Have you been laid off, or are you looking for a better job? No matter what the reason for your job search there are plenty of traditional and not so traditional ways to find a new job. Don’t fall into the traps that prevent so many people from getting work that they want.
Follow some of the links on this page, but if you would like to get more free help visit BoomersNextStep – Jobs For Older Workers.
Finding A New Job Part 1
1. Search for great resume examples
Need resume help? You can search online sample resumes that can be used as a great starting point for your resume. But don’t be tempted to use the sort of “pretty” templates you find on MS Word or similar programs. They may look attractive but they can cause problems with resume scanning software, and they can alienate recruiters who don’t like them. Keep your resume plain and simple. It’s the content that matters!
2. Hire a pro
If you are just totally stuck and unable to produce a great resume, consider hiring a professional to do it for you. The cost is not great and the results are usually worth it! Remember that cost shouldn’t be the main consideration as it must be someone who knows what they are doing
3. Proofread your resume
Have some trusted friends read over your resume, and give you some feedback on your spelling and grammar, and even the content. Someone else may pick up some mistakes you missed and an error on your resume can prevent you from getting that important first interview.
4. Create a DIY marketing package
When a company rolls out a new product, they make sure everything associated with it sends a strong message. Review your resume, cover letter and even your envelopes and stamps to be sure they are sending the message you want.
5. Buy quality paper and envelopes
If you are mailing or presenting a resume invest in good quality, heavy weight resume paper and don’t skimp on the envelopes! Spend a little extra to make your resume stand out from the crowd.
6. Send your resume via priority mail or a courier.
Those brightly colored envelopes just scream “I am important! Open me first!”. It is a small price to pay for guaranteed attention.
7. Stand out for the right reasons
Having an attention getting resume and application is great. In fact your resume should be a great balance between making yourself sound interesting and relevant and being succinct. Having a sparkly, over the top one is not. Hot pink stationery with bunnies on it will attract attention, but it won’t land you an executive position.
8. Include a cover letter with every resume you send out
You can make a simple cover letter and modify it to suit your needs. Including a cover letter allows a little more of your personality to shine through, and gives you additional opportunities to sell yourself as the ideal person for the job in question.
9. Put a P.S. on your cover letter
Our marketing friends must be onto something–just about every good salesletter ends with a P.S. If any part of your letter gets read, it will be the postscript at the end.
10. Include a resume with every application
Even if a position requires you to fill out an application, attach your resume as well. It gives you a chance to stand out from the crowd, and present yourself in the best light possible.
11. Consider a video resume if you are in a technical or creative field
A powerpoint presentation or short video of your skills sounds over the top and for most jobs, it is. For others, a video resume may be just what you need to get your foot in the door.
12. Customize your resume
Once you find a job you are interested in, take the time to customize your resume a bit to better match the job description. If you are applying for a managerial description, for example, make sure your resume highlights your achievements in the areas they have mentioned in the job description.
13. Use the right keywords in your resume
If you post your resume online make sure it has keywords and phrases that are relevant to your ideal job and related to your field. The goal is to have your resume pop up at the top of the list when a potential employer searches for those keywords. Another goal is to not get eliminated by scanning software that big companies use to cull applicants. Haven’t included the right keywords? Forget it…No-one will read your application!
14. Send your resume to a person
Instead of addressing your cover letter to a company, or worse to “whom it may concern”, take the time to find the name of the person actually doing the hiring, and send your resume to that person directly.
Finding a New Job Part 2
15. Search online for opportunities
More than ever, companies are placing want ads on the web. Make sure you search by both area and job title, and repeat your search every day–doing so ensures you will be one of the first applicants when a new job appears.
16. Consider working at home
Some employers allow you to work from your own home in a variety of capacities. A work at home job can be a great opportunity, but be very careful, there are a lot of scams out there you will need to avoid. True work at home jobs do exist, but you will need to seek them out…the “jobs” that show up in your inbox unsolicited are not the ones for you.
17. Search for a job using unconventional spellings and terms
If you are an engineer, search for “Engineer”, but also check out “Engeneer” and “Engineering”–either a misspelling or different phrasing can pop up different listings (not all employers can spell well!).
18. Be willing to drive a bit for the right opportunity
If you currently work five minutes from home, consider expanding your search to the next town, or the closest large city. Driving a little further each day may be a good trade off for a higher paying position.
