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These days people may be concerned about whether this is a proper time to be switching careers or looking for a new job. Although some industries, like the airline industry, are currently cutting back staffing needs other fields are hiring.
So, if you’re in the market for a new job, here are some job search strategies to make your search a little easier. There are many books that can help you get started mapping out your strengths and abilities. What Color Is Your Parachute? by Richard Nelson Bolles, for example, is an old favorite of many career counselors because its chapters specifically focus on investigating your experiences, achievements and goals. Examining your outside interests and hobbies can also help you pin down work possibilities.
Another useful book is Best Answers to 201 Most Frequently Asked Interview Questions by Matthew DeLuca. This publication discusses preparing for an interview, how to handle new and experienced interviewers, the illegal questions that employers are not allowed to ask and how to answer difficult questions.
When planning your search strategies, one basic rule of thumb is not to overuse any one technique. Buy the newspaper, but don’t make that your only resource. According to Bolles, only a small amount of people actually finds a job through an ad in the newspaper. In his book, Bolles concludes that networking appears to be the most effective method of tapping into the hidden job market, even though many job candidates shy away from this approach.
Although having personal connections to jobs can be helpful, networking shouldn’t be limited to people you know. Your local Chamber of Commerce can be a great networking resource. The Chamber can provide you with information on local businesses in your area of interest. Once you have the names of companies, you can contact them and ask to set up informational interviews.
In an informational interview, you are not asking for a job, but conducting research. You are there to find out what kinds of employment options are available to someone with your education and experience, and what types of employees are hired. It’s also your opportunity to get a feel for the company, to learn what it might be like to work there.
Many companies are happy to oblige, especially if you only request a short interview. Generally asking for fifteen minutes to one-half hour of their time is suggested. When you’re there, follow the interviewer’s lead in terms of the time frame. If they are interested in you, and have possible openings, it may be your lucky day, and you may get to stay a lot longer than anticipated.
Lastly, don’t forget to tell your friends and family that you are looking for work. If you’re already employed just be sure you know who you’re disclosing this information to. You may be surprised with how many leads you will get from people you already know. Your friends have friends and people often talk about who might be a great match for a job opening.