Explore every avenue. Below are some ideas to help you widen out your search. Some of them will probably be pretty obvious to you, but there should be some new ideas for you as well:
- Local and national newspapers. This was traditionally the first port of call for many people but it’s just one route of many open today. The ‘Jobs’ pages are still worthwhile to include in your search but make sure you add to your list the (usually local) ‘free’ papers also.
Online job sites. This is now the first obvious port of call for almost every web user. You can often register your interest to be notified for certain job types and to receive email updates, but you should still browse their sites regularly.
- Trade press and magazines. If you have a particular trade or profession the jobs pages are another traditional source of information for you. Additionally, articles might well update you on which areas of your industry are most active presently.
- Job centres. The government run ‘Job Centre’ is another traditional path to tread, either physically to their office or metaphorically online to their site.
- Recruitment agencies. There are many agency-types to look at. Different agencies tend to focus on specific areas such as office work, the building trade, accountancy, managerial work, executive recruitment, etc. Some focus on temporary work, some on supplying people for permanent positions.
Now it’s time to branch out into the less traditional areas of job-searching. Unsurprisingly, some of them depend on being able to browse the internet, either for sources of jobs, or for research, but it’s vitally important to keep a foot in the real world too.
- Local town centre employers. Many of the retail chains, and even local bars and shops, post details of vacancies on their windows or notice boards. Even if they don’t, walk in and ask. What have you go to lose? Anyway, the staff often have useful background information or know of what else is around.
- Industrial estates. Walk around, note down the companies and check out their websites. See what they do and look to see if they list vacancies.
- Cold call companies. Get in touch with employers you like the look of. Ring up to find out who is the best person to speak to – get a name. Ring them if possible. Alternatively, write them a letter, explain your interest and enclose a one page summary of your working life to date. The bigger the organisation, the better this works, but it can work spectacularly well with small and mid-range organisations too.
- Ask at your existing place of work. If you’re looking to move up, or just to move, assess whether it’s possible (or desirable) with your present employer. If you intend to speak to someone, plan carefully beforehand. This also obviously works better with larger multi-site organisations.
- Network. Not many people like doing this, but up to 60% of jobs are filled without the vacancy ever being advertised or even announced. Employers very often prefer to take on people who are a known quantity or who have been vouched for by someone else, even if they don’t know much about them.
The simple fact that you’re referred through by someone who knows you’re not a violent drunken homophobic thief can sometimes be enough to tip the scales in your favour, even if other candidates are applying.
Talk to your family, your friends, your (ex) workmates, your distant acquaintances, the postman, the local garage attendant, the vet who just treated your cat, anyone in your address book, people you meet out and about, your friend’s friends, charity collectors, door to door salesmen, the people who ring up to try and sell you life insurance, the policeman who’s just pulled you over for speeding (after you’ve been booked, of course), Jehovah’s witnesses, the guy who’s come around to unblock your drains, shop assistants, lollipop ladies, people sitting near you on the train. You get the idea, but keep it short, sharp and interesting. Keep a note of how many people (and who) you spoke to each day.
- Social networking – i.e. doing the same thing, but online. Use anything you can find, but Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, etc. can be an extremely good way of getting the word out and meeting new people, one of whom might just be able to point you in the right direction at just the right time.
- A personal website. Not for everyone, but done well there’s the chance of someone stumbling across you via a search. It tends to depend upon your line of work but you can post up an online CV, the design can demonstrate your talents, you can provide a quick summary for people which links through to more depth for those interested. You may find suitable a service online for this.
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