9 Job Search Tips For The Beginner Or Seasoned Expert

There are far fewer jobs available than there are people looking for a job (new or to replace an existing job). Whether you are brand new to the job market or have held jobs but have found yourself looking for a new job (for whatever reason), it can be quite daunting with all of the sites out there. Here are 9 tips I have learned over time (many the hard way) that you may find useful in your job search.

1: Don't pay for recruiting services – this is (obviously) a personal opinion. I have paid for recruiting services in the past, and quite honestly, I haven't found one that has gotten me a job quicker because I'm paying for their services. For me, it was wasted money when money was already tight to begin with. Sure, the funds you pay for job search sites are tax deductible, but if you're out of a job it is wiser to use that money to pay for food or bills now, or wait to see a credit for it at the beginning of the next year? There are tons of free services out there to choose from, so many that it would make your head spin if I tried to list them all. Sure, if you really don't know how to write a resume or a cover letter, then you can employ the services of someone who will do it for you; although, I recommend learning how to write your resume and cover letter yourself.

2: Conduct a search to see where the jobs you are looking for are listed – this is especially true in specialty industries. Some industries have their own job listing sites, such as miners, and other industries tend to use certain sites more than others. Narrowing down which sites you want to use can help you focus where your attention should be.

3: Get on the most widely used sites first – most sites allow you to setup a profile with your resume, contact information, and types of positions you are looking for. Get these profiles setup ASAP so you can be searchable to recruiters as quickly as possible. A few that I recommend include: LinkedIn, Career Builder, Monster Jobs, Beyond.com, Ladders, and Opprtunity (that is spelled correctly). There are obviously tons more, but these are the one's I use the most when looking for a new career.

4: Don't forget about temp agencies – some temp agencies also have direct-hire positions, so registering with them can be useful to finding a new career. If you connect with a great recruiter, they will really be on the lookout for positions that fit your education and experience. Some temp agencies may require you to go to their offices for an informal interview where you may take a test on their computer (depending on the industry that you are looking at going into), and where you will likely speak with a recruiter to discuss exactly what you are looking for and how you are qualified for those types of positions.

5: Targeted job profiles – if you have found one (or multiple) companies that you would like to target for a position, go onto their site and see if you are able to create a profile that includes uploading your resume. Many companies offer this for potential candidates.

6: Track what you have applied to – I have a spreadsheet that I use when I'm looking for a new job that lists:

  • Date I applied
  • Company name
  • Position title
  • Area where job is
  • Listed wage range (if applicable)
  • Where I found the job ad and how I applied for the position (ie found on LinkedIn, applied on company website)
  • Which resume I sent (I have multiple resumes for different types of positions)
  • Any notes (ie requested LinkedIn connection with Jane Doe, recruiter; or, emailed John Doe in HR about the position)

These notes help me keep track of where I've applied, when I applied, and what happened. I have a separate tab in my spreadsheet for positions I have received a 'Thanks, but no thanks' email or one's I have respectfully turned down for whatever reason. Again, I add notes about what happened for my future reference if needed.

7: Track all login information – in the same spreadsheet I track where and what I have applied for, I also track all of the usernames and passwords. With the hundreds of sites, and with the different username and password requirements, it can (and usually is) completely impossible to track all of these without tracking them somewhere. I have 158 companies that I have usernames and passwords for … that's right 158! I couldn't track all of these if I wanted to!

** PLEASE NOTE: Do NOT use the same usernames or passwords – especially passwords – that you use for other personal accounts (ie bank accounts, emails, vehicle accounts, etc.). This can leave you extremely vulnerable to a hacker stealing your information.

8: Use apps when available – many of the job search sites now have apps for Droid and / or Apple products. Check the app store on your device to see if there is one available and download it (only if it's free to download!). These apps typically give you the ability to save, email, and sometimes apply for positions directly from the app. This is especially useful when you are waiting at the doctors, or aren't able to be in front of a computer. Just remember to go onto the site on your computer and apply for the jobs you have saved before they expire!

9: Don't waste time on overly complicated applications for a job you aren't sure you want anyway – this is something I learned the hard way. I've found job ads for positions that aren't exactly what I'm looking for and I click on them thinking, this could be a way to get my foot in the door, only to find an application site that won't import my resume and asks me to write essays to their questions (examples include: Why do you want to work at XYZ company? Or, what do you think makes you qualified for this position?). I'm guessing that the recruiters are thinking that if someone actually takes the time to fill out their application then they are worth taking a look at. As an applicant, I think it's ridiculous. There are exceptions, of course. Such as, high-level positions, positions that you really want and are really qualified for, or when it's a company that you really want to work for.

However you go about your job search, make sure you make good use of your valuable time. Yes, I said valuable time. Just because you aren't working, or are looking for a new job, does not mean that your time isn't valuable.

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