ONE: It’s easier to find a job when you have a job.
Statistics prove this out, and I think it has a lot to do with our attitude more than anything else. When we’re on an interview and we already have a job, we’re more confident. We don’t really need the position. We’re interested in the position. I don’t mean arrogance, just that we’re not desperate to land the job. This also allows us to be objective about the job, and really consider whether or not this is what we want to be doing for forty hours each week.
TWO: Word of mouth is still the best way to find a job.
Statistics show (Bloomberg Business Week) that nearly 85% of positions are filled with some word-of-mouth help along the way. Maybe a contact mentioned a company that was hiring, or a friend forwarded a resume’, but somewhere in the hiring chain there was a contact. With my first job, my uncle had just come from a local Drug Store and said that they needed a cashier/stock boy. Off I went and got the job. With my second position, a friend mentioned that his cousin needed some time off and his boss was looking for a replacement. Again off I went and got the job. Then months later when the cousin returned to work, they kept me on. When we’re looking for a new position, we should always let people close to use know. They may already know of a position that’s open, or may hear something and can let us know. This adds to the number of people actually searching and increases our odds.
THREE: Do what you love…love what you do.
This adage is usually espoused by people who are doing something they love. I envy them. I have rarely been in a position where I would say that I “loved” it. Don’t we really go to work for the money? It might be hard to believe, but Human Resources professionals and hiring managers know that very few people work simply for the money. The truth is that people will stay in a position if they like at least two of the following three things: what they do, who they work for, and who they work with. Employers know that if an employee doesn’t like at least two of these, then they’re looking for another opportunity. Think about your current position. Do you like the people who you work with, the people who you work for, and do you like what you do?
FOUR: Always be open to that next opportunity.
We never know when a good opportunity will come along (just like we never know when our current position will vanish), so we should always be on the lookout. I had a boss who would interview twice a year with a large company just to stay sharp. He wasn’t interested in a new position. He just wanted to be sure he was ready. This required him to keep his resume’ up to date too, which is an area that many people overlook. In fact many people I’ve talked to about this don’t even have a resume’. If this is you, get started creating one today so that you’ll be ready when someone asks for it. And create a LinkedIn profile if you don’t have one.
FIVE: We’re all job hunters at one time or another.
Hopefully when we’re job hunting, it was our decision to look and it wasn’t forced on us. Sadly the opposite is often true. If I can offer some consolation, it would be that we have all had the experience of looking for a job. Most people can empathize with our situation and maybe that’s why word-of-mouth can often lead to that new position. Stay positive, and use every advantage including social media and job sites. Employers won’t be knocking on your door…you have to go to them.
Although I read many articles stating that employers can’t find people to fill their positions, I wonder at the data. I peruse multiple job opening web sites every day and I see many employers posting positions that require many years of soup-to-nuts experience. And very often the required experience isn’t related. Today I saw an opening for a software engineer with accounting experience…go figure. In a tight job market employers can afford to be “picky”, but very often the required experience can rule out many good applicants. I say we should apply if we have “most” of the qualifications…you never know. I have been on the hiring end many times, and it’s not easy finding good employees. Our job when we’re looking for a job, is to make it easier for them to hire us.