Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Looking for a job?

Me, too. But I'm getting really, really good at it.

So I'm going to pass on a few tips.

I haven't had one of those stable, "paycheck-every-two-weeks" jobs for nearly a year. Tough for a single parent, but the knowledge that I've gained in that year has been priceless.

I'm lucky in that I have a pretty marketable skill - writing. Within a week of being downsized from my "normal" job, I was up and running with my own gig, Kennard Communications. Granted, running your own biz is tough. I think I spend more time looking for work than I do actually working - that's just the nature of the beast.

But what I've learned about job searching - whether it be for that next freelance job or working for someone else - I feel as if I should share. I hope it helps some of you out there looking for work.

Sign up to get job email alerts.
Honestly, I've had little luck with sites like Careerbuilder.com and Monster.com. Indeed.com will send you daily or weekly job alerts pulled from different job sites - and I've found it to be the most all-encompassing. Also look for sites directed toward your field. In my case, I subscribe to job alerts on places like Creativecircle.com and TalentZoo.com. You can post your resume on any of these sites, however, be prepared to get a lot of emails and phone calls for insurance sales on the big ones. If that's your thing, then you should have no problem finding a job.

Visit company websites.
Many jobs aren't found on the online job boards, and you'll find very little in the Sunday paper anymore. Go directly to the employment sections of company websites for comprehensive job listings.

Think outside the box.
OK, so maybe you won't be using that degree. Or maybe you don't have one. What CAN you do? I can write, but I'm also very organized, and have had a few jobs that had "coordinator" in the title. That puts me in the running for jobs like "administrative assistant" or "marketing coordinator". Or maybe it's going to take brushing up on a few new skills. I found that many of the marketing positions I have applied for have listed "design skills", so I went back to school and took some design courses. Now I at least have a working knowledge of these programs and can list them on my resume.

Consider doing your own thing.
Risky? Yes. But if you can't find gainful employment, it may get you through until you do, or you may find you have a knack for working for yourself. I'm redoing a resume for a teacher who was recently pink-slipped and scrambling to find a job. I suggested home tutoring. There's certainly a market for it out there, she can make her own hours and not have to worry about daycare for her small children. Is there a service you can provide? Are you creative? Technical? Good at planning and organizing? If so, why not try your hand at something you love and can make money from at the same time.

Network, network, network.
Most - albeit all - of the freelance jobs I have gotten have been via word of mouth. Yes, I have my website and blog that I direct people to, but my jobs are usually as a result of someone telling someone else about me and my work. That means getting out there and moving and shaking with the rest of them. I joined the Peoria Chamber of Commerce and attend their Business After Hours. I have a Facebook ad and advertise on TellPeoria.com. I have published articles out there with my name and contact info. I let it be known what I do and that I'm looking to do more, and I have found that people for the most part want to see others succeed and will help them do so if they can. I am so thankful for all of the referrals from friends, acquaintances, and people I have never met. And the more quality work I turn out, the more work I get.

Above all, never miss an opportunity to let people know you're looking. Strike up conversations and ask what others do. Mention what you're looking for. There always seems to be a guy, who knows a guy, who knows a guy...

And if that doesn't work, feel free to email me with any questions and I'll try to help you out. I'm thinking of adding "job coaching" to my list of marketable skills.

Happy hunting!

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