resume is more likely to be returned within the search results (e.g. if the job you are searching for is ‘customer service’ then your resume should focus on the keyword ‘customer service’).
Many argue that a one-page resume is the best resume, but in my experience a one-page resume doesn’t provide enough information for those with extensive backgrounds. In this case I suggest not exceeding 2 pages, unless the job you are applying for is information technology related or relies on extended details within the industry, then it is (sometimes) best to list or add every product, program, service, and technology which you have touched, worked with, or have knowledge of. Even still do not exceed 3 pages at this point, and that may be too much. Though, I must admit I have seen 5-page resumes which are highly detailed and keyword-rich that receive a very high response rate.
Never boast or brag on your resume. Be truthful and list your objective, skills, professional experience, education, and knowledge.
If you do not have the ability or time to create an award-winning resume then it may be worthwhile to invest in a professional resume writing service.
Build Your Contacts
The best way to make contacts is by calling the employer or recruiter directly. Usually this information is made available when applying for a job online. If you are at a job board site such as: Monster.com, CareerBuilder.com, or a niche-based job board such as: DataCenterLife.com then more than likely the contact information is found on the job post page. If you are applying through an employer site then more than likely the contact information can be found under the “Contact Us” page usually found on the sites’ navigational bar. Respect the wishes of employers and recruiters who state NOT to contact by phone.
You should create a contact for any job you apply for.
Manage Your Contact List
Every employer or recruiter you make contact with directly or indirectly should be added to your contact list. Your contact list should include the company name, contact name, email address, phone number, and position title. You should also have a field or method which denotes the last time you spoke with or contacted each contact. This is important so you do not make the mistake of contacting someone you spoke with days earlier as well this helps you manage your time between each contact. You should follow-up with your contacts at least once every week or every 7 business days.
Out of Work. Out of the Loop.
Just because you are unemployed doesn’t mean you need to fall behind in your industry. You should still stay familiar with your industry and spend your time wisely. Study your industry market and know the new technologies being used inside your job industry. Stay afloat, use your resources such as: the internet, newspapers, media, friends, and ex co-workers to know what is going on in your job industry. If you are out of work for months and have no idea of a new application that is being used by all professionals in your industry, then it will look bad in an interview when you have no clue what they are talking about and you are claiming to be a skilled professional in the industry. Keep your eye on the prize and know your stuff. Even if you are not an expert at it, at least have the basic knowledge.
Don’t Answer That Phone
You only have one chance at making a good impression, do not blow it! Do not answer the phone if you are too busy to talk, if you see a number that you do not recognize assume it is an employer or recruiter and you should not answer the call, if you are too busy. There is nothing worse than a crying baby in the background, a large bulldozer from a nearby construction site, the sound of a flushing toilet, a third-party conversation going on in the background, or being in a drop-call zone when an employer or recruiter calls. You should be focused, relaxed, calmed, and ready to answer all questions swiftly without any interruptions when the phone rings, otherwise allow your voice mail service to get the call and return the call later when the time is more convenient.
Give Yourself a Break
I also suggest taking off Friday, don’t do any job hunting or interviewing this day, enjoy yourself. Have yourself a 3-day weekend. The only reason you should schedule Friday for interviewing is if the employer or recruiter schedule it, never inconvenience your interviewer unless it is life-threatening or extremely important. Also, you should still answer your phone on Friday when you have the time, if you are too busy or unable to answer your phone then make sure you have a voice mail service set up.
Getting an interview is what you worked hard for. Having a successful interview is just as important as getting the job. This determines everything. Preparation for your interview should begin the minute you are scheduled for your interview. You should study the background of the company. You should be familiar with what the company does and their procedures. Most of this information is usually found on the company’s website (sometimes buried within the site so you may have to do some digging). You should prepare questions which you may have for the interviewer about the company and/or position. You should familiarize or refresh yourself with the requirements/qualifications of the position. And most importantly you should have a good night sleep before the interview, at least 8-10 hours of rest.
You should have at least 2 business suits/attire for interviewing. If you have a second interview you should have the ability to switch to a different suit. Your suits should be only of the three colors: black, navy, or gray. Make sure you are well groomed for the interview.
You should arrive to the interview between 10-15 minutes early. You should never come to an interview empty handed. You should at least have a business folder with notepad paper, a writing pen, and a hardcopy of your resume.
When interviewing you should relax and be yourself. You should be focus, articulate well, and be keen. Make non-offensive eye contact with your interviewer. Ask questions about the company and the position. Ask the interviewer about their position and the length of time they been with the company. Ask the interviewer why the position is available and why did the last person leave the company? Ask the interviewer how soon do they hope to fill the available position? Ask the interviewer for a business card or way to contact them if you have any questions later.
Just remember to be yourself and remember that the interviewer is only human just like you. If you don’t get the job then try and try again, until you get a job. Many times an interview is a display of your personality and character. If you have truthfully and appropriately represented your skill set on your resume, then the interviewer already know you are capable of handling the job.