When it comes to looking for a new job, there’s no silver bullet or secret formula for getting the perfect job. However, there are many things that you can do to increase your chances of getting the right job for you. Let’s look at a couple easy things that you can do to push the odds in your favor.
Use your network. If you’ve been out in the “real world” for a while, there are likely many people that you know that can help you secure a job. These can be vague, such as someone telling you that they heard so and so is hiring, or it can be more concrete, like a friend telling you that his boss is looking for a replacement at a position that would be perfect for you and that he will recommend you for the job. Everyone you know is a part of your network, and using these resources can open up doors for you that you may never have even considered before.
Some people don’t feel comfortable going up to a friend or former co-worker and asking if they know of any jobs. That’s not what you should be doing here. Yes, you do need to know of particular opportunities, and your network can help you with this if you want, but the goal of the network should be to help you find the opportunities that no one else is seeing. For example, if you have a friend that is a consultant, they may know of opportunities at a firm they assist once in a while. If they tell you this, and you think you’re a good fit for it, ask them if they would be okay with using you as a referral. They might even volunteer to put in a good word for you. This automatically separates you from the other applicants as the people that will be making a decision on whether or not you will be hired have a testament to your work ethic and ability already, before they even meet you.
Join a professional group or charitable organization. This tip goes along with the first one. Joining a professional organization expands your network in a very specific direction—the industry where you want to be employed. If you want to work in the architectural industry, for example, being a member of the local Habitat for Humanity board shows can help you find an employer quickly because you will be surrounded by people that build things more frequently.
It also looks good on a resume, showing prospective employers that you have better credentials in your field of choice, further separating you from the competition. And, if you go with the Habitat for Humanity example, you now have volunteer work on your resume to add, which shows that you are not only dedicated to your field of interest, but that you are charitable, and able to go above and beyond the bare minimum when it comes to work.
This also expands your personal knowledge and utility. Working in a hands on setting with other professionals will put you more “in the know,” not only for job opportunities, but when it comes to technical knowledge about your job. Industries change, and if you are out of the market for any length of time, it’s likely that you might miss out on latest trends. Staying active in a group will help you to stay up to date with new developments in your industry of choice.