19. Focus your search
If you are looking for a job in a large field, try focusing your search a bit to eliminate results you can’t use. If you search “Sales” you will pull up plenty of jobs that won’t suit your needs if what you really need is “Pharmaceutical Sales”…and the jobs you do want may get buried in the massive amount of listings.
20. Use the newspaper
Remember newspapers? They still exist and can be handy for local jobs in particular. Use the classified listings in your local paper, and search online for other papers you may not receive. Most have an online classified section you can refer to, complete with a help wanted section.
21. Brainstorm to find other jobs you can do
If you are a teacher, apply for teaching jobs, but don’t overlook coaching, tutoring, and administrative jobs in the education system either.
22. Consider all of your skills
If you are great at selling cars, you may also be great at selling office equipment, medications, or business services. Don’t limit yourself to the field you are currently in if you have skills that can be applied elsewhere. Your transferable skills are vitally important, even skills you have gained while not employed.
23. Use a recruiter
Job search firms aren’t just for top level executives anymore. Talented people of all levels are in demand, so register with recruiters who specialise in your field of work. Just make sure the prospective employer is footing the bill.
24. Don’t fall for scams
There are a lot of unscrupulous people out there waiting to take advantage of the unwary. Make sure you don’t fall for any of the common scams–everything from “work at home” to “pay for a list of available jobs”. You shouldn’t have to pay to find a job, or a legitimate lead.
25. Post your resume online…but with caution
Make sure your resume is available to employers for immediate download. After uploading your resume to a search engine, download it once yourself to see how it looks, and make sure it prints out the way you expect it to. Don’t include referee’s contact details and only include your essential contact details.
26. Write some articles about your field
If you can, do some writing for a trade journal or other organization. If you don’t know of any, write about your field for an online article site like ezinearticles.com. Doing so will help build your reputation, give you published credits to refer to on your resume, and help to establish you as an expert in your field.
27. Play the numbers game to win
Logic suggests that the more resumes you submit, and the more interviews you go on, the more likely you are to get the job you want. However DON’T send out resumes without targeting it to the job you are going for and NEVER send the same cover letter to everyone. So long as you target the resumes and cover letters you can send out more applications than you think you need to, and accept any interview you are offered where the job is of interest to you. If nothing else, an interview in person will be good practice, even if you end up declining the job.
28. Use your blog or site as a platform
If you blog about something related to your work, make sure you include your blog on your application, if it establishes you as an expert in your field.
29. Have a job already?
It is easier to find a new job when you still have a job, even if it is a job you don’t like. Actually receiving a paycheck takes some of the pressure off of you. When you are not worried about your bills, you can take the time to concentrate on finding the right job for you.
Finding a New Job Part 3
30. Make sure your online profiles are accurate
Check networking sites like LinkedIn to be sure that the information there is accurate and up to date. Don’t have a networking profile yet? Take the time to make one. Web-savvy employers will check you out via Google and other outlets!
31. Behave yourself online
If you have a profile on a social site like Facebook or Myspace, make sure that you are presenting yourself in the best light possible. An employer may not be able to see your full posts…but they can see your profile picture and other personal tidbits, so make sure nothing you post will hurt your chances.
32. Create an online portfolio
Writers, artists, and other creative types can create an online portfolio or gallery of sorts to showcase their best work. Using an online portfolio allows prospective employers to see a variety of your samples, and get a real idea of the type of work you are capable of. It also opens communication with people in related fields.
33. Put your friends and family to work
Let your friends and family know you are looking for a job. They might just have a friend, in – law, or business associate that is hiring, and a personal recommendation gives you an edge over any other applicants.
34. Know someone who is planning on leaving a great job?
Get a jump on the competition by asking for a referral. If you know someone who is leaving a job due to relocation, the birth of a new baby, or any other reason, ask for a referral. You may be able to apply for their position before the company time to post the job opening!
35. Join your local business association
Join the Chamber of Commerce or any other local business group you can. The contacts you make here may be able to point you in the right direction for your next job and you may hear of openings before they are even advertised in the paper.
36. Use your social contacts to find work
If you are on one of the large social media sites, make sure you let everyone know you are looking for a job. Just like the people you know in real life, a friend of an online friend might have just the contact you need to find your next job.
37. Share your contacts with other job seekers
If you know others who are seeking work, share your resources. Unless you are seeking an identical job in an identical field, chances are they are not your competition anyway, and you will both expand your horizons if you share.
