Starting Your Job Search
Now that you’ve identified your interests and skills, it’s time to start looking for that job.
Start Working Your Network
"Networking" is just another way of saying it’s time to gather information, ideas, and suggestions from others. Start by coming up with a list of people you can contact to help you with your job search, including:
- Friends and relatives
- Previous coworkers
- Previous employers
- Members of your church or other organizations
Get in touch the people on your list. Tell them you are looking for a job. Ask if they know of any job openings or if they have any suggestions of places to look into. Be sure to write down the information while you are talking to them.
Do your parents or relatives know of a job? Do friends of your parents know of any available positions? Does a friend have current or previous experience at a company where she could recommend you to the boss?
Remember to give each of contacts your phone number in case something comes up. Thank them for their help.
Of course there are many other ways to come up with job leads besides networking. Newspaper and magazine advertisements, postings on online job banks and company Web sites, bulletin boards at your nearby grocery store, even "Help Wanted" signs in stores.
No matter how you get a job lead, sooner or later you're going to have to make contact with an employer. The best way to know whether employers are hiring is to ask them. Call a company. Better yet, make an appointment and stop by.
It may be a little awkward at first but with practice, it will get easier. Most employers will be happy to share information and try to help you out if they can.
When calling a company, follow these few easy steps:
- Ask to speak to the manager
- Introduce yourself. Tell the manager you’re interested in a job. Describe a couple of your skills. Ask if there are any job openings.
- If there are openings, ask if you can stop by to fill out an application or set up an appointment to speak with someone in person.
- If there no openings, ask if it is possible to fill out an application, just in case there are future openings.
- Thank the person by name.
If you've been told there are job openings or that you may fill out an application, follow up as quickly as possible with a personal visit.
There are many different barriers out there that prevent people from getting jobs. A barrier to employment is anything that stands in the way of meeting the needs of an employer. Possible barriers include:
- No work experience
- Too young
- Not enough school
- Too many jobs in a short time
- No driver's license
- Consistently late
- Fired from last job
- Criminal record
- No transportation
Sometimes they way around a barrier is simple. For instance, if you did not have transportation or a driver's license, you look for a job near your home so you can walk or catch a bus.
Sometimes, eliminating barriers takes a change of attitude or work habits. What would the person who is consistently late do to overcome their barrier? How about the person who was fired?
Work to eliminate the barriers you can, improve yourself and your skills, and focus on your strengths. That will impress an employer.