Searching for a job is easy, finding a job is more difficult. Finding the perfect job can be downright impossible. Here you’ll find 48 practical tips that can help you find and land the perfect job for you.
Let’s get started, before you can land that perfect job, you need to find the perfect job. Here are 23 tips that will help find the right job for you.
1. Go directly to large employers.
If you live in a small city with 2 or 3 large employers then you’re best chance of getting hired is with them. Usually they’ll hire directly so you’ll want to go to their front office with resume in hand. Likely the office will hand you an application and ask you to fill it out. Sometimes they HR manager will want to interview you on the spot, so be dressed and ready in case they want to interview you.
2. Visit large job websites.
Huge job sites like Monster.com and CareerBuilder.com have thousands if not millions of job openings. It is good to check out a few of these large job sites because some employers only list with certain sites. Many small businesses list with Monster because they advertise a lot. Many government organizations list jobs with CareerBuilder because they have account executives that help tailor the job posting for each job.
3. Visit niche websites.
If you’re a writer, you might find a good gig on CareerBuilder, but you’re likely to find a job on a site like FreelanceWriting.com. FW has a section for high paying jobs, low paying jobs and free jobs. Find the job you like and send an email to the poster. If you’re a web designer you might find some work on a forum like DigitalPoint or a site like eLance.com.
4. Search daily.
Some days you’ll find nothing. Other days you’ll find that one employer who is looking to hire someone as quickly as possible. Maybe they’re behind on a big job and if you apply that first day that the job opens, there is a chance they’ll hire you immediately. This is more likely to happen with a small employer who doesn’t know how much work they’ll have month to month.
5. Work your network.
If you’ve had a job before, you likely had coworkers. Those coworkers know people who might have a job for someone with your qualifications. You might also have professional contacts in related industries. Call those people and let them know you’re in the market for a job that they might have open.
6. Call your friends.
Friends, especially if they’re gainfully employed, know about openings in their company. Depending on the industry, they might even know of job openings in other companies. Friends can be a great resource for finding a job, but can also help you by getting you an initial meeting with the HR manager.
7. Call family members.
Like friends, family members can be a great source to find a job. Better than friends, your family has a vested interest in seeing your succeed. Family members make great references for your application, especially if whoever is in charge of hiring likes your family member.
8. Recruit Recruiters.
Many recruiters are hired to fill specific positions. If you’re a top performer in your industry then you might find a recruiter who wants to fill a position with someone like you. They only way you’ll ever find this out is to talk to recruiters, give them a resume and let them know the skills you have, the industry you’re looking to work in, and the amount of money you need to make.
9. Know when jobs open.
By utilizing the latest in technology, you’ll be the first to know when jobs get posted. To do this you can use RSS feeds and job alerts. Most job sites allow you to have job alerts emailed to you. The way this works is every time an employer posts a job that matches your criteria (location, pay scale, requirements, etc), the website emails you a link to that posting. You can then apply right away to get your resume in the hands of the employer as quickly as possible. I know from personal experience that when I’m looking to hire someone quickly, I usually hire one of the first 2 or 3 people who email me. I need someone yesterday and I’m not willing to wait. Many small businesses are the same way.
10. Read the local newspaper.
Many small businesses like to keep the money local. That means they don’t advertise in the USA Today or on Monster.com. Instead they call their contact at their local newspaper and have an ad placed. If you don’t subscribe to the local newspaper, you’re missing a lot of jobs that won’t be posted elsewhere.
11. Read local newspaper websites.
Local newspapers generally post a great majority of their content online. While reading the news may not interest you, finding the classifieds section should. Once you get to the classifieds make sure you are sorting by date. Many newspapers keep classifieds online forever and you don’t want to waste your time applying to jobs that closed 18 months ago.
12. Work for The Man.
While working for the government is usually looked down upon by those under 18 and Anarchists, working for the government definitely has it’s perks. You get regular pay raises, promotions usually come from within, and once you’re hired you’re in for life. Your job may not be ideal in the beginning but most government organizations have a job listing that goes out to all employees. Many of these jobs that come open are only available to current employees. Other listings you’ll have the inside track for since you know who is on the hiring committee. Government jobs can often be found on sites like CareerBuilder.com. Here is a listing for some government jobs.
13. Hire yourself.
Freelancers have amazing freedom, that’s because they work for themselves. My uncle works as a programmer for different banks around the world. He has lived all over the world, and works as he pleases. He also takes time off when he wants and has the freedom to do so. He also doesn’t usually have health insurance unless he pays for it out of pocket and if he wants to have any money during retirement he’ll have to save it himself. If you are diligent to do those things (not get sick, save for retirement) then starting your own business or becoming a freelancer could work wonderfully for you.