38. Belong to a church?
Let your fellow congregates know what you are looking for. They may know of a job opening, or be able to give you a personal referral.
Finding a New Job Part 4
39. Use any resources your former employer offers
If you have been laid off, your employer may offer some resources for your use, like resume help, retraining, or career counseling. Make sure you take advantage of any services they offer, as you may have to pay for these things on your own otherwise.
40. Apply for unemployment benefits
If you are eligible to do so, apply for unemployment benefits right away. Even if you think you will land a new job immediately, you should apply, just in case. Most unemployment offices offer job placement and training help to job seekers in addition to the monetary benefits.
41. Treat your job search like a full time job
Out of work? If you are, you have plenty of time on your hands. Make finding the right job at the right salary your new full-time hobby. Spend your time perfecting your resume, finding new places to submit applications, and researching potential employers.
42. Get out of bed and off the couch
It sounds crazy, but getting up each morning like you are going to work will help keep you productive and help keep your job search on track. Vegging out in front of the television or binging on donuts at 11am is not going to land you the job you want!
43. Make a “to – do” list for each day
Writing down a firm plan for the day will help you be productive, and get things done. Decide on a target goal for each day, and cross each item off your list as you complete it. Having goals will keep you from wandering aimlessly, and keep your job hunt on track.
44. Make sure you are easy to contact
Make sure the phone number you put on your resume is one that you can either answer immediately, or one that has voicemail.
45. Create a professional sounding email address for your job search
Yourname@gmail.com is much better than a handle like “hotchick” or “beerdude” if an employer is trying to reach you via email.
Make sure your phone has voicemail and make sure your outgoing message is professional and to the point.
Finding a New Job Part 5
47. Apply for jobs that may not exist
Even if you don’t see a want ad or job posting, consider sending your resume to any company that hires workers in your field. You may get lucky and find an opening that simply hasn’t been advertised yet.
48. Apply at unconventional places
You may think your local hospital doesn’t have any jobs for you if you aren’t a doctor, nurse, or healthcare worker. You would be wrong! The truth is, a large organization like a hospital has a full staff of marketing, PR, computer, and administrative help that has nothing to do with caring for patients. The same is true for other large employers that may seem like they are not a good match for your skills.
49. Apply for jobs that are beneath your current level
If you are out of work, or desperate to make a change, consider applying for a job that is a small step down from your current position, as long as there is some improvement to your current situation. A new position that is closer to home; has fewer hours; or better benefits can make it worth taking a small cut in pay or title.
50. Apply for jobs that are above your current level
Don’t feel limited by most recent job you have had! If you see a job that would be a bit of a promotion for you, apply for it–you may be more ready than you think!
51. Apply for jobs that are listed as part time
A part time job can sometimes extend in to fulltime over time. If you secure a part time job, you will also be on hand to apply for any in – house job openings that come up as well.
52. Create an “elevator speech” about yourself
An elevator speech is a quick one or two sentence spiel about who you are and what you do. If you have one prepared in advance, you won’t stumble around the next time someone asks what you do for a living.
53. Be old fashioned
Social media, twitter, and related technologies are great but sometimes simply submitting your application and following up by phone is the best approach. Do your homework and find the job online, then go old school and mail in a hard copy resume. You will stand out as someone who took the time to do it right.
54. Target organizations you would like to work for
Do some research online and at the library, and target some companies you would like to work for. Visit their sites directly, and look for employment information. You may find jobs listed that don’t appear in search engine listings.
55. Think locally
While many large employers utilize the internet to find employees, most small businesses do not. Use your local paper to keep an eye out for jobs with businesses in your hometown.
56. Don’t overlook the government
The government is a huge employer, encompassing federal, state, and local jobs, and even civilian jobs with the military. You may be able to find a great job right in your own back yard.
57. Use your local resources
Use your local town library to access jobs online. If there is a local University, TAFE college or RTO you may find you can get access to a job board for part-time work, or even may find that you are eligible for some career counselling if you are a past student. Ask, even if you aren’t a past student.
58. Enroll to study
If there is something you have always wanted to study, now might be your time. You have the possibility of a whole new career in front of you.
59. Take some classes
Brush up your skills, especially if you have been in the same job for a long time. Taking a semester of night classes in the latest computer technologies, or getting a new certification may give you an edge over the competition.
