Tips for Job Searching in the Digital Age

Most people know that I have been on the hunt for “just the right position” since the beginning of April. What I mean by that is simply that I refuse to settle for the sake of just needing a job. I have said since Day One of my lay off in March that I would strive to find a position that would take all of my skills and abilities to the next level, that I wouldn’t go backwards to accommodate for the need for making ends meet. While that last three months has been interesting and I have not received a fabulous job offer yet, I still hold true to that statement because I fully believe the right opportunity will come along.

So, I was recently asked the question, “How are you going about the search?” As I began to answer, I realized that much of what I was saying could easily fit into a blog post that might help others too.

The #1 Rule – Get out there! And I don’t mean start pounding the pavement either. That’s not to say that that isn’t an option. Rather, keep your knowledge, your expertise, in the forefront of the minds of your contacts, former colleagues, and potential new contacts. I combine this with social networking online and off.

What social networking has become has proven that it is a tool worth utilizing, especially for professionals looking for just that right position. I beefed up my own LinkedIn profile and began to use Twitter a whole lot more, even interfacing that with my Facebook profile which, by the way, is made up of not only friends and family but colleagues and contacts too. Of course, with Facebook, I have chosen the policy that I must personally know you BEFORE I will accept a “Friend Request”. Others choose not to do that and that’s fine as well. The important thing is if it’s the tool you’ve decided to use, then be sure you are using it for the benefit in which you intended. Another idea – start a blog on a topic that interests you and that might garner interest in you.

Then, there is the myriad of opportunities to socialize with some of those same people (or new ones) through networking events in your local community. Whether the event is for fun or for business, get out there and network! Do you Tweet? Find a local Tweetup happening in your area. Are you a member of a particular organization or association? Find out when their next gathering is and plan to attend. Chamber of Commerce events can also be lucrative. Some Chambers even allow you to attend up to 3 Chamber-sponsored events without having to pay Chamber dues (you may still have to pay an admission charge if there is one). Take advantage of that and network. OR if you are so inclined and adventurous, host an event on your own inviting your contacts, former colleagues, and any new folks you meet along the way. It doesn’t have to be HUGE. It can be a simple coffee hour at a local coffee shop. Make it social or make it informational…or both. Be creative and you never know what kind of ROI you can get!

And don’t forget to invest in some business cards too. Whether they contain general contact information for you or if they contain more specific information (Your own website or blog, company name/logo for your freelance business, etc.), always have cards with you because you never know when you will be asked that question, “Do you have a (business) card?”

Create a video profile. This is my next project. Rather than forwarding only my resume and a cover letter to a prospective employer, I’m going to put together a video profile explaining why I should be at least contacted for an interview. Why am I doing that instead of a “why I should be hired” type of profile? Simply because it’s easier to tailor a cover letter to a specific position than it is to re-shoot, edit, and produce a new video for each position. I figure if I structure my cover letter to fit the needs of the position but then send a video link as well suggesting the prospective employer to “Take a Look at Lisa Sullivan” (working title here), then that gives that person more food for thought. You think? I begin this project next week.

Search online. There are TONS of options with this one – Careerbuilder.com, Monster.com, plus any of your own local “help wanted” sites.

With the two most referenced sites (Careerbuilder and Monster), it’s a good idea to register with each, including uploading your resume (without all of your contact information) as well as a general cover letter explaining exactly the type of position you are looking for and why. You can customize each site as well with alerts for jobs in the categories you seek. However, you’ll also find that you might receive correspondence from potential employers that are just not in your category either (companies looking to hire sales professionals tend to contact just about anyone). Still, it’ll make your life so much easier if you register with both of those sites since your background experience and information will be readily available to you if you should find a position (or 2 or 3…) to apply for.

Probably one of my favorite sites to set up alerts with is the aggregator Indeed.com. With this site, I can tailor exactly what I’m looking for and how often I’m alerted to potential job opportunities. The best part – it aggregates from just about ANY online source (including Careerbuilder and Monster) and only for the categories you request. Sometimes a few job postings you are totally not interested in slip in there but so far, I’ve found many positions that I’ve applied for based on the alerts I’ve set up through Indeed.

Visit a recruiter. But, do your research first. Don’t set an appointment with just any recruitment firm. Find the one(s) that tailor to what you are looking for. Make phone calls inquiring what the firms specialize in. Then, once you’ve researched one or two firms that best represent the kind of position you are looking to obtain, make an appointment to visit them. Be prepared when you get there too. Have several copies of your resume (sometimes even variations of it) on hand, list of references, perhaps some samples of work you’ve done, nothing too elaborate but if you’ve written a couple of articles, choose one or you’ve written a few press releases in your day, choose one or if you’ve designed a knock-out brochure, bring it. You get the picture. It never hurts to have them readily available if asked!

Contact your contacts. In other words, go to your network of business contacts, colleagues, association members, etc. Some might actually be hiring while others might spread the word on your behalf. In this economy, humbling yourself and putting the feelers out there won’t hurt. In fact, you might be surprised at some of the bites you get…or perhaps the job you are offered because you put yourself out there.

Volunteer. Yeah, I know what you are thinking, “Volunteer? But who has time for that when time is money?!” I am by no means suggesting you go out and volunteer for eight hours a day unless you have the financial buffer (or a spouse with a REALLY GOOD job and who is supportive of you) that will allow you to take such liberties. Rather, find something you are passionate about or something in (or leading to) the industry you wish to be in and see if there are volunteer opportunities in those areas.

I recently suggested to a friend who is interested in pursuing a career in the art world that she should find a Docent program to volunteer in or offer her time and talents in a museum or gallery for a few hours a week. Number one, it will get her out there in her field of choice. Number two, she’d make new contacts through the museum or gallery itself OR the people who come to visit. Number three, it would just get her out of the house and doing something meaningful, which would lead to a happier soul, which would only lead to endless possibilities on that alone.

So, those are my suggestions for the job hunt. Now, granted, I still haven’t found my dream job yet…or “just the right position”…but as I said in the beginning of this post, I do not fear. My efforts will pay off eventually and before I know it, I will be soaring to new heights in the world in which I seek to soar in.

And for anyone out there reading this, that “world” would be public relations, new media, social media, marketing, a combination thereof. If you know of anyone looking to hire someone with my skill set and expertise, feel free to contact me at lsullivan (at) sulcompr(dot)com. Would love to learn more about them or for them to learn more about me!

In the meantime, do you have other ideas for finding just the right job, ideas that I may have missed? If you are out of work, what have you been doing for your job search and do you find that it’s working? Drop a comment here and you just might inspire another post!

Smiles,

Lisa πŸ™‚

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Comments
2 Responses to “Tips for Job Searching in the Digital Age”
  1. ICT says:

    Plan ahead before your job interview to establish confidence. Try to picture out the impression you want to make and how you want to be remembered.

    Transform Your Career And Live Your True Work Passion

  2. ICT says:

    Plan ahead before your job interview to establish confidence. Try to picture out the impression you want to make and how you want to be remembered.

    Transform Your Career And Live Your True Work Passion

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