14. Magazine subscriptions.
Depending on your skill or trade, there is often an industry publication. Occasionally you’ll find job listings in the back of these magazines. The nice part about these jobs is that they’re usually hiring more than one person since the job is obviously not time sensitive.
15. Be willing to start low.
You may be qualified for a better position, but an entry level position will get your foot in the door. It will also put food on the table for a temporary time. During this stint at the bottom of the totem pole, you have the opportunity to show what you can do, and keep looking for a job at the same time. If you get promoted before finding a new position or the other way around, you still win.
To Whom It May Concern.
Using this generic phrase says two things. First, you don’t know who you’re addressing and secondly, you didn’t take the time or couldn’t figure out who the letter was to. On a third note it could also indicate that you’re sending these generic letters to a lot of potential employers. How do you think that looks for you?
17. Be Unique.
I’ll never forget the time that I interviewed a job shopper and he said, “You know that ad that is currently running on TV? It sucks.” While I was at first offended by his brash statement, I then realized that I thought the same thing before the commercial ran. Thankfully it was part of a free promotion the TV station gave me. I said, “Think you can do better? What would you have done differently?” He then explained why he thought the ad “sucked” and told me how he would have done it differently. I still use this guy for my marketing needs. In retrospect, the ad did suck and he was right on. Since then I have never met someone who had researched my company enough to know that my advertising wasn’t working, but also had a solution. Truly unique.
18. Do you currently hire people?
If you are currently in charge of hiring people, you likely have a file for resumes. In that file are people that you would hire but don’t have an open position. Sound familiar? Take a peek through that file, where did these people work, what jobs did they do? Anything that fits your skill set? If so, contact the HR manager directly (and discreetly) and explain that you’re looking to join
a better more progressive company.
19. Give the gift of FREE.
During an average month I’ll do about 10-20 hours of consulting work for local clients. In order to get your foot in the door with these clients, my favorite way is to offer them a hour or two of free work. If you don’t work by the hour, you can offer a free article, free design work, or give the client something of value that will get you in their door. Once you’re in the door, they know you and know how you work.
20. Call on behalf of yourself.
“Hi this is Tom Alexander calling and I’m looking to place a superb salesman in a position within your company. His name is Brandon Hopkins and he’s won numerous sales awards. Are you looking to hire someone with his qualifications?” If the answer is anything positive, “yes” or “maybe” then schedule yourself an interview. When you schedule this interview, make sure you set the tone and pace. Say, “Mr. Hopkins is available from 2-4 p.m. on Tuesday, does that work for you?” If he says, “No. I’ll be in a meeting until 4:15.” You can be flexible but will need to remind this guy that you’re in charge. Make sure you add the fact that you’ll need to check with Mr. Hopkins to see if he can clear his schedule. Return with a call the following day letting this guy know that your client (you), has cleared his schedule and you’ll see him at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday.
21. Can I buy you a cup of coffee?
This tip comes from David Perry at the Guerilla Job Hunting blog, and it’s a good one. David says, “Send them a coffee cup with a note in that says, â€œCan I buy you a cup of coffee?â€™ This works well on recruiters, sales people and marketing folks.”
This is a great idea that will definitely get you noticed. You’ll want to make sure that you’re targeting the right type of person with this gimmick. If you’re targeting someone in a financial institution or someone that works for the government, they most likely have rules against accepting “bribes” or “gifts” such as the one you’re offering. This would work great in the automotive industry where gifts are very typical. Thanks for the tip David!
22. Money Back Guarantee.
If you haven’t noticed, just about everything in the world comes with a “money back guarantee”. In most cases it’s a marketing strategy to lessen the worry of the customer. This principle can be applied to hiring you. If you’re looking for a job, or consultancy within a small company, one of their main concerns is likely to be money. If you have the time, offer them a money back guarantee in hiring you. Tell the manager/owner that you will work for free for one week with the express intention of proving what a valuable asset you will be to the company. During your week (or day) you’ll want to make sure that you are truly valuable and generate business.
23. Stay on their mind.
I do some work for a newspaper and one of the things I did when they were considering hiring my business was the following. The editor showed me a page in their newspaper and the colors were off slightly. I explained that I could handle that for him and he said he wanted to see if his people could probably handle it. I told him that I was available anytime and to give me a call.
Later that day I was reading through Entrepreneur magazine and saw the exact same thing I saw in his newspaper. I wrote down on a piece of paper, “It looks like you’re not the only one with color issues, check out page 38. Even publications with 100k subscribers have issues. Let me know when you want me to come in a fix your color problems.” I dropped it off with his secretary and got a call less than an hour later. He said, “I know my people can probably fix it, but I just want it done today.” There was nothing that had changed, except I was back on his mind, and now on his payroll.
