Thursday, December 6, 2007

How to find a Job

Job HuntSo now you have that great Ivy League Degree, now what? How do you go about finding a job? Well, it isn't always as easy as it sounds, even for those with great credentials. Here is my advice. Diversify. No, I'm not talking about your portfolio. I'm saying that there is no one single way you should go about looking for a job. You need to look under every rock you can and try multiple methods to try and find that perfect dream job. (I think the same thing applies to finding the right woman, but that's another story)

I've had four different jobs in my life. I found each job differently. Here is how I did it, and what I would recommend.

College recruitment - If you are still in college, this is the way to go. Many larger companies will come to the university and recruit right on campus. This tends to be great for new college grads because you know that they are looking for good entry-level positions. This is especially helpful, because a lot of time, these are treated as informational. If you are like me, you might not know what you even want to do out of college and this can be the way to go.  Word of advice though, just because you don't know what you want to do, don't let on to the recruiters that you don't know what you want to do.  Employers want to know that you will have a passion to do whatever it is they do.  If you go for a banking interview, you must show you love to bank.  If it's a tech job, computers need to be your life.  It's fine to go on lots of different types of interviews, just don't let it on that you aren't sure where you will go.

Post your resume online - Probably the least effective way to go about getting a job, but I'm living proof it works. I posted my resume on one of the job boards, either Dice or Monster, and I was contacted by a person in a company looking to fill a position. Most of the time, this method will get you lots of calls from recruiters looking to present you to a company. I have had very little luck with these types of placements but some luck with companies directly. The big advantage here is that if they contact you, they already like your resume, so chances for success here are very good. However, this has the strong disadvantage that you have little or no control over who is looking at your resume or when they might contact you.  Make sure you resume has lots of keywords in it, but still presents well.  You will be found by people searching for keywords, but you will be called because your resume looks great.

Networking - Everyone says this is the best way to find a job. Ask your friends and see if they know of anyone who is hiring. I found my last job this way, and I will agree it is the easiest way to find a job for most people. Getting through the many layers of HR and decision makers can be very hard. Having a friend on the inside can only help you. My advice to all people is this, be friendly at work. You never know who can help you land the next job. Further, be friendly with the right people. While it may sound underhanded, attach yourself to smart people who are going places. Chances are, they may take you with them if you are ever looking for a change of scenery. Not only will these people always have a good job at a good company, but their recommendation tends to carry a lot of weight wherever they go.

Apply directly to jobs you find either on a company's website or one from a job board - This is how I found my next job but it can be very difficult. Most people will not be able to duplicate my 40% success rate at getting replies back from hiring companies. You would probably be doing well if it was closer to 10% or even 5%. You have to understand, these companies may look at hundreds of resumes. I've been a hiring manager. Believe me, I may look through fifty resumes before I find one I like. You have to be able to stand out from the crowd. That's where a great corporate pedigree comes into play. It can make you stand out. If you don't have it, you need to be sure that you stand out in some other way. I'll get to that later when I talk about resumes.  The one very strong bit of advice I can give here is to put some work into each resume you said.  Read the job description, make sure you are a good fit, and then customize your resume to fit the job description.  You don't have to rewrite the whole thing, just make sure that within 3o seconds, the employer knows you can do the job.

There are still some other ways, but I haven't found too much success in them. How about you? What ways have you looked for jobs and how successful were they?

10 comments:

  1. I had a lead once from a previous interview. I had applied for position at company X. Two interviews. Then got the rejection letter in the mail a month later. Six months pass and the interviewer called me for a different position. So it pays to be your best at any interview you go on. You just never know.

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  2. Good advice. I'm definitely going to print this post out and save it for future reference :D

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  3. I wasn't very successful when I posted my resume on-line. I was most successful applying directly.

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  4. I think those in the tech industry would be most successful posting their resume. I'm not sure how effective it would bein other industries.

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  5. Even before college recruitment, you can set yourself up with an internship that might lead to a full-time position.

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  6. For me, college internships are for testing the waters (more to see if you'd like an industry). Don't belittle the experiences. It's just as good to find out that something is not right for you while you're young.

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