Smart Girls Know: How to Be a Job Huntress
Sometimes, you quit your job, pack up your stuff, and move across the country without so much as a whiff of a plan for your future. It happens.
If you’ve been following along, you know that this happened to me recently. Everyone and their grandmother chirped about how bad the job market is and how anyone who has a job should hold on to it for dear life, and I definitely listened. Then cheerfully typed my resignation letter and jumped in the U-Haul. I can’t say I regret the decisions I made, but I have found myself in the tough position of job hunting while craving (read: desperately requiring) a career change as well.
Odds are, you’re in the same boat, out on these rough seas, or you know someone who is. Let’s talk about a strategy…because man, do I need one.
Tip #1 – The Perfect Resume: There are tons of useful resources online for your job search. Start with polishing up your resume by looking at other people’s resumes within your field (or samples) online, and make sure that you keep it ONE PAGE unless you have a crazy amount of experience or you’re a doctor. Microsoft Word has templates that you can use for free, and Careerbuilder.com has a good section about resume writing. Same advice goes for Cover Letter writing.
Even if you aren’t looking for a creative position, take a look at this article just to get a new perspective on how to catch employers’ attention: 13 Insanely Cool Resumes That Landed Interviews at Google
Tip #2 – Professional E-Mail Address: Create a “professional” email address that is just your name. If you have a really common name, it might be taken already. Whatever you do, do not add other words to your name to make the domain accept it! Add some numbers, the year, your birthday, whatever – but don’t add “Princess” or “guy.” Use this email address on all of the sites you join and for all correspondence with potential employers. Trust me, if they get an email from “firstname.lastname@example.org”, they’ll go straight for the delete button.
Tip #3 – Harness the Power of the Internet: Post your beautiful resume on several job websites and sign up to receive alerts about new jobs available in your industries of choice. This is when you’ll be glad you have a separate email address!
- www.careerbuilder.com - mostly large corporations and recruiters
- www.monster.com - see above
- www.indeed.com - a comprehensive, user friendly site, great for small businesses and non-profits
- www.idealist.org – good for volunteering positions, non-profits and internships – NOT the best for a paying, full time job, but useful to get an idea of organizations you might be interested in looking in to working for
- www.linkedin.com – make sure you have an informational profile with a professional picture and link up to as many people as possible! (See Tip #4) LinkedIn also has a job board that can be useful.
- Your city’s job website – the virtual way of leafing through the classifieds with a red marker
- www.craigslist.org -with a careful, discerning eye, you’ll be able to peruse the job section in seconds flat, but there are definitely gems in there sometimes! If you’re looking for part time work (“anything, please!”) and you’ve got a talent, check out the “Gigs” section too.
Tip#4 – Network Your Face Off: This is perhaps the most important part of your job search. Have no shame, be bold, and contact everyone you know (or don’t really know that well) that might be able to help you. If one person has heard your name, knows your parents, worked where you worked once, has anything in common with you, they could easily be your key into the proverbial treasure chest of interviews. Send polite, well written emails or connect on LinkedIn and send a message stating what your goal is. Seeing as you are blatantly asking someone you may not know well for help, be very considerate of their time and be concise and succinct.
Are you in the middle of a job hunt? Did you recently land your dream job and have other great tips on how you did so? Please share your story in the comments and start the conversation!