Have you been laid off, or are you looking for a better job? No matter what the reason for your job search there are plenty of traditional–and not so traditional ways to find a new job. Read on for 101 of the hottest job tips in town:
1. Proofread your resume: Have some trusted friends read over your resume, and give you some feedback on your spelling and grammar, and even the content. Someone else may pick up some mistakes you missed–and an error on your resume can prevent you from getting that important first interview.
2. Look online for great resume samples: Need resume help? Search online for some free resources and you will find everything from templates to sample resumes you can use as a great starting point for your resume. You can also view resumes for free at: http://www.findajobalready.com/resumes/browse.
3. Make a list of your skills: Make a list at the things you are good at, and the things you enjoy doing. Chances are there is some crossover between the lists. Use these lists to help identify the types of jobs and industries you are most interested and suited to working for.
4. Hire a pro: If you are just totally stuck and unable to produce a great resume, consider hiring a professional to do it for you. The cost is minimal, and the results are worth it!
5. Create a DIY marketing package: When a company rolls out a new product, they make sure everything associated with it sends a strong message. Review your resume, cover letter–and even your envelopes and stamps to be sure they are sending the message you want.
6. Buy quality paper and envelopes: Invest in good quality, heavy weight resume paper–and don’t skimp on the envelopes! Spend a little extra to make your resume stand out from the crowd.
7. Send your resume via priority mail: Or use Fed Ex or UPS. Those brightly colored envelopes just scream “I am important! Open me first!”. You can send your resume in a flat rate priority mailer for about $4.00, a small price to pay for guaranteed attention.
8. Don’t try too hard to stand out: Having an attention getting resume and application is great–having a sparkly, over the top one is not. Hot pink stationery with bunnies on it will attract attention, but it won’t land you an executive position.
9. Include a cover letter with every resume you send out: You can make a simple template letter and modify it to suit your needs. Including a cover letter allows a little more of your personality to shine through, and gives you additional opportunities to sell yourself as the ideal person for the job in question.
10. Put a P.S. on your cover letter: Our marketing friends must be onto something–just about every good salesletter ends with a P.S. If any part of your letter gets read, it will be the postscript at the end.
11. Include a resume with every application: Even if a position requires you to fill out an application, attach your resume as well–it gives you a chance to stand out from the crowd, and present yourself in the best light possible.
12. Consider a video resume if you are in a technical field: A powerpoint presentation or short video of your skills sounds over the top–and for some jobs, it is. For others, a video resume may be just what you need to get your foot in the door.
13. Search online for opportunities: More than ever, companies are placing want ads on the web. Make sure you search by both area and job title, and repeat your search every day–doing so ensures you will be one of the first applicants when a new job appears. You can find over 100,000 open jobs at http://www.findajobalready.com/jobs/browse.
14. Customize your resume: Once you find a job you are interested in, take the time to customize your resume a bit to better match the job description. If you are applying for a managerial description, for example, make sure your resume reflects all of the management duties you have performed, and highlights your achievements in that area.
15. Consider working at home: Some employers allow you to work from your own home in a variety of capacities. A work at home job can be a great opportunity, but be very careful, there are a lot of scams out there you will need to avoid. True work at home jobs do exist, but you will need to seek them out…the “jobs” that show up in your inbox unsolicited are not the ones for you.
16. Search for a job using unconventional spellings and terms: If you are an engineer, search for “Engineer”, but also check out “Engeneer” and “Engineering”–either a misspelling or different phrasing can pop up different listings (not all employers can spell well!).
17. Be willing to drive a bit: If you currently work five minutes from home, consider expanding your search to the next town, or the closest large city. Driving a little further each day may be a good trade off for a higher paying position.
18. Focus your search: If you are looking for a job in a large field, try focusing your search a bit to eliminate results you can’t use. If you search “Sales” you will pull up plenty of jobs that won’t suit your needs if what you really need is “Pharmaceutical Sales”…and the jobs you do want may get buried in the massive amount of listings.
19. Use the newspaper: Use the classified listings in your local paper, and search online for other papers you may not receive. Most have an online classified section you can refer to, complete with a help wanted section.