60. Check for job listings on organisation’s websites
If you are a member of any professional or trade organisation, or are eligible to be a member, check to see if they have job listings. They are often the first to know about positions that are to be advertised.
61. Join a professional trade organization
If your field has a trade group, make sure you become a member. Check the trade group’s website and newsletter for targeted job leads.
62. Labor Union
If you are in a skilled trade, and belong to a union, look to your local group for job support. You may be able to get advanced notice of job openings, and even get access to some job training updates such as learning about new materials or new technologies relevant to your trade.
63. Become known as an expert in your field
Contribute to trade journals, speak at conferences, and post to relevant websites and blogs. The more people who know you and your work, the more chances you have to make a new contact when you are seeking a job.
64. Go to job expos
Any time you see a job expo advertised, make sure you attend. Impress them by having copies of your resume available and be ready to engage in conversations that could lead to an interview. You may be able to secure a position or a solid lead on the spot, and take a short cut through the job search process.
65. Do some research in to the hottest new fields
Find out what jobs are in the highest demand and see if your skill set is a good match. If you apply for an in-demand position, you have a better chance of landing the job.
66. Make sure your certifications are up to date
Make sure all of your professional licenses and certifications are up to date, and be sure to list any relevant information on your resume. Potential employers may be looking for particular professional affiliations or achievements.
67. Keep a record
When you send out a resume or an application, make sure you keep a record of where you sent it, and to whom it was addressed. When you get a phone call for an interview, you will be able to refer back to your records and see exactly what resume and cover letter version you sent.
68. Follow up on your resume or application
When you send in a resume, make sure you follow up by phone in about a week. Sometimes a phone call can lead to a conversation which can lead to an interview. Don’t feel comfortable calling on the phone? Send an email instead but it isn’t as effective as talking to the right person. Consider carefully how to best manage a phone call to check the status of your job application.
Finding a New Job Part 6
69. Brush up on your interview skills
Take the time to work on your interview skills before you are in front of a prospective employer. Even just thinking about some of the things you want to discuss will help you prepare. Even better, do some role playing with a helpful partner prior to your interview.
70. Turn the tables on your interviewer
You can be sure the person interviewing you will check you out online and you should do the same for them. If you know the name of the person you are interviewing with, you can do a quick search to get a sense of what they are about.
71. Be confident
If you have had a string of “no responses” to your resumes, or worse, outright rejections, it is easy to lose confidence. Make sure you approach every application and interview as a new, fresh opportunity, and don’t be afraid to let your confidence and enthusiasm show.
72. Be prepared for some common questions
Interviewers seem to ask the same sort of questions, so be prepared for the most common ones. Queries like “Where do you see yourself in five years” or “What are your strengths and weaknesses” come up pretty often so be prepared with great answers.
73. Be prepared when you answer the phone
Be aware that any phone call could be from a potential employer. Make sure you answer your phone in a professional manner, and be prepared to talk. The interview starts the second you pick up the phone whether you realize it or not.
74. Turn the mobile phone off
You don’t want to make a choice during the interview to either ignore an incessantly ringing phone, or pick it up and have a conversation while you interviewer is waiting! Neither option presents a professional image.
75. Make a list and check it twice
Just like Santa, make your list before your interview. Come up with a list of questions you would like to ask about the company and be prepared to answer any questions they may have about your background.
76. Have a skeleton in your closet?
Be prepared to talk about the 6 month gap in your resume, or the reason you left your last position. Being prepared in advance allows you to focus on the new skills you acquired as a result of your time off, and not the reason for your dismissal.
77. Be positive
Even if your last boss was an absolute ogre, say something nice. Even “It was a wonderful learning experience” will work. Prospective employers don’t want to hear how horrible your last job was. Save that info for your friends and family to laugh over later.
78. Be truthful
Don’t claim to have degrees or experience you don’t. Getting caught in a fib can cause you to lose out on a great position or to lose a job once you have been hired. Presenting your experiences in the best light possible is okay. Outright lying is not.
79. Dress for success
Sound cliche? It is, but it works! Make sure you dress for the job you want to have. Even if you are not applying for a job in an office environment, make sure you have a professional and neat appearance. Presenting well can make the difference in whether or not you are hired or even the salary you are offered.
80. Use professional language
Even if you feel a connection with your interviewer, don’t slip into slang or use coarse language. You are still being evaluated by the person doing the interviewing, no matter how casual the environment. Don’t let a slip of the tongue affect your chances of being hired.
