How to get a job: 11 new tips

jobhunt.gifWhen people ask me how to get a job in a bad economy, my answer isn’t particularly earth shattering: Do everything you did in a good economy — have a terrific resume, cast a wide net in your search, network effectively — just do it all smarter, faster, better and more often

In addition to working harder on the basics, today’s job seekers should also try a few new and different techniques to stand out. To help, I’ve compiled a list of not-the-usual job hunting suggestions. You may like some of these and hate some of these, and that’s the point. My goal here is to provide out-of-the-box actions and tactics that most job seekers may not have tried. Here goes…

1. Move your desk. Feeling stuck in your job hunt? Ken Lauher advises checking under your desk to make sure nothing is blocking your feet or leg room. Look up, too. Heavy books shelved over your desk can lead to stress and frustration. The physical space in which you job hunt can make a difference in your results.

2. Learn to talk about sports. According to a recent story in Newsweek, a networking expert in Boston has started leading seminars that teach non-sports fans how to talk about football. Why? “The ability to carry on an interesting nonbusiness conversation will always be a vital skill,” the article explains. Could you get your next job by knowing the difference between a field goal and a fumble? Maybe. Professional networking happens on the golf course all the time, so why not on the sidelines of a football game or at a Super Bowl party?

3. Tweet. While Twitter, the micro-blogging site (in which each 140-character message is called a “tweet”), seems frivolous to some, to others it has led to job offers and much more. As Miriam Salpeter of Keppie Careers writes, Twitter is a particularly good tool for “touching base with people beyond your immediate circle whose networks and contacts are much different from your own. With over 3 million users, Twitter offers an unparalleled opportunity to create an extended network.” (Bonus: Miriam’s post provides great tips for making the most of Twitter whether you’re job hunting or not — thanks for the referral to Twubble, Miriam!)

4. Remove your tattoo. “The number of people opting to have tattoos removed is at an all-time high,” reports Dr. Mitchell Chasin, Medical Director of Reflections Center for Skin & Body.  The reason? According to a recent press release I received from Dr. Chasin, “Trendy ink statements can cross the line of personal expression into a potentially career-damaging decision.” In fact, 42 percent of managers reponding to a Vault.com/CareerBuilder.com study said their opinion of someone would be lowered by that person’s visible body art. If you’re seeking a job in most professional work environments, your tatt may hold you back.

5. Download the LinkedIn “Jobs Insider” tool. This free, downloadable application (which I first learned about from Alison Doyle’s About.com site) allows you to link the jobs you look at on major career sites (Monster, SimplyHired, Craigslist, etc.) with your network connections on LinkedIn. You’ll immediately see how you’re connected through your personal network to the places you want to work. Knowing someone at a hiring company is the best way to get your resume out of the slush pile, so this tool could be your ticket.

6. Add green collar jobs to your search. A recent report from the American Solar Energy Society shows that as many as 1 out of 4 workers in the U.S. will be working in the renewable energy or energy efficiency industries by 2030. This growing sector (one of the few bright spots in the economy right now) includes positions in engineering, manufacturing, construction, accounting, management, marketing, administrative support and more. Consider searching for open positions on a green job board, such as TreeHugger.com, GreenJobs.com and SustainableBusiness.com.

7. Volunteer. If you’re out of work,  you probably have some extra time on your hands. Instead of using this time to worry about when you’ll land a job, use this time to help other people. Especially during the holiday season, volunteer opportunities are everywhere. Volunteering has many tangible benefits for job seekers: 1) it will keep you in a positive, active frame of mind, 2) you’ll meet new people who may be able to refer you to job opportunities and 3) you may come across paid job opportunities at an organization where you’re volunteering.

8. Finish your fluency. Over Thanksgiving, my 26-year-old sister-in-law Valerie was chatting with me about the ongoing layoffs on Wall Street. She mentioned that one of her friends was able to keep his investment banking job even though most of his colleagues had been laid off. What made him different? Language skills. This guy kept his job because he was fluent in a second language. In a global economy, being bilingual can mean the difference between a paycheck and a pink slip.