20. Brainstorm to find other jobs you can do: If you are a teacher, apply for teaching jobs, but don’t overlook coaching, tutoring, and administrative jobs in the education system either.
21. Consider all of your skills: If you are great at selling cars, you may also be great at selling office equipment, medications, or business services. Don’t limit yourself to the field you are currently in if you have skills that can be applied elsewhere.
22. Use a “head hunter”: Job search firms aren’t just for top level executives anymore. Talented people of all levels are in demand, so register with a job service or tow. Just make sure the prospective employer is footing the bill.
23. Don’t fall for scams: There are a lot of unscrupulous people out there waiting to take advantage of the unwary. Make sure you don’t fall for any of the common scams–everything from “work at home” to “pay for a list of available jobs”. You shouldn’t have to pay to find a job, or a legitimate lead.
24. Post your resume online: Make sure your resume is available to employers for immediate download. After uploading your resume to a search engine, download it once yourself to see how it looks, and make sure it prints out the way you expect it to.
25. Use the right keywords in your resume: If you post your resume online, make sure it has keywords and phrases that are relevant to your ideal job and related to your field. The goal is to have your resume pop up at the top of the list when a potential employer searches for those keywords.
26. Write some articles about your field: If you can, do some writing for a trade journal or other organization. If you don’t know of any, write about your field for an online article site like ezinearticles.com. Doing so will help build your reputation, give you published credits to refer to on your resume, and help to establish you as an expert in your field.
27. Send your resume to a person: Instead of addressing your cover letter to a company, or worse to “whom it may concern”, take the time to find the name of the person actually doing the hiring, and send your resume to that person directly.
28. Play the numbers game to win: The more resumes you submit, and the more interviews you go on, the more likely you are to get the job you want. Send out more resumes than you think you need to, and accept any interview you are offered–if nothing else, an interview in person will be good practice, even if you end up declining the job.
29. Make sure your online profiles are accurate: Check networking sites like LinkedIn to be sure that the information there is accurate and up to date. Don’t have a networking profile yet? Take the time to make one. Web – savvy employers will check you out via Google and other outlets!
30. Behave yourself online: If you have a profile on a social site like Facebook or Myspace, make sure that you are presenting yourself in the best light possible. An employer may not be able to see your full posts…but they can see your profile picture and other personal tidbits, so make sure nothing you post will hurt your chances.
31. Use your blog or site as a platform: If you blog about something related to your work, make sure you include your blog on your application, if it establishes you as an expert in your field.
32. Create an online portfolio: Writers, artists, and other creative types can create an online portfolio or gallery of sorts to showcase their best work. Using an online portfolio allows prospective employers to see a variety of your samples, and get a real idea of the type of work you are capable of.
33. Put your friends and family to work: Let your friends and family know you are looking for a job–they might just have a friend, in – law, or business associate that is hiring, and a personal recommendation gives you an edge over any other applicants.
34. Know someone who is planning on leaving a great job? Get a jump on the competition by asking for a referral. If you know someone who is leaving a job due to relocation, the birth of a new baby, or any other reason, ask for a referral. You may be able to apply for their position before the company time to post the job opening!
35. Have a job already? It is easier to find a new job when you still have a job–even if it is a job you don’t like. Actually receiving a paycheck takes some of the pressure off of you. When you are not worried about your bills, you can take the time to concentrate on finding the right job for you.
36. Use any resources your former employer offers: If you have been laid off, your employer may offer some resources for your use, like resume help, retraining, or career counseling. Make sure you take advantage of any services they offer, as you may have to pay for these things on your own otherwise.
37. Apply for unemployment: If you are eligible to do so, apply for unemployment benefits right away. Even if you think you will land a new job immediately, you should apply, just in case. Most unemployment offices offer job placement and training help to job seekers in addition to the monetary benefits.
38. Treat your job search like a full time job: Out of work? If you are, you have plenty of time on your hands. Make finding the right job at the right salary your new fulltime hobby–and spend your time perfecting your resume, finding new places to submit applications, and researching potential employers.
