Whether you are a young person or someone with more life experience, there really is an art you should know about how to get a job. Perhaps you have been laid off recently and have bills piling up, or maybe you are new to the work force and really need to start saving up money for school, a house, a new car, etc. Here is a step by step action plan on how to get a job that anyone can follow.
How To Get A Job – Step 1
The first step in how to get a job may go without saying, but it needs to be repeated anyway. Don’t give up! So many people give up and leave the job hunt and this is something we hear about all the time. In fact, the federal government’s unemployment number doesn’t even include those who may have given up hope.
Although you may not be able to find something in your preferred field, you can definitely find work by following the right process.
I know it can be incredibly frustrating to send out resumes, make phone calls, and come up empty time after time. No doubt if you are reading this article you’ve contemplated giving up before.
If you consider it further, you really don’t have a viable alternative. Most likely you have some expenses that are unavoidable like gas for your car, food, rent, etc. and you will need work to pay for these. Unemployment can’t last forever, and you won’t truly be satisfied by living off of the charity of someone else or perhaps a government program. Every time you hear about thousands of job seekers giving up hope, turn that around and think of how much less competition you now face. You can do this, but you have to stick with it.
How To Get A Job – Step 2
After you’ve decided that giving up on your job search isn’t an option, it is time to network. Here is why it is critical to finding a job:
As many as 80% of jobs are never advertised, according to CBS News. That means you may be going about your job search all wrong. Many people think the answer to “how to get a job” is to get online and start blasting resumes on all the popular job sites. If you aren’t attaching cover letters and even checking to see if your qualifications and experience are a fit for that job, this probably won’t work. If this sounds like you, you need a new plan, pronto!
First of all, since this “strategy” is so simple, there are too many people that do it. This may tell you why such a high number of jobs are filled by companies that choose not to list it online. Who wants to waste untold hours going through a ton of resumes of people who have no business even applying. I wouldn’t want to do that either! So this takes us back to the importance of networking with your friends, family, and acquaintances.
No matter how you feel about networking, it is more important now than ever before. A company loves to hire from a referral of a current employee who they really trust and who already does a good job. Culture is a big part of a 21st century business, so the idea is that someone who is a friend of a well liked employee would probably fit in just fine around the office. Therefore, networking can be as simple as having conversations with friends and family. Often they’ll know of openings before they happen and more importantly can pass your resume onto the right person, which is huge!
If you are into social media like Linkedin and even Facebook you should use them as tools to keep up with others that you know. It is very simple to check out your “friends” or contact’s place of employment. Send them a quick message, even if it is someone you haven’t talked to in years, and see if they know any openings. Here is an example of what you could say:
How have you been? I hope all is well. I saw you are working at COMPANY NAME now – how do you like it? The reason I ask is because I am looking for a job and was curious if you knew of any openings. If so, please let me know and I may put in a resume if it is a good fit.
I appreciate it!
Not too difficult, right? Simple, honest and to the point. Have 300 Facebook friends? Why not send out 300 of these? Social networking is huge right now and you should really leverage it to make the most of your network of friends. This is a key step in how to get a job in today’s market.
How To Get A Job – Step 3
Pounding the pavement simply means to go old fashioned and get out and meet people face to face. Walk in local businesses with copies of your resume and see if they are hiring. If you don’t want to come right out and ask if they are hiring, start with some small talk about what they do. Many times you’ll meet interesting people and small business owners aren’t usually shy to talk about their company and what they do and WHY they do it. Ask good questions and listen actively. Then when appropriate, say something like “That’s awesome, I’d love to work at a place like this” and see how they react. You didn’t directly ask for a job, but you may be surprised when they respond with “well fill out an application…” Or “we are actually looking for someone to…” Or “well, we aren’t really hiring but stop by in 3 months and see…” These are all positives! In fact, they may not be hiring but that may make them think of some other place that is hiring. The key is to be friendly and personable from the beginning. Just be genuine.
Because this pavement pounding may seem a little strange or intimidating to many, that also means you have less competition. How many job seekers are serious enough to really do this? Most are okay with sitting home and clicking “send” on a job website. Set your apart is another key to how to find a job.
Job fairs can work, but look at how many people are there with similar qualifications as you looking at the same jobs. Compare that to walking into a local business, striking up a casual conversation, and asking if there is anything you could do to help. Really, there is no comparison. Once you spent time networking, get out there and start visiting small businesses in person. What is the downside? I would contend that there isn’t one. At the least you are expanding your network and getting to know the business influencers in your local community.
How To Get A Job – Step 4
If it seems as if you never get a response after sending in your resume, maybe it needs a visual overhaul. The next step in how to get a job is to get creative with your resume. Think about this from the perspective of the person we talked about earlier who looks at hundreds of resumes. If you used a Microsoft Word resume template, how many resumes that look exactly the same as yours do you think they’ve seen already? Exactly.
What about making a resume that is one of a kind? Do you think that would catch someone’s eye? This is simpler if you do some design on your own, but if not you may know someone that does. Why does a resume have to be a Word document? Check out this infographic resume designed by Hagan Blount. According to this post at St. Andrews University, a recruiter spends no more than 30 seconds reading your resume. This means you have to catch their eye immediately, if not sooner. Imagine if your resume was a graphically enhanced piece of work like we saw from Hagan Blount. Do you think a recruiter might spend a little more time looking at that than a Word template? Of course they would. They might call you just to see how you made that.
You may be thinking that you don’t know where to start or that you don’t have the time to do something like this. That is exactly the reason you should – because 99% of your competition will just stick to what is easiest – a boring Word template. That is good news for you. They say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. You need to be flexible and realize that somethings need to change in order to get the job done in the 21st century.
If you don’t want to go crazy original like the earlier example, then try a template where you can include a photo or mix up the fonts. There is some mixed data about using a photo and whether that is a plus or a minus, so I’d say that it generally depends on the recruiter.
A final thought about resumes: if you need someone to proofread your resume or even someone to come up with a unique document design for you, try Fiverr. I’ve used Fiverr for many random things, and the premise of the site is that people offer various services and everything cost $5. You can search “resume” and sort by the best rated, so you make sure you are finding things that others have reviewed positively. This is a quick and affordable way to get some help if you don’t know where to start.
One other great resource you should check out is Re.vu. Their tagline is “Don’t send a resume. Share your story.” This service lets you create an online landing page that you can link to which gives a visually appealing summary of your accomplishments. This is certainly something that can add an online wow factor for a prospective employer. It is free to sign up and can even pull in your data from Linked In if you’d like.
How To Get A Job – Step 5
The fifth step in how to get a job is simple to understand but maybe difficult to do. Stop making excuses and get to work. Start talking to people in your network today. That network is bigger than you think and easier to reach than it was 5 years ago. Hop on Facebook and Linkedin today and maybe just your email account to start sending out some feelers. Then, get out there and pound the pavement. Go meet small business owners and managers face to face to see what you can get rolling. Whether you get a job with them or not,this gets positive momentum and the law of attraction working in your favor. Ask if you can help, even if (gasp) it is unpaid work at first. Finally, get that resume updated and think outside the template. People will almost always say “send me a resume” and you want something that will catch their eye and make them want to meet you in person.
If you have anything to add to the discussion of how to get a job, please comment below.