Maybe you are working in a job that is helping you make ends meet, but you know it won’t lead to a job in your field. You have a career goal. You know what direction you want to move in, but between working, attending classes and spending time with those you love, finding time for conducting a work search seems to get pushed to the back burner all the time.
What steps can you take to make sure that every moment you spend on your job search is a good use of your time?
1) Have your three essential documents ready – That means have good drafts made up of your resume, your cover letter and your reference page. This includes having shown each document to someone who you know will give you good feedback.
2) Spend some time deep thinking about what companies you would like to work for. Create a list. These companies may not have openings right now at this moment in time, but they will have openings in the future. Go to each companies career or jobs page and set alerts to be notified when new jobs are posted.
3) Begin researching these target companies, reaching out to people who work there. Don’t know anyone who works there? You may be pleasantly surprised. Use LinkedIn to help you find people who work for a company. Do searches in LinkedIn on the company AND on the college that you are attending or did attend. When you do searches on college Alumni, you can see where they are working.
4) Make it a point to have conversations with the people that work for the company that you want to work for. Ask for an informational interview. During the conversation find and notice things that you have in common with this person. Targeting a company and networking can result in opportunities. You could find out about a job opening before it is posted. You may even be referred by someone that you have been networking with. Referrals from individuals inside a company can boost your chances of getting an interview.
5) Learn all you can about networking. You don’t ever want to ask for a job (this person you are networking with does not have the power to hire generally), and you don’t want to feel like you are establishing a relationship just to get a job either. You are going to want to exchange information. Watch for an opportunity to provide information that will help this other person. Maybe you can introduce them to someone they want to meet, or maybe you share an article with them that you know they will be interested in. Watch also for opportunities to share your skills and abilities. If networking stresses you out, read more about the technique. There are tons of resources out there.
These 5 steps are good uses of your time. They will produce more results than throwing your resume and cover letter at job openings, and applying for everything that you see posted.