39. Get out of bed and off the couch: It sounds crazy, but getting up each morning like you are going to work will help keep you productive–and help keep your job search on track. Vegging out in front of the television or binging on donuts at 11am is not going to land you the job you want!
40. Make a “to – do” list for each day: Writing down a firm plan for the day will help you be productive, and get things done. Decide on a target goal for each day, and cross each item off your list as you complete it. Having goals will keep you from wandering aimlessly, and keep your job hunt on track.
41. Make sure you are easy to contact: Make sure the phone number you put on your resume is one that you can either answer immediately, or one that has voicemail.
42. Create a professional sounding email address for your job search: Yourname@gmail.com is much better than a handle like “hotchick” or “beerdude” if an employer is trying to reach you via email.
43. Make sure your home phone and cell phone have voicemail: And make sure your outgoing message is professional and to the point.
44. Be old fashioned: Social media, twitter, and related technologies are great–but sometimes simply submitting your application and following up by phone is the best approach. Do your homework and find the job online, then go old school and mail in a hard copy resume–you will stand out as someone who took the time to do it right.
45. Apply for jobs that may not exist: Even if you don’t see a want ad or job posting, consider sending your resume to any company that hires workers in your field. You may get lucky and find an opening that simply hasn’t been advertised yet.
46. Apply at unconventional places: You may think your local hospital doesn’t have any jobs for you if you aren’t a doctor, nurse, or healthcare worker. You would be wrong! The truth is, a large organization like a hospital has a full staff of marketing, PR, computer, and administrative help that has nothing to do with caring for patients. The same is true for other large employers that may seem like they are not a good match for your skills.
47. Apply for jobs that are beneath your current level: If you are out of work, or desperate to make a change, consider applying for a job that is a small step down from your current position, as long as there is some improvement to your current situation. A new position that is closer to home; has fewer hours; or better benefits can make it worth taking a small cut in pay or title.
48. Apply for jobs that are above your current level: Don’t feel limited by most recent job you have had! If you see a job that would be a bit of a promotion for you, apply for it–you may be more ready than you think!
49. Apply for jobs that are listed as part time: A part time job can sometimes extend in to fulltime over time. If you secure a part time job, you will also be on hand to apply for any in – house job openings that come up as well.
50. Create an “elevator speech” about yourself: An elevator speech is a quick one or two sentence spiel about who you are and what you do. If you have one prepared in advance, you won’t stumble around the next time someone asks what you do for a living.
51. Use your social contacts to find work: If you are on one of the large social media sites, make sure you let everyone know you are looking for a job. Just like the people you know in real life, a friend of an online friend might have just the contact you need to find your next job.
52. Share your contacts with other job seekers: If you know others who are seeking work, share your resources. Unless you are seeking an identical job in an identical field, chances are they are not your competition anyway, and you will both expand your horizons if you share.
53. Target organizations you would like to work for: Do some research online and at the library, and target some companies you would like to work for. Visit their sites directly, and look for employment information–you may find jobs listed that don’t appear in search engine listings.
54. Think locally: While many large employers utilize the internet to find employees, most small businesses do not. Use your local paper to keep an eye out for jobs with businesses in your hometown.
55. Join your local business association: Join the Chamber of Commerce or any other local business group you can. The contacts you make here may be able to point you in the right direction for your next job–and you may hear of openings before they are even advertised in the paper.
56. Don’t overlook the government: The government is a huge employer, encompassing federal, state, and local jobs, and even civilian jobs with the military. You may be able to find a great job right in your own back yard.
57. Use your local resources: Even if you aren’t a college student, you may be able to use the college library to research jobs or even work on your resume. No college access? Use your local town library instead.
58. Go back to college: Check in with your alma matter to see if they offer any type of alumni job placement services–a surprising number of them do.
59. Belong to a church or house of worship? Let your fellow congregates know what you are looking for–they may know of a job opening, or be able to give you a personal referral.
60. Take some classes: Brush up your skills, especially if you have been in the same job for a long time. Taking a semester of night classes in the latest computer technologies, or getting a new certification may give you an edge over the competition.
