Your Pro-Active Job Hunt Checklist

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Remember when the experts told us to send out a pile of generic cover letters and resumes, then wait for the phone to ring? Those days are gone. We must replace this passive activity with a more action-oriented effort to establish relationships and find the hidden job opportunities. The best way to access these hidden jobs is through friends, colleagues, acquaintances, and contacts in your industry. We must identify and reach out in an organized manner to people who can help you, and let them know what kind of work you’re looking for. If they can’t help you, they most likely know of someone who can. We need to make sure every contact we make, references something we’ve learned about the contact or organization, and reveals something memorable about ourselves. We must do our homework to be fully informed and find those bits of information that will instantly connect us and begin genuine relationships. Ones that are reciprocal, allowing us to give and help others as well.

Make a list of potential network contacts.

Doing this on a regular basis will help you remind you to connect with established contacts, as well as remind you of possible new ones from your recent activities.

Make cold contact.

Make a list of potential employers, research each one carefully, then find contacts within those organizations and send each one a custom-tailored, personalized cover letter and resume describing what you can do for them. Use your CareerShift account, to find and create these critical communications., then to set reminders for your follow up.

Stay Connected.

Continually ask to connect to new contacts and join groups in your LinkedIn network, find contacts and keep communicating with your CareerShift account. This will keep them up to date on what you’re up to, and will keep your name fresh in their minds when that opportunity arises in their contact’s conversations.

Align yourself with recruiters and headhunters.

Find out who specializes in your industry or area, send them your information, and arrange a meeting. Headhunters and recruiters have tons of contacts, and it’s in their best interest to find these contacts the best possible employees. Keep in touch frequently. Particularly, if they regularly work with your target companies and industries.

Attend job fairs.

Search local publications for job fairs in your area. The key to generating leads at job fairs is to know who is attending ahead of time, and to develop a planned approach for visiting these potential employers. Even if you are a higher-level employee and the job fair is focusing on low-level employees, go to meet specific hiring managers to ensure you’re remembered if there’s a good fit in the future.

Attend Webinars.

Find free online webinar centered around job search and social media. Attend on a regular basis. This will refresh your knowledge of how to use social media with your target contacts, companies and industries.

Contact and keep in contact with your college career/alumni office.

One of the most overlooked benefits of your college degree is the large network of people you acquire upon graduating. Contact your alma mater’s career department to find out what kind of services they offer. Chances are they can put you in touch with fellow graduates in your line of work who would be more than happy to lend a helping hand. Look up your alumni contacts in CareerShift.

Join professional and trade organizations in your area.

Many of these organizations hold regular meetings, seminars, and conferences. These will give you credibility, increase your education and knowledge, and will allow you to rub elbows with some of your industry’s movers and shakers.

Get your foot-in-the-door.

Instead of asking for a meeting to discuss potential jobs, ask for a meeting for advice or information. Approached this way, most people are happy to help. The person you meet with will remember you in the future if a suitable job opens up, may know of a person or organization that needs someone just like you, or may even be impressed enough to create a position for you. You’ll up the odds of finding your job if you generate as many good leads as possible, following these tips. Your hard work will yield the results you’re looking for.

Make a plan. Stick to it. Keep in Contact. Be persistent.

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Val Matta
Val Matta
Val Matta, Managing Director of CareerShift, co-founded the company in 2005 to help individuals bridge the gap between education and employment.  As a recognized expert in the field, Val is a frequent speaker on career management, networking, and job hunting strategies.  You can connect with her and the CareerShift team on FacebookLinkedIn, and Twitter.