This article could be 10,000 words long. Consultants charge fees, actual MONEY you might not want to part with if you are unemployed, to give you training sessions.
This article, on the other hand, will be shorter. And free. None of it will be brain surgery.
How to find jobs.
Use the Internet; it’s your friend. For the most part. There’s LinkedIn, and potential employers put their jobs up on it. So, if you want a job in a Manhattan hotel, google “Manhattan hotel”; 764 come up. Google “Manhattan hotel jobs” and frighten yourself with the number that come up. Pick a few specific hotel names and check them out on LinkedIn – as I said, many put their jobs on LinkedIn. Sending resumes to resume@, jobs@, careers@, info@, HR@ often equates to BlackHole@ but don’t get disheartened. It works sometimes, otherwise the companies wouldn’t do it.
There’s Monster.com and CareerBuilder.com and a slew of websites that cull from a variety of sources. I think of them as Dog’sBreakfast.com (British slang for “a complete mess”) because they’re such a hotchpotch but, again, sometimes they work.
Staffing Services. Wasn’t I virtuous not putting this first, even though I work with one? We have lots of jobs, some of them already on external websites but, often, only available through us. Clients (clients to us, potential employers to you) don’t have the time/expertise to do their own recruiting, so they come to us. We know the clients, their needs, their salary thoughts, the specific minefields and so we can basically often be your best bet to finesse your way through the process.
Prepare a 30-second positioning statement /elevator pitch about yourself of where you were, are and want to be, and try to get contact interviews with executives who can help you with leads and useful intel. “I’d really appreciate 20 minutes of your time to help me with my job search” will more likely than not work. It is NOT a meeting to ask for a job. It’s networking and eventually may lead indirectly to a job. Networking to find a new job could be an article by itself. If anyone is interested in my expanding my thoughts, let me know.
Keep in touch with former colleagues, both senior and junior, send them reminders every so often – once a month is more than enough – to let them know you’re available for work if they know of anything through their contacts. Hallmark has made billions selling cards so that people can stay in touch; thanks to the Internet, you can do it for free.
How to apply for jobs
•To keep this less-than-book-length, I shall not treat you, my regular readers (regular readers? Hahaha) as though you have never applied for a job before. I shall merely highlight a few of the pitfalls.
•Read the job spec. Apply only to those jobs which approximate to your own particular experience and qualifications. If they’ve written “must have a PhD in Neuro-Linguistic Programming” they probably mean it. If you truly, truly think your experience equates to the job’s “must have” requirements, then explain why you’re right and they’re too rigid, in a cover letter. You have one bullet point and three or four lines to make your case. Make it compelling.
•Talking of compelling, it is worth spending time on your cover letter to highlight the particular experience or achievements that will be specific for that job. Changing resumes for each job is time-consuming, won’t necessarily have the same impact as a very specific cover letter and may well leave you confused if you’re applying for a ton of jobs.
•“Please Don’t Eat the Daisies” (Jean Kerr, 1957) — a humorous book written by a harassed mother of six. On a rare evening out, she left instructions (“Don’t kill the babysitter”) that she thought were all-inclusive. It hadn’t dawned on her to tell the children not to eat the daisies from the flower arrangement on the dining room table. Some stuff shouldn’t have to be stated but alas….
•For example, check that the details in the cover letter match those for the job. Can’t believe I had to write that sentence. “Dear Mr Smith… the Acme Roofing Company… administrative assistant” when it should be “Dear Ms Jones… Tony’s Auto Repair Shop… office manager”. I have changed the names but I didn’t make it up.
•A general cover letter that clearly is being sent to everyone for every job is nearly as bad. Personalize them.
•One page is sufficient. Make it concise and easy to read i.e. use bullet points – four or five are optimal. At the end, thank the recipient for the chance to apply and politely suggest you will be following up with a telephone call (unless you’ve been told no telephone calls). “I await your response” is more likely to lead to tears at bedtime. When do you decide that no response for a few days/couple of weeks means they will never respond.