Need some fresh ideas for landing a job? Add these strategies into your mix of job search activities to meet new people, find potential employers and get hired.
1. Go around the gatekeeper.
If you find an open position through a job board or company website, don't only submit your résumé to human resources -- they're usually gatekeepers who don't have much control over who ends up getting hired. Instead, go around the gatekeeper and do some Internet research to find the hiring manager or other decision-maker and market your candidacy directly to them rather than being one of the "sheep" using the job boards.
2. Cybersleuth your way to decision-makers.
Perform keyword searches for companies, job title, etc. on Google and LinkedIn to see if you can find someone in your network connected to the company you want to get into or to request an introduction. And use the Company Buzz feature on LinkedIn to track who is talking about that company. Or check out Jigsaw to source company contact information including phone numbers and email addresses for a nominal feel. (See also: Seven Sensational LinkedIn Tips to Help You Find a Job.)
3. Become a stalker (sort of).
Once you find people who are connected to the industries and companies you are interested in, do some research to find out more about them. Do they belong to certain professional associations or the local golf club or do they attend events for certain charities? Perhaps you should be in those professional and social circles too ... and maybe you could "serendipitously" meet them at an event.
4. Tweet your stuff.
Twitter is not about telling everyone what you had for lunch. It is about creating authentic and consistent messaging about who you are and what you know. Set up a profile (it's easy and free) and start "tweeting" about things related to your professional expertise. Share links to articles that are relevant for the types of people you are trying to attract and give shout outs to others by "re-tweeting" information from them that you think others could benefit from. Use Twitter Search to find other people with common interests and professions that you should be following.
5. Research industries and job functions that are trending up.
Check out the Occupational Outlook Handbook to learn more about industries and jobs predicted to experience growth over the next decade. For example, last year, four major industries had more job growth than the previous year. Education grew 38 percent, hospitality grew 20 percent, retail grew 17percent, and real estate grew 4percent. The 10 fastest-growing opportunities of 2009 were in technology positions for applications such as Twitter, Cloud Computing, iPhone, Facebook. Other positions trending upward were corporate social responsibility expert, blogger, pediatrician, hospitalist, social media expert, and speech language pathologist. Sites such as CareerBuilder and Payscale are also excellent resources for tracking trending industries and job functions. (See also: 10 Industries to Watch.)
6. Recognize that the new green movement is kind of old.
Greentech, Cleantech, and Smart Grid technology are also industries that are trending up, but keep in mind that many traditional industries and job functions are also embracing the green movement and this will facilitate job growth. For example, more and more hotels seek consultants to help them figure out how to make their hotels more eco-friendly, and many companies are consciously measuring their carbon footprint and trying to figure out ways to waste less and recycle more. In addition, the President's stimulus plan will result in 5 million new green jobs.
7. Think about jobs that can't be outsourced.
Many health care-related jobs including dental assistant, ultrasound technician, paramedic, home care aide, and nurse cannot be outsourced. You may not be trained for one of these careers, but you can certainly try to make inroads with the organizations that employ these professionals -- hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, hospice care, etc. -- as a way to get a foothold in an industry that appears to be at less risk for being outsourced.
8. Ponder what types of business problems need to be solved.
The financial crisis might have resulted in several lost jobs; but with that comes the opportunity for something new. Expect to see organizations creating greater measures for compliance and stricter auditing procedures, and stricter government control. Does your skill set support any of these needs?
9. Channel your inner Uncle Sam.
One of the fastest-growing sectors is the federal sector. It is the only sector that will continue to fill jobs regardless of economic conditions. President Obama plans to expand the number of civilians in the executive branch by 140,000 to reach a total of 2 million. That's the highest this number has been since Bill Clinton took office in 1992. In addition, more than 40 percent of the 1.5 million federal employees will retire in the next five years and the government will need some new blood! (See also: Why You Should Consider a Job With the Federal Government.)
10. Party on.
Are there certain watering holes in your town where people from certain companies hang out on a Thursday night? Frequent the same places, do a bit of eavesdropping and try to introduce yourself in a fun and non-threatening way. If you can somehow become part of their inner circle, you may be able to connect with someone willing to share internal job leads and information on company movement.
11. Buddy up.
Attend networking events with a colleague or fellow job seeker and create a strategy for how to "work the room" separately for optimal results. At the end of the event, share information and compare notes ... it's like getting two networking meetings for the price of one.
12. Don't diss the library.
The Internet is great for company research, but don't overlook the library. Hoovers, Edgars, association directories, and yes, even the local yellow pages are great sources of information on companies that can be found at your library. Speak to the librarian about the type of information you are looking for.
13. Chat it up.
Everywhere. At the line on the bank, the bus, at the gym, at your kids' soccer games. You never know whom the person you are talking to is connected to. (See also: How A Cab Ride Got Him His Job.)
14. Share the love.
Volunteer in professional associations, community projects, and causes you are passionate about. By volunteering you build trust with others and credibility as a person who can get things done. People are more likely to recommend and refer people they know and trust when paid employment opportunities arise. (See also: How Volunteering Landed Me a Job.)
15. Be part of the conversation.
Find blogs on topics relevant to your industry and profession and contribute to the conversation. Or if you really enjoy writing, start your own blog and create your own following.
16. Throw a party.
Bringing friends together can help keep you top of mind and facilitate conversations about who knows who, and whom you may be able to get a meeting with.
17. Get some PR.
People have been hired after having their job search stories profiled on TV and in print and online. It's not as hard as it sounds. Sign up with a media leads site like HARO (Help a Reporter Out) and you may get on a journalist's radar. Job search continues to be a hot topic and your story might just catch the eye of someone who is hiring.
18. Go on vacation.
Really. It doesn't have to be an exotic or expensive vacation. The point is to put yourself in a situation where you meet new people. And doing so generates new conversations. Cruises are a great option because many activities are done in a group. But if you are a landlubber, a weekend trip to a bed and breakfast or a yoga retreat will work as well.
19. Get a hobby.
People tend to build affinity with people they share interests with. Book clubs, wine tastings, and knitting clubs can all be great vehicles for creating and extending relationships and creating opportunities to move the conversation past the topic of the hobby into the realm of other topics including your job search. Support groups such as Weight Watchers are another great example of affinity groups where the bond is strong and people tend to help people in other aspects of their life.
20. Go back in time.
Some of the strongest affinities may very well be with people you grew up with and went to school with. Social media platforms such as Classmates and Facebook have made it easier (and less awkward) to reconnect with friends from the past. And old friends are often willing and eager to help by sharing information and even possibly give job leads.