Job Hunting Tips
Out of Work? Volunteer!
These days no one is immune from sudden job loss. The position you once considered completely secure one day might be eliminated the next. If it happens to you, it is perfectly understandable and acceptable to take a little time off. Give yourself a chance to lick your wounds, brush up your résumé and possibly rethink your career path. After a week or two, though, it is time to start pounding the proverbial pavement. To land the next terrific job in the least amount of time, you must treat your job search as a full-time position.
Shoot for forty hours each week. Get up, shower and get dressed to the shoes every single weekday. This type of dedication will pay off in helping you find a job more quickly. It will also help you maintain a sense of purpose and stave off feelings of hopelessness. Besides, you never know whom you might run into at the mailbox or corner store and making a good first impression is crucial.
Begin by creating a schedule. Use your Outlook or Google calendar, your day planner, or simply a small notepad. At the beginning of the week, whether that is Sunday afternoon or early Monday morning for you, browse the help wanted ads and online job listings. Make three columns on a sheet of paper when reading the classifieds. In the first column, note ads with phone numbers to call. In the second column, enter those with walk-in addresses. In the third column, list employers requesting mailed or emailed résumés.
Make optimal use of business hours. First thing Monday morning, begin calling those in Column 1. If you are unable to speak to the hiring manager at that time, leave a message, adding politely that you will call again later. When you have made all of the calls, head to the employers listed in Column 2. After applying for these, head home and call back those you were unable to reach in the morning. Send off résumés to the employers in Column 3 at the end of the day.
Networking is considered the best way to land a new job. Spend an ample amount of your forty hours each week doing so. Make a list of everyone who would be able to put a face to your name over the phone. Along with family and friends, list people from church, your child's school, former jobs, and so on. Call the first person on the list and relay your situation. Ask each contact if there are any openings where they work, as well as if they know of someone else you might call. Make sure they know how to reach you if they hear about something later. Take copious notes and graciously thank each contact, whether or not they provided any new information.
Follow up with employers you called, visited or emailed at the end of each week. Ask outright if you might schedule an interview. With the current number of candidates all vying for a limited number of jobs, your résumé may not be prominent. A courteous phone call stating your deep interest in a position might be the key that gets your foot in the door.
If you are taking all of these steps but still have some of those forty hours to spare, don't zone out in front of the TV. Instead, take a class that will boost your employability. Check your community college's schedule or contact local high schools to ask about classes in topics like computer software programs, business management or accounting.
Another great way to spend this time is performing volunteer work. Helping others will allow you to forget your own troubles for a while. Volunteering looks good on your résumé, and it just might connect you with someone who knows of a job that is perfect for you.
Finally, make sure you document any costs incurred during your job search. Be certain to retain receipts and break down expenses, such as mileage driven and cell phone minutes used. Depending on your circumstances, these costs may very well be tax-deductible.
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