61. Subscribe to your alumni newsletter: Many colleges offer an alumni newsletter or magazine, and they often have job listings with local companies looking for specific degrees or skills. If you don’t receive the publication, you won’t get these leads.
62. Join a professional trade organization: If your field has a trade group, make sure you become a member. Check the trade group’s website and newsletter for targeted job leads.
63. Become known as an expert in your field: Contribute to trade journals, speak at conferences, and post to relevant websites and blogs. The more people who know you and your work, the more chances you have to make a new contact when you are seeking a job.
64. Go to a job fair: Any time you see a job fair advertised, make sure you show up with resumes in hand, and ready to interview. You may be able to secure a position or a solid lead on the spot, and take a short cut through the job search process.
65. Do some research in to the hottest new fields: Find out what jobs are in the highest demand–and see if your skill set is a good match. If you apply for an in – demand position, you have a better chance of landing the job. Tip: Jobs related to teaching, computers, healthcare, and the elderly are in demand right now.
66. Make sure your certifications are up to date: Make sure all of your professional licenses and certifications are up to date, and be sure to list any relevant information on your resume. Potential employers may be looking for particular professional affiliations or achievements.
67. Keep a record: When you send out a resume or an application, make sure you keep a record of where you sent it, and to whom it was addressed. When you get a phone call for an interview, you will be able to refer back to your records and see exactly what resume and cover letter version you sent.
68. Follow up on your resume or application: When you send in a resume, make sure you follow up by phone in about a week. Sometimes a phone call can lead to a conversation–which can lead to an interview. Don’t feel comfortable calling on the phone? Send an email instead!
69. Brush up on your interview skills: Take the time to work on your interview skills before you are in front of a prospective employer. Even just thinking about some of the things you want to discuss will help you prepare. Even better–do some role playing with a helpful partner prior to your interview.
70. Turn the tables on your interviewer: You can be sure the person interviewing you will check you out online–and you should do the same for them. If you know the name of the person you are interviewing with, you can do a quick search to get a sense of what they are about.
71. Be confident: If you have had a string of “no responses” to your resumes–or worse, outright rejections, it is easy to lose confidence. Make sure you approach every application and interview as a new, fresh opportunity, and don’t be afraid to let your confidence and enthusiasm show.
72. Be prepared for some common questions: Interviewers seem to ask the same sort of questions, so be prepared for the most common ones. Queries like “Where do you see yourself in five years” or “What are your strengths and weaknesses” come up pretty often–so be prepared with great answers.
73. Be prepared when you answer the phone: If you have caller i.d., you will be able to tell when a potential employer is on the line. If you don’t, make sure you answer your phone in a professional manner, and be prepared to talk. The interview starts the second you pick up the phone, whether you realize it or not.
74. Turn the cell phone off: You don’t want to make a choice during the interview to either ignore an incessantly ringing phone, or pick it up and have a conversation…while you interviewer is waiting! Neither option presents a professional image.
75. Make a list–and check it twice: Just like Santa, make your list before your interview. Come up with a list of questions you would like to ask about the company–and be prepared to answer any questions they may have about your background.
76. Have a skeleton in your closet? Be prepared to talk about the 6 month gap in your resume, or the reason you left your last position. Being prepared in advance allows you to focus on the new skills you acquired as a result of your time off…and not the reason for your dismissal.
77. Be positive: Even if your last boss was an absolute ogre, say something nice. Even “It was a wonderful learning experience” will work. Prospective employers don’t want to hear how horrible your last job was–save that info for your friends and family to laugh over later.
78. Be truthful: Don’t claim to have degrees or experience you don’t. Getting caught in a fib can cause you to lose out on a great position–or to lose a job once you have been hired. Presenting your experiences in the best light possible is okay–outright lying is not.
79. Dress for success: Sound cliche? It is, but it works! Make sure you dress for the job you want to have. Even if you are not applying for a job in an office environment, make sure you have a professional and neat appearance. Presenting well can make the difference in whether or not you are hired–or even the salary you are offered.
80. Use professional language: Even if you feel a connection with your interviewer, don’t slip into slang, or use coarse language. You are still being evaluated by the person doing the interviewing, no matter how casual the environment–don’t let a slip of the tongue affect your chances of being hired.
