You’ve lost your job – for whatever reason – and now you think of yourself as ‘out of work.’
Don’t get stuck in that mindset!
The truth is that you may be out of a paying job, but you’re not out of work (unless you’re retiring). Indeed, your work is just beginning…
Welcome to your new job:
You now have a new full-time job – to find a job. Your new title is Job Seeker, and your hours should be just like the hours you used to work at your former job.
The job search is hard and time-consuming. To be successful, it should be viewed as a job, and you should approach it like you would a project or problem incurred when you were employed.
Get up each day at the usual time. Put on clothes other than your pajamas or sweats. And get to work.
Spend time honing your resume:
Part of your work now consists of rewriting your resume for EVERY position you want to go after. Your resume, and cover letter if you use one, should be customized for the specific job you see posted that you wish to apply to.
Read the job qualifications and requirements thoroughly. You will see keywords and phrases used, and those words and phrases should be in the description. If you haven’t done the things listed in the job posting requirements section, then you’re not qualified for that role – move on to the next one.
One more thing: keep a running list of the jobs you’re applying for and which version of your resume you used, and be sure to save all the versions of your resume. After all, if you get invited in for an interview, you will need to bring a resume, and you want to make sure it matches the one you used to apply.
Seem like a lot of work?
Well, it is. It’s part of your new full-time job of job hunting. And you’ve now got plenty of time to do it; about 40 hours per week to be precise.
Research the hiring company and hiring manager:
Part of your new job should be research.
Instead of just applying online to every job you see that you’re interested in, do some research on the company. Learn who the hiring managers are within the department this position falls under. Log in to LinkedIn and do an advanced people search to find the name of the person who would most likely be the hiring manager, find out what email format that company uses (I’ll show you how below), and then email your customized resume to that person as well as applying online.
To figure out the email format a company uses, try this. First, find out what the company URL really is – don’t assume you know! For example, Kraft Foods is kraftfoodsgroup.com, and Undercover Recruiter is actually theundercoverrecruiter.com. Then do this search:
(email or contact) “@companyurl.com”
(e.g. Editor “@theundercoverrecruiter.com”)
Sometimes you may have to go through multiple search page results to see an email address. Find the email format and then you can send an email to anyone in that company whose name you know!
Like it or not, recruiters and human resources personnel are using LinkedIn as a primary candidate search tool. Your profile there should be as robust as your resume.
If your profile is missing information, part of your new job is to complete it and makes sure it represents you in a positive light, including the photo. And make sure you make it easy for a recruiter to contact you by including your email address in the Summary section of your profile.
If you don’t want to include your email, then you must be sure to check your LinkedIn inbox daily if not a few times each day.
Indeed.com is now the largest repository of job postings in the U.S. Get acquainted with it. Create an account (it’s free) and then set up an alert so you get a daily email listing newly posted jobs in your field. You can also create an account and then set up alerts on Monster.com and CareerBuilder.com.
Speed is important when applying for a job, so getting an alert when a new job is posted is very valuable.
Be quick to apply:
Why is speed in applying important? An average of 250 people apply for every job posting (I’ve seen it as high as 500), and hiring managers tend to review resumes in the order they were received. They may find 3 or 4 acceptable candidates from the first 50 who applied, meaning they might stop right there and not read the other 200 resumes.
You might be the perfect candidate, but they won’t know it!
Find out if there are professional associations or groups in your industry, join them and attend their events. Just joining won’t do you any good – you need to go out and meet people face to face. One of those meetings might uncover a job opening that hasn’t been advertised!
Sign up with staffing agencies:
It doesn’t cost you anything but time to sign up with a variety of staffing agencies and since you’ve got time on your hands, there’s no reason not to. Do some Googling to find local staffing firms, especially those who specialize in what you do. Call them to find out their process for registering, and visit their web sites frequently to see new job postings.
Don’t balk at working a temporary (contract) job, as those often lead to full-time employment offers.
Take a work break:
You’ll burn out if you spend every hour of every ‘work’ day focused on job hunting and networking. Instead, find a book to read, especially one that will give you additional knowledge in your job discipline. Take a class and learn something new and relevant to your career.
Just don’t view being unemployed as a vacation from work!
Do you have any other tips? Let us know in the comments below!
Author: Judi Wunderlich has been a leading recruiter for over 20 years. In 2009 she co-founded the WunderLand Group, a staffing and recruiting firm which focuses on contract and full time job opportunities in Marketing, Advertising, and Digital Design & Development. Connect with Judi on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+.