Alright, now that you’ve found the perfect job, it’s time to land the job. Finding the job and being qualified is only half of the equation. For most positions there will be other equally qualified applicants, it’s time to stand out! Here are 25 tips that can help stand out from a million other qualified applicants.
24. Read a book.
An entire site couldn’t cover the plethora of job help books available. And lots of them will help you land your dream job. So go down the local library and start reading in the career section. Or, buy a great book for young professionals: Brazen Careerist: The New Rules for Success.
25. Brand yourself.
You are a commodity. You’re selling a package of skills, talents, and attributes to potential employers. To better market yourself, hone your personal brand. Create a unique and deliverable package that will appeal to your target employer. For help in this area, check out Dan Schawbel, the personal branding expert.
26. Stand up straight.
Literally. Employers don’t want to hire people who slump over. It says that you’re sloppy, don’t care about your image, and don’t pay attention to details. If you can’t stand up straight during your short interview, what should the employer expect if they hire you? Will you forget to shower in the morning? Bypass those questions by improving your posture.
27. Get a new resume.
If you’re using the same resume and still getting no jobs, get a new one. A great method is to trash the old one and start over. It helps to have a big list of resume tips. If you feel really lost, you can hire a resume writer.
28. Redesign your resume.
Perhaps your resume has perfect content. But maybe you’re presenting it in a bad way. Luckily for you, your resume just needs a face lift. And always be sure to avoid the 7 deadly sins of resume design.
29. Proofread everything.
Everyone can forgive occasional grammar errors. But if you can’t make your resume and cover letter close to perfect, what will your work be like? Employers don’t like slackers and corner-cutters, so be sure to proofread. Once you think everything is perfect, have someone else proofread it.
30. Send thank you notes.
Yes, it’s old fashioned. But you should do it anyway. Nobody is going to think you’re weird for hand writing a personal thank you note and mailing it. In fact, you’ll stand out to the employer as a considerate and detail-oriented candidate. You may be the only candidate who sends a thank you note, so you’re now a step ahead everyone else.
31. Shake hands well.
A firm handshake says that you are confident and strong. Whereas, a weak handshake can ruin your job prospects. Shaking hands well can get your interview off on the right foot, and it leaves a good impression in the employer’s mind. Be sure to read up on handshake tips.
32. Wash your car.
If there is a chance a potential employer will see your car, make sure it’s clean. You don’t want to show up to an interview in your best suit, but have an inch of dust caked on your car. Besides, the dust might rub off on your charcoal suit! So give your car a good bath before interviews to present a thoroughly professional image.
33. Build relationship with employers that blog.
34. Cut your hair.
While that look may have been with you since high school, it’s time to let it go. Cut the bleach out, get rid of your dreadlocks and lose the ponytail. This tip doesn’t apply if you’re looking for a job in a band. If you’re not a musician, cut your hair.
35. Dress Well.
Do you expect top employers to hire people who only wear t-shirts? Some companies may have relaxed dress codes on the job, but most employers expect interviewees to dress well. That doesn’t mean you have to wear a suit and tie, but at least wear nice pants and an ironed shirt. While you’re at it, make sure you match.
36. Be annoying.
Normally this is a, well less than desirable trait, but when looking for a job, it can help. You’ve heard it said that the squeaky wheel gets the grease and when you’re looking for a job, don’t be shy. I recently worked for a company that was looking to hire 3 sales people. 2 positions were filled and we were having a second round of interviews for 2 candidates that were both good matches. Instead of hiring either of the two qualified people, our HR manager hired a candidate that called him on a daily basis and stopped by the office on 3 consecutive days. This guy got the job even though there were two more qualified people. Persistence works.
37. Create your Elevator Pitch.
Small business marketers know that creating an elevator pitch can be one of the most effective marketing tools available. In business, this is generally a 30 second pitch about what your business is and why someone would want to do business with you. In job hunting, this short pitch tells who you are, skills and experience you have, and why someone would want to hire you. Generally you’d want to use this elevator pitch when an interviewer says, “Tell me about yourself.”
38. Know your strengths.
If you’ve been in jail more times than Pacman Jones, I would avoid discussing that with your potential employers. Instead, stick to your highlights. Also, you might want to avoid where you learned to make homemade weapons and where you got those tattoos. However, if you’ve played professional football, that might be a way to break the ice and find some common ground with the interviewer.
