Beginning the career search process is very intimidating and causes much anxiety. Where do I begin? What companies should I investigate? How do I write a resume? What should I put in a cover letter? What do I want to do? How do I decide what career field best fits my skills and background? These are just some of the questions that enter the mind of the job searcher. As one currently in the job market, I want to share the most helpful advice I was given during my search. The best use of your time in the job search is to network with everyone you come in contact with!
Everyone you know should be aware of your situation. Inform your family and friends about your situation, why you are looking for employment, and what you are looking for. Be sure they know your background and skills. Reach out well beyond your family and friends. If you regularly attend church, share your need with your Sunday School class, Bible study, or even those you share a pew with. Let your employment need come up in conversations with other parents at your child’s school. Reach out to former co-workers, employers, and employees. The short of it: build your network!
The job market has become increasingly impersonal today. The majority of company career sites intentionally inform the job searcher that they will not accept resumes by mail or fax and phone calls are frowned upon as well. The only option for the would-be employee is to search the current job openings, complete an application, and wait for a phone call or e-mail. This doesn’t seem very productive or hopeful. This is the very reason networking is so important. The best way to get eyes on your resume and application is through someone in your network directing attention to your information!
Think through your network of contacts. Does someone you know work for a company you would like to work for? Ask that contact if they would be willing to hand-deliver a copy of your resume to one of the decision makers within the company. Immediately, your resume will advance to the top of the list of what could be hundreds of candidates. The issue in most companies is not necessarily that you are not the most qualified. Rather, you are just one of hundreds of possible candidates. The Human Resources department is not able to view every possible resume and application thoroughly.
The key to a successful career search is to network. Build your network daily and never stop networking!