How to Get a Job - Part 3 of 4: Pounding the Pavement

Career Advice From 40HRS

Aug 27, 2014

How to Get a Job - Part 3 of 4: Pounding the Pavement

1. Do informational interviews. An informational interview is when you invite a contact or a professional out to lunch or coffee, and ask them questions without the expectation of getting a job. Informational interviews are a great way to network, expand your list of contacts, and find out tips and tricks f-rom professionals who are on the ground.1.
  • Have lots of questions prepared — "What's a normal day like for you?" "What are the advantages of your job?" "What might you have done differently?" are all great — but be mindful of their time.
  • When the interview is done, ask them politely for three different contacts who you could speak to. If you impress them enough, they could even hire you or refer you to someone who could hire you.
2. Network. The best companies to work for tend to rely heavily on employee referrals. Make a list of all of your friends, relatives, and acquaintances. Contact them one by one and ask them if they know of any openings for which they could recommend you. Don't be too humble or apologetic. Tell them what you're looking for, but let them know you're flexible and open to suggestions. This is not the time to be picky about jobs; a connection can get your foot in the door, and you can negotiate pay or switch positions once you've gained experience and established your reputation.2.
  • Touch base with all of your references. The purpose of this is twofold. You can ask them for leads, and you'll also be refreshing their memory of you. (Hopefully their memories of you are good ones, or else you shouldn't be listing them as references.) If a potential employer calls them, they won't hesitate as much when remembering you.
  • Keep in mind that, as with dating, "weak" personal connections are the best way to find a new job because they expand your network beyond options you're already aware of. You probably know all about your sister's company, and you know that if they were hiring she would tell you; but what about your sister's friend's company? Don't be afraid to ask the friend of a friend or another slightly removed acquaintance for recommendations during your job search.
how to get job
3. Volunteer. If you aren't already, start volunteering for an organization that focuses on something you're passionate about. You may start out doing boring or easy work, but as you stick around and demonstrate your commitment, you'll be given more responsibilities. Not only will you be helping others, but you'll also be gaining references. Emphasize your volunteer experience on your resume, as companies that treat their employees well tend to favor candidates who help the community somehow.3. 
  • Internships may fall into this category. An internship is a great way to get your foot in the door, as many companies prefer to hire f-rom within. Even if you're far removed f-rom your twenties or your college days, the willingness to work for little or no money shows companies that you're serious about putting in the work, learning the skills, and getting ahead.
  • Believe it or not, volunteer positions and internships can lead to jobs. In today's economy, many companies are turning to internships as a cost-effective way to vet potential future employees. This is because many companies simply don't have the money or resources to take a stab in the dark and offer a job to someone who isn't tested. If you put in hard work, demonstrate your ability to solve problems, and keep your chin up, your value to the company might be too big for them to pass up on.
4. Cold call. Locate a specific person who can help you (usually the human resources or hiring manager at a company or organization you're interested in). Call that person and ask if they are hiring, but do not become discouraged if they are not. Ask what kind of qualifications they look for or if they have apprentice or government-sponsored work programs. Ask if you can send your resume indicating what field you want to go into. Indicate whether you would accept a lesser job and work up.4. 
  • Reflect after each phone call on what went well and what did not. Consider writing out some standard answers on your list of skills so you can speak fluently. You may need to get some additional training to break into your chosen field. None of this means you cannot get a good job, only that you need to become further prepared to do so.
  • Visit the company or business in person. There's a saying among employers: "People don't hire resumes; people hire people." Don't underestimate the value of personal relationships. Go to the company or business whe-re you think you might want to work, bring your resume, and ask to speak to the Human Resources manager about job opportunities. If you make an excellent personal impression on the HR manager, you've done your job: s/he will have connected your face to a resume, and will have a much better idea of your natural intelligence, your persistence, and your likability. People don't always hire the person best suited for the job; people often hire the person they like the best.
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