9. Build your personal brand. According to personal branding guru Dan Schawbel, “personal branding describes the process by which you stand out from a crowd of job seekers by differentiating yourself from others with the same skills and abilities.” It includes developing personal “marketing materials” (your resume, a website or career-related blog, a work portfolio, business cards, etc.), having a professional online presence, practicing the way you introduce yourself and more. Click here to read a helpful article by Dan that discusses personal branding specifically for job hunting college students.

10. Send holiday greetings. What I really mean by “send holiday greetings” is “use the holiday season as an excuse to reach out to every single person you know or even sort-of know.” It doesn’t matter if you send cards, postcards, e-cards, emails, Facebook messages, paper airplanes or smoke signals — just reach out to as many people as you can and chat with them about your job search and what kind of positions you’re seeking.  The more people you reach out to, the more people will have you top-of-mind if they hear about an opportunity. Always remember, networking (especially networking to find a job) is not just about who you know; it’s about who knows you.

11. Join the “Getting from College to Career” fan page on Facebook. This is the place where I post every opportunity I learn about: full-time job listings, internship listings, freelance gigs, event announcements, podcast downloads, discount offers, new job websites — anything and everything that relates to young professionals and their careers. Join here to make sure you know about every opportunity I know about — and invite your friends to join, too!

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28 Responses to “How to get a job: 11 new tips”

  1. MR. GILLES’ » How to get a job: 11 new tips | Lindsey Pollak Blog

    […] Read more here: How to get a job: 11 new tips | Lindsey Pollak Blog […]

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  3. Miriam Salpeter

    Lindsey – Glad my Twitter post was useful! I’ve become a real Twitter evangelist, as I think it provides a terrific forum to share expertise without the commitment a blog requires.

    I don’t think you can underestimate the opportunities inherent in holiday greetings! In my new free eBook, Drive Your Own Career Bus – Holiday Networking for Success, I offer tips to help job seekers and careerists prepare to optimize holiday networking opportunities. While some view the end of the year as “slow” for job seeking, I think it’s a terrific time to jump start a job search.

    At our family’s Thanksgiving festivities, many friends expressed how thankful they are to have a job. Even in a down economy, I’d be surprised if the typical feelings of goodwill and generosity don’t overtake many people at this time of year. I hope that those lucky enough to be gainfully employed will feel compelled to respond generously if a job seeker reaches out for information and advice.

    Meet people when they are in a good mood (such as at a holiday party) and use strong networking techniques, and you may be surprised by how successful you can be!

    Thanks for the great post!

    Miriam Salpeter
    http://www.keppiecareers.com

    Reply
  4. Lindsey Pollak

    @Miriam –

    You are one of my favorite Twitterers, thanks for inspiring me to Tweet more frequently. I agree that the holidays can be a good time for networking and job hunting. This season I feel that there’s a “we’re all in this bad economy together” feeling too, which hopefully means that people will be generous with their time and networking suggestions.

    Thanks for the comment!

    Lindsey

    Reply
  5. Your Publicity To You » Blog Archive » How to get a job: 11 new tips | Lindsey Pollak Blog

    […] unknown wrote an interesting post today onHow to get a job: 11 new tips | Lindsey Pollak BlogHere’s a quick excerptThis growing sector (one of the few bright spots in the economy right now) includes positions in engineering, manufacturing, construction, accounting, management, marketing, administrative support and more. Consider searching for open … […]

    Reply
  6. Dan Schawbel

    Lindsey Pollak gets a lot of props for spelling my last name right.

    As for this article, it’s extremely valuable to your career and, unlike the 1 million other career tip articles you’ll find on the web, these are fresh/innovative techniques. I’ve never heard of the “job insider tool,” but thats a great way to match your professional interests to your network.

    I think we can all agree that we get jobs through people and by building up a network before you need it, you come off better and your chances of success are greater even in a financial downturn. Many of the tools Lindsey provides, as well as others in our network, are only good if you put them into action. Most people I meet don’t take that next step.

    Great article.

    Reply
  7. Beverly Ellsley

    Hi Lindsey

    Great blog! Regrding your comment about tatoos…..I tell young women that interview with me for a job that what they are wearing to the interview is what they need to wear everyday to keep the job. Professional appearance means a lot to me. I do not want to see their tits, their toes, their tummys or their tattoos!

    Reply
  8. Paige

    Miriam also inspired me to become a twitter-er! I’m still trying to get the hang of it.

