For my first official entry to Sweet Careers, I thought it would be fitting to talk about job search. When people talk about finding a job, they are often hard pressed to think of practical strategies that yield actual results. Mind you, everyone has an opinion about where you should look for a job, or what you should do with your life, but few people can offer any tried and true methods for making your job search effective.
That said, I thought it would be helpful to offer some practical advice on job searching. (This initial entry will also help me identify the key topics that I would like to write about in future entries):
- Using the Internet as your sole job search tool is only effective 1% of the time, so diversify your job search. Use multiple strategies, such as attending career fairs; letting friends, family, faculty, etc. know about your search; conducting targeted informational interviews and reading trade/industry journals.
- Network without ceasing! This doesn’t have to be an icky process. In fact, networking should just be a professional way to stay connected with colleagues in your field. (Stay tuned for an article about networking in the near future.)
- Identify a job target: select a field and a type of organization for which you would like to work. Try to be specific, even if you’re feeling desparate. If you are too vague, your job search won’t have enough focus and you’ll end up spreading yourself too thin. For example, if you’re interested in Human Services, you might decide that youth development organizations, community centers, and educational outreach organizations are of interest and might be likely to hire someone such as yourself.
- Identify a geographic location where you would like to work. If you’re willing to relocate, identify 4 or 5 cities where you’d be interested in living.
- Use a directory like the yellow pages to begin to find 4-5 organizations per location, per field or type of organization. For example, if you’re interested in human services in the Portland, OR area, you might use yp.yahoo.com to find the names of youth development organizations in that area, such as the Boys and Girls Club or the YMCA. What you’re doing is creating your Universe of Possibilities
- Once you’ve created your Universe of Possibilities, select 1 or 2 organizations to research further. Find out contact information, product/service provided, organization size, organization structure, mission.
- Set up an informational interview with both of the first two organizations you’ve just research. (Look for more about info interviewing in future entries)
- Send out prospecting letters to both organizations to ask that they consider you for positions should they become available.
- Follow up with both organization after a week’s time.
- Return to Step 6