By Barbara Mitchell
Q: I’ve been looking for a new job for quite a while and seem to have hit a wall. Can you suggest ways for me to expand my search?
A: Let’s start with what not to do. Applying online to random job openings—even if you have every qualification they ask for—probably won’t produce the results you’re hoping for. Sure, you could be the one in 100 who gets an interview this way, but the odds are against you.
Sometimes it’s necessary to step out of your comfort zone and be more proactive about seeking job leads. Here are some ideas to explore that go beyond online job boards:
1. Network—a lot. If you absolutely hate talking to strangers, LinkedIn is the perfect resource for you. Find people on LinkedIn who work where you want to work and use mutual contacts to set up a virtual introduction. You’ll still need to do the online application, but if your LinkedIn reference sends a message to the hiring manager or recruiter to recommend you, you’ve got a much better chance of landing an interview.
Find people on LinkedIn who work where you want to work and use mutual contacts to set up a virtual introduction. If your LinkedIn reference sends a message to the hiring manager to recommend you, you’ve got a much better chance of landing an interview.
2. Be creative. Start by putting together a list of places you’d like to work and then think about how you can get those organizations to notice you. In addition to looking for LinkedIn connections, research what organizations people who work for that employer belong to and see if you can attend one of their events. Check the employer’s website for job openings—some organizations post vacancies on their own website before posting on a job site.
3. Volunteer for a charity or organization you support. Working side by side with people who care about the same things you do will expand your network. You never know who your fellow volunteers are connected to or how they might help you in your search. And, best of all, you’ll be doing something that feeds your soul.
4. Let everyone know you’re looking for a new job. Job leads sometimes come from unlikely sources. Don’t overlook family members or even people whom you regularly do business with, like your dry cleaner. It’s not unheard of to get a lead from any of these sources if you’re upfront about your ongoing job hunt.
Barbara Mitchell is a human resources and management consultant and author of The Big Book of HR, The Essential Workplace Conflict Handbook and the latest book, The Conflict Resolution Phrase Book. Do you have a question you’d like her to answer in “Ask the Expert”? Send it to [email protected].