In the troubled landscape of the current economy and with the threat of a triple dip recession hanging over everyone’s heads, finding a job is no mean feat. Statistics vary as to the average number of applicants per role – the Total Jobs Barometer Report (Q3 2012) reports that there are 18 applicants for every job advertised, while the BBC reports that every graduate position receives 52 applicants. Either way, competition is undeniably fierce and job seekers have to widen the reach of their job search in order to be successful. Here are eight ways to do exactly that.
1. Drunken photos are not the only thing you should avoid on social media profiles
If you’ve been job hunting for more than a nanosecond, you’ll likely be fully signed up to the fact that your Facebook shouldn’t proudly display pictures of you at your drunken best. What you might find surprising is the little gem uncovered by the Jobvite 2012 Social Recruitment Survey: apparently more employers find poor spelling and grammar a turn-off than excessive drinking. While that’s no excuse to display photos of you suffering the effects of several cocktails, it is a good indicator that you should probably lose the LOLs, the WTFs, and any other snappy abbreviations you’re way too fond of using.
2. Make like a product and get yourself a QR Code
Just as using social media profiles has become an integral part of the job seeking arsenal, increasingly so too is the use of personal QR codes. Admittedly this tactic is most likely to hold favour with creative type companies, there’s nothing to say that it won’t take hold for other industries in the future. It’s super easy to generate your own QR code, so make like a product and go and get yourself one sharpish.
3. Think outside of the box
In an increasingly competitive world, you have to think outside of the proverbial box to stand out from the crowd. For those times when having your own QR code is just not creative enough, check out the fabulous efforts of Stacey Knupple and see if you can come up with your own unique way to say “Hire Me”.
4. If you can’t get paid, do it for free (for now)
It’s called volunteering! Let’s say that dream job is all but yours. If only you had experience in those one or two vital areas. Not only will volunteering give you the opportunity to learn the skills that might otherwise be lacking from your CV, you’ll also get a nice warm fuzzy feeling for your efforts. It may even lead to a permanent position.
5. It’s called job seeking for a reason
The key point about job seeking is that second word: “seeking”. You have to be pro-active and under no circumstances sit back and wait for the opportunities to come knocking – they very seldom do. Look out for new startups or small businesses. It’s unlikely that they’ll have cash to waste on expensive advertising and recruitment agencies, but they may well be able to squeeze a salary out of their budget once they realise how fabulous you are. Don’t be afraid to contact them. Go get ‘em tiger!
6. Become an expert in your field
While it’s true that the world and his dog purports to be a “guru”, it’s also true that not many of these so-called gurus actually are bona fide experts. Dare to be different and become an expert in your field (in the hope that you’ll become indispensable). You could try Tim Ferriss’ method of learning absolutely anything in record time (The 4-Hour Chef), but you’ll still have to let people know how clever you are. Why not start a blog and establish yourself as an expert? While you’re at it, let your readers know you’re looking for work. You never know who the next visitor to your blog might be.
7. Network like your life depends on it
Attend every networking event you think would be of value. Get yourself out there and connect with people. Networking events are not about passing your business card to everyone who comes within spitting distance. Rather they’re about showcasing your personal brand, so go prepared with an elevator pitch so you can let whomever you come into contact with know how hireable you are. In the same vein, get back in touch with former colleagues (LinkedIn is perfect for this) and see who’s doing what for whom, and more importantly do they need any help. It’s not what you know, right?
8. Don’t forget the traditional methods of job seeking
In today’s digital age, it’s all too easy to get carried away with the need to have impeccable social profiles and everything that goes along with them. While that should form a decent sized part of your job seeking strategy, it doesn’t mean you should forget about the more traditional methods of finding a job. Hit the job centre (you should have a head start on those who turn up in their PJs at least), check newspaper listings, and attend job fairs.
Author: Linda Forshaw is a Business Information Systems graduate from Lancaster University. The leading contributor to online university review site Degreejungle.com, she is a full time writer and blogger specializing in education, social media, and entrepreneurship. Contact her on Twitter @seelindaplay