How To Find A Job While Never Leaving Your Seat
Once upon a time, when terms like “Internet” and “lol” didn’t exist, people had to actually leave their homes in order to find a job. The streets were clogged with determined, desperate people, resumes clutched in hand, going from business to business, looking for work. Sometimes they consulted this dying animal called a “newspaper”, looking in the “Help Wanted” section for employment.
But now we’re living in the 21st century. It’s the Internet age; those savage dark days are behind us. Now you can actually find not just a job but a very good job, a career even, without ever leaving your chair. You can job hunt in your pajamas, or no clothes at all (if the latter’s the case, you might want to deactivate your webcam).
So how is this marvel achieved? Okay, before we go any further, we’re working under the assumption that you have a current resume and an Internet connection. Ready? Here goes.
The Dynamic Duo
No, not Batman and Robin. We’re talking here about two of the best job networking resources you can have at your fingertips: LinkedIn and Monster.com.
Monster is a place where employers and employees can potentially connect with each other over a posted job. It’s the site you go to in order to see who’s hiring. On the other hand, LinkedIn is first and foremost a site where you build connections, although they do have a Jobs section. The right connection may put your name at the front of the line and give you that competitive edge over fellow job seekers.
A little bit of icing on the LinkedIn cake is the concept of endorsements. This is where people go on record as giving you a shout-out for your skills and talents. Make sure that you get endorsements from past co-workers and bosses. This way, when a prospective employer looks at your resume and sees who you worked for, then reads a LinkedIn endorsement from a former boss at that same company, it strengthens your case.
Bear in mind that both of these sites have mobile apps as well, so you can take your job hunting on the road if for some reason you have to leave the house. That way, if you miss the good old days of pounding the pavement, you can pound away to your heart’s content.
Of course, Monster is not a can’t-fail proposition. One study shows that only 12.3% of recruiting is done on online job boards, as compared to 20.7% from the company’s own website. Sites like Monster shouldn’t be your whole strategy, but rather one of many elements.
Whether it’s Monster, LinkedIn, or any of the other career-oriented job sites, there’s one thing that you must absolutely, positively do. Create a complete profile (including a good photo), and make sure it’s public. If you don’t establish yourself as a “real person” right out the gate, then recruiters and HR folks are going to skip over you. Connections get you work, and people want to connect with other people, not faceless pieces of data. Create a complete profile, join any groups that are relevant to your vocation, and make sure you are linked to friends and associates.
The Online Resume
With your profile out of the way, it’s time to consider your resume. When you put your resume on Monster or LinkedIn, don’t simply cut and paste from your Word document or whatever. Sure, import the facts and such, but tweak and tailor it to appeal to an audience that is used to dealing with social media and online communication in general. A resume needs to appeal to the readers.
In other words, create more than one resume, each one suited to a particular job or career. For instance, you may be interested in working either in the marketing or editing field; so each position should have a dedicated resume that focuses on the skill set and experiences relevant to the particular position.
If you feel tempted to add stuff like hobbies, life goals, anything that would be considered “mushy” or personal, then don’t. Save that for those “get to know me better” places like the user profiles. Then you can mush away to your heart’s content. When it comes to your resume, you stick to the facts. The only exception to this is if your hobbies are actually related to your job; or to be fancy about it, your avocation and vocation match. If you’re looking for a job working in an IT department and your hobby is taking apart and rebuilding computers, then yes, by all means include it.
It may sound paradoxical, but the resume isn’t actually about you. The resume is about employers who are looking for the right component to solve their problem, and you are that component. Your resume should call out your usefulness as defined by what skills you bring with you, not the fact that you got “Employee of the Month” for four months in a row last year.
Pounding the Virtual Pavement
There’s always the direct approach. Figure out what sort of job you’re looking for, based on your experience and skill set, then visit the websites of companies in your area and check for open positions. Many company sites have a special section for “We’re hiring” or “Career Opportunities”. Granted, this may be a bit more time consuming and tedious, but there are those times when you have to go to the mountain, instead of waiting for the mountain to come to you.
Get Some “Likes”
Are you on Facebook? Of course you are. The entire world is on Facebook. Pets are. Old people are. Deceased individuals are. Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but odds are most people out there are signed up with a social media site. If not Facebook, then maybe it’s Google+, or a Twitter account.
Not only should you make sure you fill out your profiles, emphasizing your professional experience and skills, you should make sure to link to your resume. Oh, and if you have any unflattering pictures or content that may give prospective employers doubts about your value as a new hire, now would be a good time to take them down.
And while you’re at it, if you’re on several different social networks, make sure that all of your About or profile pages are sending a consistent message. They should reference each other, and don’t forget that link to your resume!
Blogging Your Way Into A Job
This idea is particularly effective if your blog has a respectable number of followers. Perhaps you can post a blog entry about your desire to find new employment, with a link to your resume embedded in the text. And while you’re at it, make sure your blog’s author profile has a resume link as well. After all, no one knows if you’re looking for a job unless you tell them, and your blog is a good way to get the word out there. After all, people who follow you apparently like you and you never can tell when one of those people may know someone who knows someone. And on that note…
Don’t Forget Your Friends
In your desire to find a new job, it’s easy to overlook a valuable resource like your friends. Social media again comes into play here. Pass the word via social media to everyone in your circles, groups, and friend lists. In fact, since many companies offer bounties for new hires, it may be a way for both you and your friend to benefit.
It’s All About Marketing
When you get right down to it, looking for a job online is your foray into Internet marketing, and the product you’re selling is yourself. Consider looking for a job online as an Internet ad campaign. Put your best foot forward, and you’ll get those leads you want. Happy hunting!
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