When I’m looking for a new position or a new client I don’t hit the classified sections or Monster.com. I’m not thinking about what companies are hiring for and whether or not I’m the right fit for that position. I think about the companies I want to work for and the reasons why they need me on their teams. It’s a bold move, but sometimes reaching out to companies with a proposal on what you feel you can do to improve their current business strategy is a great way to get your foot in the door.
When I start my job search I start by thinking about who I am as a professional and go from there. Here are five ways of kick-starting your job hunt.
- Work On You!
What is my skill set? What do I do so well that it feels almost natural? What kind of experience do I have—not just professionally—but personally that could be an assets to somebody out there?
I ask myself: What do I want to do? Where do I want to work? Who do I want to work with? What companies do I already like? Who would be the most similar clients to the clients I’ve previously had success with?
I brainstormed on all of these questions and then started to piece together my resume—focusing on the skills I wanted to continue using and the things I wanted to put into practice.
2. Brand Yourself with a Website and a Great Resume
Once I’d completed my resume, I purchased a domain name. Never bought or built a website before? Don’t worry. You don’t have to be an expert to get your online presence going. You can use a service like GoDaddy.com to help get you going. Simply call their 24/7 support line: 480-505-8877 and let them know that you’re looking to purchase a domain name and a web hosting package.
The best domain name you can pick for yourself will be YourName.com. So for instance, my portfolio website is IlanaJacqueline.com. I use WordPress to build and manage my website, but there are plenty of other ways to build a quick website and your portfolio should be very simple and easy to read and click through.
You can copy and paste your resume directly onto a page on your website, or you can host it as an open google document (see mine here) that way you can share your direct resume in emails, on your website, and through social media.
Your website should have a few core sections including: the home page, an about page, a page with your experience/resume/and any pieces of past work that are hosted online and lastly a contact page where perspective employers can find you.
3. Use Your Network
Now that you’ve got your website and resume all set up—start sending out emails to your professional contacts. Make the message short, with no attachments—just a link to your website and resume where they can see your experience. In a few lines, sum up the kind of position you’re looking for. Ask them if they have any open opportunities or would know of any opportunities that would be the right fit for you.
- Keep it short and sweet
- Link out to your website and resume
- Give them an easy way to contact you
- Be professional, don’t use shorthand or curse
- Thank them for their time
- Send out a mass email (either send each separately or use BCC not CC!)
- Beg or tell them they owe you a favor
- Talk badly about your past clients or employers
- Message random email contacts who you don’t have a personal or professional relationship with
4. Interview Like a Pro
Job interviews can be a nightmare for many, but the best thing you can do is practice, practice, practice. The first thing you’ll want to do after scheduling an interview is to research the job description and the company. Write down any questions you have about the position. Take a look at the job responsibilities. Try to connect a past project or work experience to each bullet point. If you can give examples of how you’ve mastered these tasks in the past, you’ll be a step-ahead of the game.
Take a long read through the company’s website as well. When did they open their doors? What kind of services do they offer, who are their current clients? Google them and check to see if they’ve been in the news lately or if they’ve recently published any press releases. It’s good to show your interviewer that you’ve taken an interest in the company and are keeping up-to-date on their latest projects.
Prepare for the stupid questions. I’m sorry, but terrible HR people still exist. They’ll try to trip you up with some really irrelevant questions as well as questions whose only purpose seems to be to get you tongue-tied. So—prepare to answer things like “describe yourself in three words!”
Lastly, you’ll want to end the interview with an interview of your own. Here are some great questions to ask your interviewer when they give you the chance.
5. Follow Up
Immediately after the interview you should send a follow up email. In it, you should thank the interviewer for their time, let them know you appreciated learning more about the company and feel it would be a great fit for you. Let them know you’ll be available for any follow-up questions they might have and that you look forward to hearing from them about the position.
If there has been no response after five days, you should send a second, short email to the interviewer to check in, see if they were still considering candidates for the position or if the role had been filled. Thank them again for their time and consideration.