Starting Your Search

Starting Your Search

You know what you want and you’re ready to start applying! Where should you look to find a job?

This is Part 2 of the Jumpstart Your Career blog series, which is about everything I wished I had known when I started looking for jobs. Feel free to leave a comment if you have any useful tips!

When you start looking for jobs, you can cast a wide net or go for a laser-targeted approach.

1. Job Boards

One of the fastest ways to find job postings is to look at online job boards such as Monster or Indeed. These job sites aggregate job postings across the web, so they’re a quick way to access a huge volume of postings. If you know what type of role you want, you can use specific keywords to help filter through postings. To narrow your search further, you can look for local job boards that are specific to a city, state, or province. Stick to the criteria you already formulated (see 3 Tips for Finding the Right Job) so you don’t waste time on postings that aren’t aligned with your goals.

However, the accessibility of job boards means that employers will often receive a huge amount of online applications. Make sure to take the time to fine-tune your resume and cover letter so you stand out from the crowd.

2. Job Fairs

Also known as a career fair or career expo, job fairs give people the chance to meet employers, establish relationships, and discuss potential career opportunities. These fairs may be general or specialized, and usually give people the chance to meet a variety employers all at once.

This is a great way to learn about opportunities in your field and make a personal connection with potential employers. Having a conversation face-to-face can help you make a memorable impression and get your foot in the door. You can also meet and build relationships with other job seekers, industry organizations, and recruiting agencies. Overall, it’s a chance to network and explore career options even if you don’t end up working for the attending companies.

How do you succeed at a job fair? Research the attending companies beforehand, and spend your time connecting with the ones that matter most. Dress professionally, bring multiple copies of your resume, and possibly bring a portfolio of your work just in case. Practice your introduction and handshake so you come across as professional and enthusiastic. Be ready to answer interview questions on the spot and make sure to take notes after interacting with each company. If they don’t have a person that you can speak with regarding the specific role you’re looking for, make sure to get the contact information of someone you can follow up with. Finally, always send an email or LinkedIn connection request with a thank-you within 24 hours after the event. It shows that you’re polite, conscientious, and care enough to keep in touch.

3. Professional Organizations

Industry associations and professional organizations are a great way to find job postings that are closely aligned with your target role. They often require companies who post jobs to be members, so there is a higher chance that the job posting will be legitimate. Often these sites will also have company profiles so you can get a head start on your research as your prepare your applications.

4. Specific Companies

You should know the top 3 companies that you’d love to work for off the top of your head! If you don’t, research your industry, check out employee reviews, talk to people if your field. These dream companies should align with your values and be the perfect fit for you. And if you want to work for them someday you have to be proactive.

Bookmark their career pages and follow of all of their social media channels. Regularly check their career, since many companies will not post their job openings on external sites. Keep an open mind – there may be roles that will help you get your foot in the door so you can work your way up to your dream role. If there’s no opportunities at the moment, you can show initiative and send in a resume for an opportunity that does’t exist yet. Many companies will keep your resume and contact information on file, and they may reach out to you if something comes up.

While you wait for the right opportunity, start networking! See if you know anyone who can introduce you to employees, or do some research to find their contact information. Take out them out for an informational interview and buy them coffee to learn about their organization and hiring processes. Some may even pass on your resume to the HR department for you.

Do you have any other tips for finding job opportunities? Leave a comment below!

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