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September 4, 2009
Job Search 101

Looking for a job is, in fact, a job – you just don’t earn a paycheck for your efforts yet.  But in this whacked out economy, where in the world do you begin?  As with most things in life you’re going to need a multi-pronged strategy.  If you haven’t been in the job-hunting market for the past couple years – brother, things have changed.  I’ll start with some basics here in my first article.

First, you need a personal website.  Attachments have gone the way of the Pony Express.  And I’m not just talking Creatives.  PR folks, Account Managers, Media Planners, Strategists.  If your writing samples are online along with your resume and bio, you will have a major leg up on your competition.  Employers want to see your personality now more than ever.  Included any diversified interests, hobbies, or activities here on your site rather than cramming them on to your resume.  It’s a great showcase for you the person, not you the Employee #13245.

Social networking: LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter are where you need to be.  If you’re like many others without a job now, put your free time to good use.  Create profiles (insure they’re “public”), and connect with everyone you’ve ever known.  More importantly, be prepared to participate.  Post links to interesting stories or videos, engage with others in as many conversations as possible, and then keep up with it.  Believe me, it’s nearly a fulltime job in itself but the payoff can really make up for it.  IMPORTANT NOTE:  Take the crazy pictures of weekend activities down unless you think they represent you-in-the-workplace well.  Most employers have hundreds of candidates now for every position, and any cause to eliminate someone and shrink the resume pile is taken into account.  You should also put links to your profiles on your email signature tag, website, and resume.

Blog: If you’ve got any decent level of writing skills, start blogging.  Do it even if it’s about how you show your dogs - it doesn’t have to be about your career although professionally-focused blogs are preferable.  Showcasing your new-media savvy and that you have a thinking brain in your head will only help your cause.

Traditional online resources: Job boards became mainstream back in the 90’s.  But what’s happened in recent years is an explosion of niche job boards, blogs, industry association websites, and job board aggregators.  My best advice to get started is to simply Google what type of industry job you’re seeking.  You will probably be amazed at the resources produced in the results.  Then, review the sites and determine which you think are most appropriate for you based on the job listings and the additional content presented.  You shouldn’t necessarily post your resume to any random site though.  Be selective about where this information is placed.  There is no hard-and-fast rule, just investigate and use your gut.  If the site looks reputable, provides unique and useful information, and has decently high Google rankings you are probably safe.

Traditional offline resources.  Should you work with a Recruiter?  Absolutely – if you can.  When budgets are tight, the assignments going to recruiting firms shrink significantly so the volume of opportunities you learn about from a Recruiter right now is probably going to be low.  But, they can be very valuable in providing information about trends, resources, and compensation so it’s usually a good idea to keep in contact with a few reputable professionals.  A great way to get a Recruiter to share the information they hold is to share some yourself.  Let them know about places your friends may have interviewed recently as well as offer to give referrals for assignments they are currently working on.  The quid-pro-quo will be worth it to both parties.  If you don’t have a list of Recruiters already, just ask a few colleagues.  You’ll gather plenty of phone #’s and email addresses quickly.  An important note for working with a Recruiter in any climate:  BE

This is a 101 version of how to get your job search started.  Next time, salary & title expectations will be discussed.  Please feel free to leave Comments below on any subject you would like to see in the future as well, or email amyh@talentzoo.com.

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Amy Hoover has been with Talent Zoo for more than 12 years. Considered an industry expert in employment practices and trends, she speaks often at events and is frequently interviewed by industry publications.

Amy was also widely read as the premier blogger on Hiring-Revolution for many years where she earned a reputation for wit, entertainment, information, and no bull. You can find her on Linked, friend her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter.
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