By Tracy Achen
Searching for jobs takes dedication and a willingness to move beyond your comfort zone. This involves doing more than just having alerts set up on a job search website.
You need to make contacts with people who know of available positions, be willing to approach managers and business owners, and dress to impress (because you never know when an opportunity will find you). You also need to make sure that you have a polished resume and cover letter on hand to give to a potential employer.
Once you have that done, then you can start searching for employment opportunities. Below are some great places to get your job search started.
There are websites that allow you to search online by demographic area and career category. Here are a few of the major sites you'll want to check out:
Many businesses will list job openings through these services to avoid the hassle of placing ads and having to set up interviews. And for some businesses, going through an employment agency is the only way you'll get hired. Employment agencies work to match your skills with job openings for various companies. It generally doesn't cost anything to get started because their fees are paid by the employer.
Businesses will look for workers with these services for the same reasons they use recruiting agencies. It may be that they only need help for a little while, but often these positions can increase your exposure within the company. Once your specific assignment expires, they may be willing to hire you for a different position. Doing temp work also allows you to experiment in a variety of fields. Some staffing agencies also place candidates in permanent positions if the company requests it.
Staffing services charge the employer for their services, so it doesn't cost anything to get started. You'll generally need to complete an application and go through a short interview so the agency can better match you with prospective employers. If you are looking for jobs in your area, it's best to use a local staffing service.
Ask friends, family, and neighbors if they know of any openings in your field of interest. This is a low-stress method of finding jobs that aren't advertised. Not only should you network with those in your circle, it's also a good idea to start attending events where you can network with other people. You never know when you'll get a tip about an unadvertised job opening.
Contact your city government, Federal employment agencies, community college, or public library for information on employment postings. You can also contact your state Department of Labor to access their resources and services. Some employers will also post jobs to their state’s job bank.
If there is specific work you want to do, actually go to the businesses where you would like to work and talk to the owner or manager about any positions that might be open. Be sure to leave your name, phone number, and resume even if they aren't currently looking for new employees. If a position becomes available that fits your skill set, the owner can just call you without having to go through the hassle of posting the job opening.
Job fairs are often hosted in large cities and on college campuses and it makes sense to attend the ones in your area when you're searching for employment. After all, this is a great opportunity to speak directly with a company representative.
It's wise to get prepared before attending a job fair. Be sure to have copies of your resume ready. You'll also want to dress professionally because this will be your first impression on potential employers. Always be professional and get business cards or contact information for any job prospects you're interested in. To find out when the next job fair will occur, contact your local Chamber of Commerce or nearby college.
If your field of expertise has a professional organization, be sure to join. When you participate in the organizations meetings and activities, it allows you to network with people who know about available positions. In addition, almost every occupation has its own trade journal and most have a section listing positions to be filled. Check to see if any are available at your local library.
Even though newspaper usage is declining, some companies still post job openings in the local papers. Scanning the local classified ads lets you know who is actively seeking employees. And, since some employers only advertise in the classifieds, your chances of getting hired are probably higher since most job searcher don't consider the classifieds.
You can also place an ad in the classifieds announcing your availability to work. If a potential employer spots your ad, they know that you are motivated and willing to work.
While finding career opportunities takes some effort, your time will be well spent in the long-run. And part of preparing for you job search also involves having a sparkling resume to highlight your best qualities.