I’ve searched for a few jobs in my time, and I’ve … many hundreds of people. Here are some things that I’ve learned which have had great success. I hope they are of value to any job searcher
I’ve searched for a few jobs in my time, and I’ve interviewed many hundreds of people. Here are some things that I’ve learned which have had great success. I hope they are of value to any job searchers.Treat job hunting as a full time occupation – If you are currently unemployed and can physically (or mentally) work, then there is absolutely no excuse for not spending every waking moment looking for a job. You can read want ads over breakfast, go on an interview in the morning, spend lunch on the phone scheduling a couple more interview for later in the week, go on another interview in the afternoon and write a few letters over dinner. After dinner, you can surf the internet researching your career, locale and companies. The point is, there is nothing more important than finding a job – it is the basis of survival. Treat it as such.Research – Spend your evenings doing research about potential employers. First you are looking for companies who need to hire someone with your qualifications. This is your first research task. Once you find some companies, schedule some interviews. When you talk to the receptionist on the phone, you could ask her to send you a brochure or some information about the company (if the interview is soon you could pick it up the day before if possible). You can get on the internet in the evening and see if any articles have been written about the company. Remember to check various sources to see if the company is financially sound – you don’t want to get employed only to be laid off a month later if you can help it! Also find out the names of as many corporate executives as possible, but make sure your information is current.What do you need this information for? The data has many values: first, you could find out the company does not meet your needs and not waste your time on an interview. Having information makes you more powerful during the interview process, as you will not be going in ignorant of what’s going on. Finally, you can use this information to convince your interviewer that you are qualified for the position.Contacts – The plain fact of the matter is, scanning the newspaper want ads is perhaps the least successful method of job hunting. Sending out hundreds of resumes simply does not work well either. In fact, the best way to get a job is through personal contacts. What does this mean? You need to get on the phone, get in your car or bicycle or whatever, and talk to people. If an interview does not work out, you call the person back and ask them if they know of someone else who needs your skills. Ask the receptionist, ask the human resources person, ask anyone who will talk to you. Open your mouth and get friendly with people. Once you get to know them a bit (which could be after five minutes of conversation or several hours, depending upon the person), ask if they know of anyone who needs your skills. If they say “no”, fine. On the other hand, you will occasionally get a contact. Now, that’s how you find a good job!Go on at least one interview per weekday – Try and schedule an interview, no matter how much of a stretch, every single day. In this case, more is better. Each interview is an opportunity to get a job, or, just as importantly, a potential source for leads to other contacts and interviews.Treat “no” as an opportunity – It is inevitable that you will get a “no” now and then. In fact, you might get tens or even hundreds of them. It’s often a good idea to call the person who interviewed you to talk to them. On the surface, you are askingwhy you didn’t get the job: but in reality, you are asking themfor information. The primary purpose of talking to them issimple: “do you know of anyone else who could use a person likeme?” Sometimes you will get a “no”, and sometimes you will geta name and phone number.Control your interviews – Most people go into a job interview in a passive, controlled state. They answer some questions, take a few tests perhaps and fill in a few forms. Virtually everything is under the control of the job seeker. I’ve found a more assertive approach can be more fruitful, and certainly it feels more fulfilling. Go into the interview with a pad of paper and writing materials. Be sure the pad has a list of questions for your potential employer, as well as some notes about their company. When you meet the employer, introduce yourself assertively. Listen well, but also ask lots of questions and, most importantly, show off your knowledge of the company, position and if possible, your interviewer. Show the person you have done your homework. Search for the problems – Find out what kind of problems your potential employer is attempting to solve. Ideally, you should try and do some of this before the interview (with good research) if you can. However, it’s perfectly acceptable to ask the interviewer about the position and about the situation. Once you find out what they are attempting to solve by hiring you, then you can inform them how you can help them solve those problems.Build a rapport – Be friendly and listen. Listen well. Keep your ears peeled for anything which you and your interviewer have in common. For example, if you determine that he likes opera and you just saw “Cats”, then you might get into a discussion about it. Back off fast if you find it’s not a good subject – otherwise, be animated and happy about it. Why are you doing this? Because a huge part of the interview process is the interviewer is determining if you are someone he or she wants to work with. By having common likes (or dislikes) you make yourself more friendly to them. An example – Let’s say you are being interviewed for an accounting position. You got the reference from an interview a few days ago, and the person who referred you explained the last person left without notice, and they needed someone who could figure out the mess fast. The night before the interview, you check out the company on the internet and find out some basic facts (what it does, how many employees and so on). While waiting in the lobby, you talk to the receptionist and find out the person doing your interview likes movies, especially science fiction movies.When you get to the interview, you can use the information about movies and science fiction to relax your interviewer and get into some conversation. Now as the interviewer explains what the job is about and asks the usual questions, you can mention that you are very good at stepping into chaotic situations and organizing them. If you have past experience at this, you should mention it. Drop some facts about the company into the conversation as well to show you are informed and care. You might give some examples of how you got handed a project from someone who dropped the ball (but do not criticize anyone) and brought it to successful conclusion.Conclusions – Finding a new job can be a demanding, difficult task. You must treat it with the priority it deserves and get out there and hussle. Reading the want ads is the worst way to look for jobs – and personal contacts are the best way. Go on, put on your walking shoes and pound the pavement. There is no better way to find a job.