Finding a job can be both a time-consuming and frustrating task, but there are many resources to help make it easier. The internet will be your best friend with your search, but it will also be your enemy. There are many great resources online and now many jobs opening are also posted online, but the internet can also seem overwhelming and is full of scams. There are useful tools on the internet designed to make job search easier, and there are also many networking opportunities just waiting to be found online.
Before starting a job search, assess your skills and narrow down your interests to help decide what types of jobs are best for you. There are many online assessments and career interest tests, which are helpful to find your interests. These are useful because they may give you career options that you had not even been thinking of. But be careful when taking online assessments as some are scams designed to steal your personal information. The O*NET Interest Profiler is free and shows a breakdown of potential jobs based on experience, education, and training given your answers.
Another way to figure out if you would be interested in a certain career is to find someone whose job you would like to have and ask for an “informational interview.” These are short interviews where you are asking the other person questions about his or her job—such as what he or she likes about it, what challenges he or she faces, what he or she wishes he or she had known before getting the job, etc. Do not be shy about asking about these as the answers can be very helpful, and most people would be happy to share their experiences with you and answer your questions. Think of the people you know—neighbors, members of your house of worship, front desk attendants, extended family members—and then think of whose job you would like. An added benefit of asking for an informational interview is that the person you end up interviewing may know of an opening somewhere and be able to refer you to it.
If you end up finding an interesting job but you do not have the required experience or schooling for it, do not let that deter you. Many career centers offer free courses for workplace skills. And local community colleges offer certificates and associate degrees for specific careers.
Once you have found an interesting career, build your résumé by adding all the skills and activities that would make you the best candidate for the job. Do not limit your résumé to past jobs; add everything that shows why you are qualified. There are many online resources (see: here, here, and here) to help you build your résumé for different industries and job types. It is also crucial to have a clean résumé. No matter how many times you have proofread your résumé, have someone you know—whether it is your friend or one of your family members—look at it. A different set of eyes could catch an error. You do not want a potential employer to be the one to find a typo in your résumé and then likely reject you.
Another important part of the job search is networking. Networking is very important as recruiters prefer to hire those they trust or who have an inside reference at the job. The best place to start your network is with those you know—family, friends, and acquaintances. You never know, one of them could be looking for someone to fill a vacancy at his or her job.
LinkedIn is one the widest used networking tools on the internet, which is a great place to start building your professional network. Linkedin also has a job search function where you can search openings in the area and narrow down the search to types of industries you are interested in. Social media is another great place to build your social and professional network.
Large corporations and cities also host job fairs, which is a great way to talk with potential employers. After finding out potential careers you are interested in, search the internet for businesses in that field and near your home to see if they have career days. After you have found one to go to, make sure to arrive early so you have an opportunity to talk one on one with potential employers before they are mobbed with people all looking for a job. Also, bring many copies of your résumé as you never know employers will want one.
Remember: Never be shy when looking for a job. You will never get one by wishing it will be offered to you without even applying. Go out, and ask employers for a job!
By Meagan Devlin