13) Expand your Job Search Network Using Your College Career Office

You already know that most of the best jobs are found through word of mouth, right? Co-workers, friends and acquaintances sharing information — this is how 70-80% of all people get hired, according to many estimates.

We’ve regularly written here about how networking can help you gain access to this “hidden” job market and meet decision makers who can hire you.

But today we want to share a nifty twist on networking that worked during the last recession, and can give your job search a boost in this economy, too.

This job search trick, from Faith Rothberg, Vice President for Strategic Development at CollegeRecruiter.com (www.collegerecruiter.com), will help anyone who went to college. Check out Kevin and Faith’s interview below.

Kevin: “Let’s jump right in. What’s the networking ‘twist’ that worked so well for you and how can it help others find a job right now?”

Faith: “In a nutshell, I called the career office at the University of Michigan, where I got my MBA, and asked them for a list of Business School alumni here in Minnesota that I could contact for advice on getting a job. I made some phone calls, did a few interviews and got hired by a prominent bank in Minneapolis. And I did this during the last recession, in 1991, when there were threats of war, just like now.”

Kevin: “So, you networked your way to a new job by calling people you already had an affinity with — they went to the same school as you. That must have made it easy to start a conversation, right? You already had something in common.”

Faith: “Yes. One week after I called my career office for help, a list of about 20 names arrived in the mail. I started calling them during my lunch hour or before work.”

Kevin: “What did you ask them and what happened?”

Faith: “I asked, ‘Can I meet you for coffee and a quick informational interview?’ I ended up with about two in-person interviews and three other people gave me names to call at other companies.”

Kevin: “Describe the informational interviews. What did you do?”

Faith: “I asked questions about their jobs and engaged them on why they liked what they did. I tried to let them talk about themselves, which puts anyone at east. Then I handed them my resume and asked, ‘Where would a person like me fit into your organization?’”

Kevin: “How long did it take to find a job?”

Faith: “About 90 days. I kept calling new names as I got them, saying, ‘So-and-so suggested I call you for an informational interview.’ Sometimes I was more direct and said, ‘I heard about your opening for a ____ from my interview with so-and-so and I’d like to discuss your needs. When can I come and see you?’”

Kevin: “What’s your final bit of advice to job hunters in this economy?”

Faith: “Talk to anybody you know. Friends, family, friends of friends — anyone who will let you use their name when contacting companies you want to work for. Because you never know — it could be your friend’s dad who makes the hiring decision.”

Action Step: No matter how long ago you graduated, put your college career office to work for you. When you network with other alumni, you instantly have something in common, which builds rapport and can smooth the way toward finding a decision maker who can hire you!

14) Keep Detailed Records of your Job Search

One client, Rebecca, told me how she regretted not keeping detailed records in her job search.

Reason?

She got calls after submitting her resume to positions, but had forgotten all about what jobs and companies she had applied to! Needless to say, she didn’t get any interviews this way, and all her efforts in sending out resumes to those companies were wasted.

Don’t let this happen to you.

Action Step: Write down the following every time you send out a resume:

  • title of job you applied for,
  • company name,
  • name of person addressed in cover letter,
  • source of job lead,
  • date resume and cover letter were sent,
  • date of your intended follow-up, and
  • any other notes that will help you talk intelligently should that company call you for an interview.

You should also keep a copy of the classified ad or Internet job posting you applied to, if one is available. That way you’ll be able to discuss the job when you get called to interview.

15) Read The Paper, But Not The Want Ads

Here are 3 ways to locate job openings using free resources at your disposal.

We interviewed Bob Picha, founder of San-Diego-based Ideas At Work, a company dedicated to the release of human potential in individuals and organizations.

Based on 30 years of career-consulting experience, Bob’s insights are sure to surprise – and more importantly – help you find a job faster.

Research is your first step in ferreting out job openings. And since almost everyone gets a daily newspaper, why not start there? But don’t spend a lot of time on the want ads, advises Picha.

“I take an indirect approach in looking for companies that might be hiring. For example, I skimmed today’s Wall Street Journal and found these tidbits:

  • “Toyota now wants 15% of global market share, which means they’ll be expanding worldwide and perhaps hiring locally;
  • “China is buying $1.2 billion in telecom equipment from Lucent and Motorola, which points to both firms needing new personnel;
  • “Earnings for Cendant rose 19%, so they may be hiring …

“The list goes on,” says Picha.

Two more ways to use the newspaper to uncover expanding businesses are:

  1. Monitor the business section for firms signing new commercial leases, a sure sign of a need for increased capacity, and
  2. Look for companies receiving venture capital — since it’s so difficult to get these days, such firms are likely to have a viable business model … and a need for new employees.

Action Step: With a little digging, you can uncover the employment clues that point you toward companies in need of new employees. And you’ll have almost NO competition, since 99% of job hunters look only to the help-wanted ads when they read the newspaper.

16) Network Smarter, Not Harder; Your Job Search will Thank You

We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again – networking is how 70-80% of the best jobs are filled.

But in today’s economy, don’t expect a plum position to fall in your lap. You must network smartly and more creatively.

“Try calling on vendors and suppliers who know of companies that might be hiring. These include your local banker, CPA, lawyer and real estate agent. These people all have a great deal of knowledge,” says Bob Picha, founder of San-Diego-based Ideas At Work, a company dedicated to the release of human potential in individuals and organizations.

When you call or meet networking contacts, ask for names of growing companies who could use someone with your experience. Ask for a contact person at the target employer(s), but avoid the HR department, since they often act as gatekeepers and may shun you.

Action Step: Call people who may owe you a favor for past business you’ve done with them. This makes them more likely to assist by helping you find companies that are hiring.

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