81. Find a mentor: A mentor can not only help you navigate the professional waters with ease, he or she may be able to steer you in the right direction career – wise. Most mentors are established professionals, and have great contacts. If you don’t have a mentor now, start searching for one today!
82. Remember your interviewers’ names: It sound silly, but commit your interviewers’ names to memory–forgetting someone’s name is bad…calling them by the wrong name is worse!
83. Be nice to everyone you talk to: Be especially nice to the “gatekeepers”, those people whose job it is to protect the higher ups from unsolicited calls. They have the power to put your call through, or dump you in voicemail for eternity. The person you think of as “just a secretary” will probably be asked her opinion of you, so be nice on the phone and in person.
84. Be prepared for delays: Don’t schedule an interview just before a doctor’s appointment, jury duty call, or school car pool time. You will be too antsy to leave to be able to concentrate on the interview. Interviews before yours can run overtime–or yours could run long.
85. Show up on time: Better yet, show up early. Leave your house a bit before you need to, and make sure you arrive on time. Showing up late will not present you in the best light, or secure you the job you want!
86. Have a lunch interview? Brush up on your table manners–and pass on the alcohol, even if your host takes a drink. Order something that is easy to eat is a good idea as well–a job interview is not the best time for a messy burger and chili fries.
87. Have a second interview? If you did a great job on your first go – round, take the time to do some more in – depth research–the questions may be a little harder for this round.
88. Send a thank you note: After you have had an interview, follow up with a brief “thank you” note or email a few days later. Not many applicants do, and it will keep you at the front of the pack of applicants.
89. Expect more than one interview: Companies have many applicants to weed through, and you may need to interview with more than one person before securing a new position. Don’t be surprised if you need to meet with several people, on several different occasions before the offer comes in.
90. Offer real references–and check them in advance! Ask someone if they are willing to be a reference for you before adding them to your resume, and make sure they will represent you well. A reference that gives you a “so – so” review can really hurt your chances of getting that great new job!
91. Research pay rates for the job you want: Search online to get an idea what others in your field make. You should have an idea of what to expect, so you will know if an offer is a good one or not.
92. Read the materials you have been given: If you have been given things about the company benefits program, or other job details, read through them after the interview. A good benefits package can add thousands in value to your compensation package–and a poor one can cost you in the long run.
93. Labor Union: If you are in a skilled trade, and belong to a union, look to your local group for job support. You may be able to get advanced notice of job openings, and even get some apprenticeship or job training.
94. Waiting for the right offer? Consider freelancing while you wait. You will earn some extra money–and freelance jobs can easily convert to regular, fulltime positions!
95. Register with a temp agency. Temping may not be for you, but it will bring some money in–and it will expose you to a whole new set of potential fulltime employers, or allow you to gain experience in a new industry.
96. Teach what you know: Colleges often hire “adjunct professors”, people who are experts in their chosen fields, or who excel in a particular area. You do not need a teaching degree to work as an adjunct, and doing so can allow you to earn some extra money, and to increase your networking potential.
97. Look in to a “recession proof” job: Certain positions are not affected by a recession–teachers, security people and police officers, and legal support teams are in demand even during a recession, so one of these fields may be worth considering.
98. Look for “special interest” help: Are you a Veteran, or do you fall into a special interest category? If you do, there may be help available to you via your local employment commission or Veteran’s Affairs office. Be sure to check these avenues if you qualify.
99. Create your own job: Consider starting your own business, either consulting for your current field, or doing something entirely new. With your own business, the next time you use a job search engine you may be looking for employees of your own!
100. Consider a seasonal position: If you have lost your current job, you may be able to secure a seasonal position, which can bring in some income immediately, and allow you the time you need to find the right permanent position. Some seasonal jobs convert to fulltime positions as well, so keep your eyes open for year round openings with your seasonal employer.
101. Don’t give up: It may take a while to find the right job–but the perfect job for you is out there, and you will find it. Don’t get discouraged, and don’t stop trying to find the right position for you.