    I am always learning something new from you and your informative blog. I’m especially interested in #5 and seeing where that leads me. Great advice as always, Lindsey. Thanks!

    ~Paige

    Reply
  9. Lindsey Pollak

    @Dan, @Beverly and @Paige –

    Thanks so much for your comments and helpful insights. Glad you liked my foray into new territory!

    Lindsey

    Reply
  10. Martin Buckland

    Great article!

    I would encourage all the readers to actively network, network, network. This is the season of parties galore. Don’t be afraid to tell people you are in career transition and ask for help. You never know who you might meet.

    Happy job searching, happy holidays!

    Reply
  11. Karen Pierce Gonzalez

    Lindsey,
    Some innovative ideas here (not the same ol’ stuff). The first one especially caught my attention.Not only was it different, it reminded me of intuitive feng shui. Nothing changes until something changes.
    Will send friends looking for work here for a refresher!
    Best, Karen

    Reply
  12. Ken Lauher

    Lindsey,

    Thanks so much for sharing my tips with others. I really appreciate it and keep up the great work and postings.

    Ken Lauher
    Feng Shui Consultant

    Reply
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  14. Louisa

    Great post! I work as a recruiter in Boston for Hollister (www.hollisterstaff.com/?=451) and could not have said it better myself! Every one of your tips is right on, and great advice for job seekers! I especially like “Add Green Collar Jobs to your Search”, why not do something good for the environment with your new job. Thanks for such a great post!

    Reply
  15. Maggie Mistal

    Great points Lindsey. I think people can sometimes feel overwhelmed by all the new technology but you do a great job explaining how to get the most from LinkedIn, Twitter and others!

    One additional idea that people may want to think about is being true to themselves and going after what they want not just what they think they can get. I’ve been counseling many talented people not to shoe horn themselves into jobs they don’t want just b/c they’re afraid that’s all that’s out there.

    One of my clients who is currently serving in Iraq (and doing his career search from there) said it best, “I now know that ignoring what you truly want never brings stability.”

    Reply
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  18. Executive Search Firm

    Personal brand building is extremely important today for any job hunter. It’s a way to highlight your skills and set you apart from the competition.

    Think of all the products in the grocery store…most have a certain image, logo and slogan that have been created to make them stand-out from their competitors. You are no different…think of yourself as the product and come up with a variety of strategies to get your customers (future boss) to buy (hire) you.

    -Timothy-

    Reply
  19. Lindsey Pollak

    Thank you all for your comments and helpful additions!

    Lindsey

    Reply
  20. midlifecareerstrategy.com » Blog Archive » Good advice on job search

    […] A really good set of tips for seeking advice in a tight economy: Click here. […]

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  21. accounting finance career or starting a business ?

    […] How to get a job: 11 new tips | Lindsey Pollak Blog Sphere: Related Content […]

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  22. Relax

    While seeking a job, I’m now writing a book, building stamina by running, reading career books by Steve Viscusi and Donald Asher….. and following career blogs like SKOR Career and yours 🙂

    Your friend Relax ~

    Reply
  23. Dan

    These are all great posts that definately make a difference. I’d like to recommend one more, which may be extreme… but in this time any edge helps. I used pheromones at my last job interview… and got the job. Pheromones work because they create trust at a sub-consious level. There are sites that offer free pheromone samples… I recommend getting some for your next in person interview.

    Reply
  24. Shawn

    You’d be surprised what you can learn about sports from watching 30 minutes of SportsCenter in the morning–and this is especially true for international students who are job searching in the U.S.

    Familiarizing yourself with basic information about your college or university’s basketball or football team can definitely come in handy when you’re networking with alumni from the school. You don’t have to know the first and last names of every starting player on the team, but you should know whether they won or lost and how the season is going.

    Reply
  25. Lindsey Pollak

    @Shawn – great advice. Sports are a major part of American culture, so it can be helpful to know this stuff. Great reminder that college sports are important too!

    Thanks,
    Lindsey

    Reply
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  27. William Mitchell, CPRW

    Additionally, take the time to network and track your contact history. You should know the last time you spoke with each of your contacts and what was discussed. A person’s network is always the most effective way of finding employment … best to work it as well as you can.

    Reply
  28. Rockon

    Great Advice, Thank you all for your comments and helpful additions!

    Reply

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