39. Beef up your resume.
In order for you to land that $200k+ CEO position you’ve been dreaming about, your part time job at McDonald’s isn’t going to cut it. Lying on your resume won’t either. The way around this is to sell yourself. There is no reason to list everything about yourself. Instead, list the items and experience that make you valuable. If you work for a non-profit organization on the weekends or volunteer at your church, list those. If you got fired from you last job for being late to work every day, forget about that as a reference.
40. Don’t just email your Microsoft Word formatted resume, include a PDF.
If you use a PC and your potential employer uses a Mac, there is a good chance that you’re .DOC you created in your antiquated version of Microsoft Word won’t be cross-compatible. Instead, export that .DOC as a .PDF as well and attach both to your email or online resume. PDF’s are compatible from Windows 98 to Mac OS9 and everything newer. Many browsers can even open PDF documents.
41. Toot your own horn.
This goes hand in hand with making your resume sell yourself. I would caution against telling your potential employer that your “greatest weakness” is that you either A) Lack any form of weakness B) Are always on time, “to a fault”. Those will definitely make your interviewers eyes roll. Instead go for something more sincere, but still sounds good. For example say, “I’m very family oriented and when my mother died I took a week off to be with my family.” Family people make great employees, and taking a week off to mourn the loss of a mother isn’t horrible. An interviewer will be able to relate.
42. Don’t get discouraged.
I know how hard it is to go to 10 interviews and not get hired, I’ve been there. The problem begins after about interview #3. After 3 interviews you begin doubting that #4-10 will be any different. After all, everyone in town has turned you down and this next guy will too. Unfortunately, your interviewer will be able to see the lack of self esteem you have and will feel the same way about you that you do, negatively. It is hard, but you must give 100% at every interview.
43. Bring your experience.
If you work in graphic design, fashion, writing or any other field that you create something, bring some of your work to the interview. When hiring potential web designers I always want to see a portfolio of their work. Once I see that work I know that they’re competent and can begin to weed out those without the social skills I’m looking for. If you don’t feel comfortable showing the work you did for a previous employer, then create your own content and use that as part of your resume.
44. Do you blog?
Blogging isn’t just for hipster teens angry at the world. Many companies have bloggers on staff full time that spread the good news about their company.
The blogosphere is full of stories about people blogging and landing a great job as a result. Matt Coddington provides a great recent example. He built a successful site, Net Business Blog, and then told prospective employers about it. This hands-on, proven experience showed his dream employer the skills they wanted. And he got the job.
Just look at these companies currently looking for bloggers.
Those are just the jobs I found by searching “blog” and “blogger“. If you were more creative you could find all kinds of other jobs that were available. And if you currently are a blogger then your blog is your best resume. Start your search here. Another great resource for finding blogger jobs is the ProBlogger Job Board.
45. Get an honest answer.
If you go in for an interview and it goes great and never hear back from the interviewer, what do you think? It’s odd of course that it goes so well and then nothing right? True and false. It’s true that you think the interview went well. It’s false that he thinks it went well. Instead of sitting around waiting for the phone to ring, pick it up and make a call. You can say something like, “Hi, I thought our interview went well and I wanted to see if you had made a decision regarding my application.” Let the interviewer talk, the more he/she talks the better. I would venture to say that most people don’t call after an interview so you’ll be on the short list of people who follow up. If he says anything positive like, “You have the qualifications,” or “You seem like you’d fit in around here,” then say, “Great, when do I start?” Then you have to do something important that I learned from years of sales experience, stop talking. You put the ball in their court, now it’s time to wait for their answer.
46. Smile, even if you don’t want to.
Before you left your house, you slammed your finger in the front door, then ran over your dog. That was before you hit the mail box and got a speeding ticket. Your day sucks, I get it. The interviewer, however, won’t get it. When he or she asks, “How’s it going?” With a big toothy grin (brush your teeth by the way), you’re going to say, “Great, how’s your day going?” As much as you want to say, “Not so good, I hit my dog, my finger, my mailbox, got a ticket and was still late.” Don’t do it. Save the complaining for someone who isn’t going to give you a job. You do have a friend you can talk to right?
47. Lose weight.
Interviewers don’t just look at your resume when thinking about hiring you. They also look at your physical appearance. This isn’t right, and to judge someone because they’re fat is illegal. However, it is true. Being overweight can hurt your job hunt, it’s not fair, but it’s true.
48. Fix your answering machine.
If you’re serious about getting the job of your dreams, make sure it reflects in your daily life. You’re new answering machine message should say something like, “You’ve reached Brandon Hopkins, if this is regarding a job opportunity please leave a message and I’ll return your call within 30 minutes.” This will encourage the caller to leave a message. Many times if an applicant can’t be reached the person doing the hiring will call the next person in line. Usually they have time devoted to getting someone into the position and want to take care of it as soon as possible, don’t miss that opportunity.