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You Don’t Need A Time Machine To Find A New Job

September 24, 2011 Leave a comment

Still trying to find your next job in the classified section of the local newspaper? If so, then you probably fall into one of the following categories: a) You were stranded on an unchartered island for the past 10 years with a volleyball named Wilson, b) You’re rescinding all previous comments about computers being pure evil after seeing your neighbor’s new iMac, or c) You haven’t used social media platforms because you could care less what people are eating for breakfast and fear getting junk email from job search websites.

Given the technology of today, finding and applying for jobs should be quite simple. However, how to find solid job prospects without wasting time chasing random leads is the biggest hurdle for most job seekers. Many unemployed professionals spend 30 to 40 hours a week just looking for new job postings, which indicates that they don’t really know what they’re looking for and/or they lack discipline in their job search approach. I spent over a year actively seeking a dream job doing what I love (which came true this summer). During this time, I also coached 24 unemployed professionals on various aspects of job search effectiveness (21 of them landed a new position in less than eight weeks). The following summary provides a few ideas on how you can be more focused during your job search.

I. Determine Your Job Preferences

First, define one or two specific job titles/roles that match your level of education and experience. Next, identify one or two industries of which you have a strong interest. Finally, identify specific companies that you consider highly desirable places to work. Simple, right? Although it sounds easy, this process takes longer than most people anticipate. One helpful resource for this third step of the process is Glassdoor.com, a website that provides salary information, company reviews, information, CEO approval rating, competitors, etc. Another reference that can help you determine which company characteristics are important is Fortune 500’s list of the “Best Companies To Work For” (published annually). Finally, checkout the blog article section on the website PikesPeakASTD.org. The current President, Brenda Middle, just published an article about finding your strengths that may also help you prioritize your job preferences.

II. Search The Job Search Engines

With literally hundreds of job search engines to choose from, it’s very easy to become overwhelmed with the process. Discouraged too. I recommend sticking to three primary job search engines, as most of the postings are duplicated across many websites.

Job search engine Indeed.com is one of my favorites (apparent sister of SimplyHired.com, which has a different storefront but essentially the same content). This online resource compiles job postings from many sources enabling you to search listings from thousands of websites, job boards, newspapers, and career pages. You can customize your search query by industry, salary range, location, company, etc. Best of all, this website is FREE!

TheLadders.com is an excellent resource for professionals seeking jobs that pay $100,000 or more (note: not all of the listed postings are at that level of compensation). This resource also provides website extensions that are more specialized for particular industries, such SalesLadders.com, MarketingLadders.com, HRLadders.com, TechLadders.com, etc. Sign-up for a free basic account, or upgrade for around $15 to $35 per month to access detailed job descriptions. If you’re tight on cash, I suggest that you just go with a basic account. When you click on any job posting, it will immediately take you to the “upgrade now” page. However, you will see a map on the top left of the screen with the position name and (usually) company name. Free account users can then visit the company’s website to find and apply for that particular position. It takes time to go through these extra steps, but it’s a great way to find great job leads at no charge. Best of all, this website has a fantastic library of articles (such as “How To Write A Great Cover Letter”) that will help a job seeker be more effective in landing their next job.

The American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) connects professionals to various job openings within their industry at jobs.ASTD.org. Training professionals can sort results by title, state, ASTD member preferred, CPLP certified, and more. Joining a local chapter (such as Pikes Peak ASTD in Colorado Springs) can also generate local job opportunities through email notifications, new postings listed on their website, and/or networking opportunities.

III. Use Social Media Platforms

Are you “linked-in” to LinkedIn.com? If not, STOP and DO NOT PASS GO until you setup a free professional profile. Use the “Help Center” of the website if you need assistance. Even better, you can register to participate on a live training session via KevinKnebl.com for only about $50. Done? Great, let’s move on… LinkedIn has a variety of job postings, many of which are exclusive to this website. A recently added feature is the option to simply click “Apply”, instantly transferring your information directly to the hiring director, HR representative, or recruiter who originally posted the job. No online questionnaire, cover letter composition, or uploading of your current resume. It’s FAST and FREE.

One warning: As you get more familiar with LinkedIn, you may join various interest groups. Most group pages have a “Jobs” tab, which is essentially a list of links where anyone with a computer can post a new position based anywhere around the globe. I strongly suggest that you avoid searching for a new job here. Most people who post jobs on group pages do not create an informative subject line. Plus, there is no way to filter job titles, location, industry, or anything else for that matter. My advice? Stick with the job postings on the official jobs page of LinkedIn.

Another option that you may have heard about is Twitter.com. Although you probably don’t have a Twitter account (nor will you need one), this is an additional avenue to discover job postings real-time. Instead of going directly to this website, however, I recommend using Twitter job search sites such as TweetMyJobs.com, TwitJobSearch.com, and/or TwitterJobCast.com. The verdict is still out on the quality level of positions posted here. Thus, only spend extra time using this approach if you find these websites to be truly beneficial.

IV. Stalk The Corporate Websites

Remember when I suggested that you identify a few highly desirable companies? With a bit more research, you should be able to name at least 50 companies that relate to your short list. From visiting their websites and speaking with people who work there (through your brand new LinkedIn network), filter your list down to your top 20. Now bookmark the job search page of every one of these websites and check them regularly (with the same frequency that you check the others mentioned above). I’m amazed at how many job postings listed on corporate websites never show up on any of the search engines. This step is very important to ensuring success with the job search. You will discover many otherwise “hidden” jobs, leading to more first interviews.

V. Keeping Track

You don’t have to spend over 30 hours a week looking for your next job. However, you do need to institute a disciplined approach. Commit to reviewing job postings for two hours, at least twice a week. If you are a night owl, the best days are Monday and Thursday nights. Or, for the early risers, Tuesday and Friday mornings are generally best. Either way, the most important part of this process is that you are consistent. Great, you now have a plan. But how do you keep track of your job search efforts? A good old-fashioned Excel spreadsheet will do the trick. For the more computer literate professional, I recommend JibberJobber.com. Trust me and check it out.

The economy isn’t great at this moment, but there are thousands of job openings in every state. You can find a new job tomorrow without using a time machine by consistently applying a focused, disciplined approach. There are many career coaches out there if you need more professional direction and attention. If so, I recommend a coaching session with Don Strankowski at AscendCareers.net, author of “New Strategies for a New Job Market.” If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact me directly through the Pikes Peak Chapter of ASTD. Thank you!

To Your Success,

-Tom

Thomas Crouser, Jr.

VP Marketing/Social Media

Pikes Peak ASTD