81. Find a mentor
A mentor can not only help you navigate the professional waters with ease, he or she may be able to steer you in the right direction career-wise. Most mentors are established professionals, and have great contacts. If you don’t have a mentor now, start searching for one today!
82. Remember your interviewers’ names
It sound silly, but commit your interviewers’ names to memory. Forgetting someone’s name is bad. Calling them by the wrong name is worse!
83. Be nice to everyone you talk to
Be especially nice to the “gatekeepers”, those people whose job it is to protect the higher ups from unsolicited calls. They have the power to put your call through, or dump you in voicemail for eternity. The person you think of as “just the receptionist” will probably be asked her opinion of you, so be nice on the phone and in person.
84. Be prepared for delays
Don’t schedule an interview just before a doctor’s appointment or something else that is time sensitive. You will be too antsy to leave to be able to concentrate on the interview. Interviews before yours can run overtime, or yours could run longer than expected.
85. Show up on time
Better yet, show up early. Leave your house a bit before you need to, and make sure you arrive on time. Showing up late will not present you in the best light, or secure you the job you want!
86. Have a lunch interview?
Brush up on your table manners and pass on the alcohol even if your host takes a drink. Order something that is easy to eat is a good idea as well. A job interview is not the best time for a messy burger or spaghetti neapolitan.
87. A second interview
If you did a great job on your first interview, take the time to do some more in-depth research and preparation. The questions may be a little harder for this round.
88. Send a thank you note
After you have had an interview, follow up with a brief “thank you” note or email a few days later. Not many applicants do, and it will keep you at the front of the pack of applicants.
89. Expect more than one interview
Companies have many applicants to weed through, and you may need to interview with more than one person before securing a new position. Don’t be surprised if you need to meet with several people, on several different occasions, before the offer comes in.
90. Inform your referees before a job interview
If your referees know about the job interview they can be prepared for phone call if the interviewers call them for a verbal reference. A referee that gives you a “so – so” review can really hurt your chances of getting that great new job!
91. Research pay rates for the job you want
Search online to get an idea what others in your field make. You should have an idea of what to expect, so you will know if an offer is a good one or not.
92. Read the materials you have been given
If you have been given information about the company benefits program, or other job details, read through them after the interview. A good benefits package can add thousands in value to your compensation package and a poor one can cost you in the long run.
Finding a New Job Part 7
93. Consider freelancing while you wait.
You will earn some extra money and freelance jobs can easily convert to regular, full-time positions.
94. Register with a temp agency
Temping may not be for you, but it will bring some money in and it will expose you to a whole new set of potential full-time employers, or allow you to gain experience in a new industry.
95. Teach what you know
Colleges often hire “adjunct professors”, people who are experts in their chosen fields, or who excel in a particular area. You do not need a teaching degree to work as an adjunct, and doing so can allow you to earn some extra money, and to increase your networking potential.
96. Do some research for jobs that are currently in high demand
Certain positions are always in high demand for different reasons so one of these fields may be worth considering while you are waiting for the right job to come along.
97. Look for “special interest” help
Are you ex-military or do you fall into a special interest category? If you do, there may be help available to you via your local employment commission or Veteran’s Affairs office. Be sure to check these avenues if you qualify.
98. Create your own job
Consider starting your own business, either consulting for your current field, or doing something entirely new. With your own business, the next time you use a job search engine you may be looking for employees of your own!
99. Consider a seasonal position
If you have lost your current job you may be able to secure a seasonal position which can bring in some income immediately. This would allow you the time you need to find the right permanent position. Some seasonal jobs convert to full-time positions as well, so keep your eyes open for year round openings with your seasonal employer.
100. Don’t just presume it is age discrimination!
Many older workers blame age discrimination when they don’t get the job they want. Certainly age discrimination exists. However often the problem lies with the job applicant. Be open to consider if the problem is something that you can easily fix: your resume, your personal presentation, giving the impression of not having kept up with changes in your industry or your interview skills. There is so much free help available. Follow the BoomersNextStep links from this article and you will probably be better informed than most of your competition. If you need more specific help contact a career counsellor or career coach, or follow a program designed to help you to succeed in the job market.
101. Don’t give up
It may take a while to find the right job, but the perfect job for you is out there and you will find it. While you are trying to get a job it is important that you keep a sense of purpose and motivation through your daily activities. Don’t get discouraged, and don’t stop trying to find the right position for you.