Today is Job Action Day!
Job Action Day, started by Dr. Randall Hansen of Quintessential Careers, is a day of empowerment for workers and job seekers — a day “to put your career and job in the forefront, making plans, taking action.”
In the spirit of action, my post today focuses on five actions you can take right now if you are looking for a job (or suspect you might be job hunting soon). I’ve also included links to some additional career advice blogs and job hunting resources so you can find even more tips.
1. Get organized with a job search notebook. This will be your one and only place to keep track of to-do lists, ideas, company research, notes from workshops and interviews, advice from career advisors and other important information. From this point forward, keep your job search notebook with you at all times. You never know when you might think of a new idea or hear about a company or program or person you want to look into. By keeping all of your notes in one place, you’re less likely to lose any data and more likely to keep focused. If you’re really hard core, you can even keep the notebook on your nightstand, in case you have any great career brainstorms while you’re dozing off to sleep at night.
For more advice on organizing a job search, check out: JibberJobber.com.
2. Call your alma mater’s career services office. Almost every college and university career services office will provide free (that’s right, free) job search support to alumni. Services that can cost hundreds of dollars in the “real world” are available at no cost from the college you attended. This includes career counseling, resume editing, interview prep, exclusive networking events, access to alumni databases and much more. If you’re not working with your college’s career services office, you are missing an enormous opportunity.
3. Set up news alerts for any organization you’d like to work for. The biggest complaint I hear from recruiters is that job candidates, especially young professionals, don’t know enough about the companies to which they’re applying. It’s crucial to be extremely knowledgeable about any company you want to work for. This shows that you’re genuinely interested in the organization and that you’re ready to hit the ground running on day one. To make sure you never miss a thing, set up Google news alerts for any companies on your target list. You’ll then receive an email whenever that company appears in a news article, blog post, press release or anywhere else. This will keep you in-the-know about new products or services, company announcements, industry issues and, of course, job opportunities. This is also great info to have on the tip of your tongue while networking in your industry.
4. Join LinkedIn and use it every day. Many recruiters, headhunters, small business owners and corporate hiring managers are now recruiting solely through LinkedIn, so make sure you are taking advantage of every aspect of this social networking site. For many tips on how to stand out and get a job through social networking, check out my post on making the most of LinkedIn.
In addition to LinkedIn, lately I’ve been receiving a larger number of connection requests to other professional networks, such as Plaxo, Doostang and Keith Ferrazzi’s Greenlight Community. I don’t see any reason not to join several sites if you have the time to maintain an active presence on all of them. A job opportunity may pop up anywhere, so you want to cast as wide a net as possible.
5. Call or email 5 contacts every day. Often the job goes to the person who is in the right place at the right time. Stay on recruiters’ and networking contacts’ radar screens by regularly reminding them of your availability and your fabulousness. Some ideas: Check in every week or two with an additional idea for what you can contribute to the company, drop a note when you see the company or person mentioned in a news article (see #3 above), attend live events where you are likely to run into your contacts, comment on a person’s status update on LinkedIn or Facebook and check in whenever you have a new accomplishment to share. Just be careful to remain polite and relevant: You want persist and stand out, not pester and stalk!