For tips on planning and preparing for your job search, check out these comprehensive sites. You can find examples and advice on resumes, cover letters, salary negotiation, interviewing, networking, etc.
An efficient job search doesn't use a shotgun approach, blasting out resumes to companies that you don't know and that don't know you. You should put together a list of your top ten organizations that you would love to work for.
Researching the culture, history and stats for a company is essential. You’ve got to go beyond their websites, (which I assume you’ve perused thoroughly). Informational interviews at your target companies are invaluable. But first, explore the companies you are interested in, or find some, at these sites:
Here are some other places to find companies that, after doing a little more research, you may want to add to your Top Ten list:
Inc. Magazine’s Fastest Growing Companies in 2010
Fortune Magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For in 2011
Business Insider’s 25 Best Companies to Work For
Your local Business Journal’s Book of Lists
In order to line up your target companies, you need to talk to people. Through your current network, find people who work in these companies and ask for fifteen minutes of their time to pick their brains about what it’s like to work there. Don’t ask for a job. Network! Networking effectively is an essential skill for your career whether you have a job or not. It’s all about developing and maintaining relationships – finding out how you can help others and bring value to their lives.
Most people naturally want to help others. But if you exude an air of desperation or an attitude of entitlement or arrogance, people will be turned off. Request just fifteen minutes for an informational interview, and use that time to ask about them and their careers. Enjoy meeting a new colleague, send thank you’s, and keep in touch.
Face-to-face networking still has the highest impact. But you can network on-line too. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date and join some LinkedIn groups. Recruiters often use LinkedIn, and you can use it to make contacts-ideally at your Top Ten Organizations - through your LinkedIn connections.
Check out Twitter and Facebook, just make sure that all your on-line presences are aligned, showing the same you to the public. And make sure that anything you post anywhere is up to front-page standards: that is, no typos, with your best face forward for anyone to see.
For tips on using social media: www.socialmediaexaminer.com
You should be spending most of your job search time researching your Top Ten Organizations and building your relationships, not only within those companies, but in general. Everybody you know should know exactly what you are looking for so they can give you appropriate tips. That’s what an “elevator speech” is for, although I detest that phrase. You should be actively involved with your professional association – volunteering, not just showing up for a meeting now and then.
You’ve still got to find a job so might as well continue to look at those job sites. Here are the ones the career coaches recommend - pick 2 or 3 and stick with those, otherwise it’s just too overwhelming and you fall into the trap of over-reliance on these sites instead of focusing on your top-ten-company targeting and relationship-building strategies.
www.linkup.com - Not to be confused with Linked In
And to target recruiters: www.myresumeagent.com
For the inside scoop on recruiters, see www.ere.net.
When it comes time to negotiate, be sure to make a list of your requirements, and then your “nice-to-haves”. Know what to trade and how. For salary information see www.salary.com or www.payscale.com.
If you are in the Seattle area, contact me for a list of local job search and networking sites. And for those who are pondering making a total career change, there are other sites that are helpful that I can list another time.
If you are one of the underemployed, unemployed, or discouraged, just know that there is something out there for you where you can provide a lot of value, and be valued appropriately. If you have been unemployed for quite a while, you may have to change your job search strategy. It may be worthwhile for you to get a career coach. Meanwhile, I hope this post can help you with your search.