There are thousands upon thousands of books that share conventional wisdom about the best ways to conduct your job search, as well as how to write your cover letter and résumé and how to prepare for your job interview.
But with more and more conversations taking place on the internet and job searches being conducted online, you have to look beyond old-school examples to see what practical advice is working for candidates right now.
Start your own blog
A blog can be a résumé in motion. It can show potential employers who you are and what you’re about in a very comprehensive way.
“I wanted to gain a deeper understanding of Web 2.0 as it relates to my industry,” explains Debbie Horovitch, a marketing and media specialist. She decided to start a blog and use its content as a virtual calling card, where she can show readers what she’s learned.
“The results of my efforts are online for all potential employers. They can see that I am a self-starter, and understand business trends, opportunities and needs.”
Kelly Rusk was also pounding the pavement. Rusk, a media strategist, had been looking for a new job after a merger left her unhappy with her job. “I sent out dozens of résumés, even had a few interviews with no success,” she recalls.
She decided to take a different approach and completely bypassed distributing her résumé. “I focused on building my personal brand via my blog, and participating on various social networking sites and Twitter. Within a couple months, job offers started coming to me,” Rusk says.
She eventually landed her current job with a startup media company. “Because they came to me,” Rusk says, “I had a lot more negotiating power than ever before.”
Work with your network
Job seekers know that tapping into social and professional networking sites like Facebook and Twitter can connect you to contacts that might be the key to your next job.
But in addition to those structured networks, job seekers are reaching out to the contacts in their informal network — close friends and family. It capitalizes on one asset that everyone has access to: people.
“I was looking for a job to help make ends meet in a new city without much success,” says Brandon J. Mendelson, a New York-based writer and educator. He found out about a job for a local school through an important part of his informal network: his wife.
It may seem like old-fashioned pavement pounding, but as Mendelson says, you have to get the word about what you’re looking for out there. “Make friends, build a network and in tough times don’t be afraid to ask tactfully for help,” he states.
And that’s the real trick, isn’t it? Before the internet, people used to look for jobs either through the newspaper or answering local “help wanted” signs. But they also used to ask their friends and family, to see if maybe any of them had any contacts that could help you get a foot in the door.
The same method works today, even with the internet — in fact, it is even more to your benefit. With multiple social media outlets at your disposal, you now have a national — or even international — base of companies and online acquaintances that you can ask.
It may seem as though with the advent of the internet we’ve become more and more agoraphobic, a little less social. But the actuality is that with social media, the local community meeting place has just become much more than the local diner or coffeeshop. Mingle, discuss ideas, exchange views, and showcase your talents! Who knows, the next job may be a click away.