With record numbers of people seeking employment, competition is fierce for every job in every industry. Even if you have done your best to stand out from the crowd, over time the rejection and stress can make anyone feel like abandoning ship. If you are feeling stalled in your job search, a few simple steps could put the wind back in your sails.
"When I talk with students who are discouraged, the first question I ask is, 'What are you doing [to find work]?' Nine times out of ten they’re on the computer," says Chasity Trzop, director of career services at Brown Mackie College in Louisville. "The computer is a passive job search. You are one of a thousand online, with about a 10-percent chance of being considered for an interview if you have done nothing face-to-face with the company. You must get out and interact with people."
Treat your search like a job.
The longer you’ve been unemployed, the more likely you've gotten lax about keeping any sort of regular schedule. Getting more conscientious about planning the ‘daily chores’ of your job search will deliver better results and make it easier to transition to an employer's schedule when you finally do get hired.
Trzop reminds graduates that searching for a job is a job, and should be treated as such. A good rule of thumb is to do ten things each day in support of your job search. "Five of those things can be done online, like finding and applying for jobs, or writing emails to strengthen your career network," she says. "The other five things should be personal contact with people who may be able to help. Get out and meet with people face-to-face."
Join professional associations.
Students at Brown Mackie College learn early on in their academic program the importance of building a professional network. They are encouraged to join student clubs and professional associations in support of their major. The affiliations are helpful in securing an externship, and indispensable when searching for employment. Attending association functions puts you in front of people who may be hiring. "No one knows how wonderful you are if you're hiding behind your computer," Trzop says. "Go to events, and carry your resume with you."
Offer to work without pay.
Willingness to work without pay can go a long way toward finding a job. "Offer your service to someone in the field you want to enter. Ask if you can shadow him or her for a few days," she recommends. "Who wouldn't want free labor? It's no skin off your nose if they say no." Trzop has seen many students gain on-the-job experience this way. Several proved to be so valuable that the company created jobs for them.
Volunteer for community service.
Make productive use of your time. "Volunteer for any type of community service that interests you," Trzop suggests. It provides numerous benefits. It gets you out of the house and introduces you to new people. "You never know when you'll meet someone who may be hiring. The experience also looks great on a resume, and can fill gaps in employment."
Use the phone whenever possible.
Trzop reminds graduates how important it is to keep in touch. After meeting people in your industry, call them to solidify the relationship. Ask for information on which companies may be hiring. "Make excuses for calling," she says. "If your profession requires certification, call your contacts when it comes through."
Social websites aren't just for small talk. "More and more people are turning to social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn in their search for employment," says Trzop. "The websites make it easy to connect with others who share your interests."
Perhaps the most difficult thing for jobseekers, particularly those who've been out of work for a long time, is to remain optimistic, ignore the rejections, and keep looking for open doors. "Keep a positive attitude and do the legwork that will put you out in front of people," Trzop urges. "I tell our school's graduates, School is boot camp. Now go out and be a soldier."
Courtesy of ARAContent