How to Find the Right Job

What steps should you take to find the right job? The past few weeks we’ve talked about other aspects of finding a new job, including deciding when to leave your current job and how to improve your resume. Here are a few suggestions on finding the right job:

1. Know what you want. We talked about how to figure out what job you want, and this is related. Do you want a long-term career or something you can work at for a few years while preparing for something else, such as a job when you’re in school? Or do you want a job that will allow you to make lots of money relatively quickly, but that you know you won’t enjoy for the rest of your life?

Do you want a part-time job so you can spend more time with your children?

Do you want a position where you can learn specific skills to prepare you for another job?

Give some thought to the specifics so you can target your search appropriately.

2.  Reach out to your personal network, both your online and your local contacts. Ideally you will have kept these contacts fresh over the months and years you weren’t looking for a job. If you haven’t, don’t pretend as though you’re contacting them for anything but the real reason you’re doing so.  You might want to acknowledge that you haven’t been good at keeping in touch, and that you’re now contacting them for a favor.  Better that than insulting their intelligence by pretending it’s for another reason.

3. Network in person. Go to chamber of commerce lunches, rotary club meetings, etc. Volunteer at events and for groups where you can make good contacts (and do something meaningful at the same time). Go golfing or participate in other activities where you can meet people and network. Let people meet you face-to-face and get to know you. Even with the internet, personal interaction still rules.  Without being pushy, let people know what you’re looking for.

4. Network online. Don’t neglect LinkedIn, especially local groups. Find newer online business groups, too, and network there (40billion.com seems relatively new and it might be easier to connect with people there than on larger, more established groups. Ditto with Mosaic Hub). Again, let people know you’re looking for a new position. Always keep in mind that the internet is very public, so make sure you don’t post anything publicly you don’t want your current employer to see. Use the message functions on the sites to connect one-to-one.

5. Apply online for jobs, preferably through company websites when possible. Monster.com and other sites are good, but taking the time to go to a company’s website to apply will give you an edge over other applicants.

6. Make phone calls. Some people will disagree with this, but as a recruiter, I found it to be very effective.  Even if you don’t get a return call, your name will be more familiar when your resume crosses their desk.  Calling the head of human resources is one idea, but better yet is to contact the head of the department you’ll be working in.  If you do get a return call, you’ll be making progress with the person who really counts.

Yes, getting past assistants can be an issue, so don’t even try. Be polite and friendly with the gatekeeper and leave a detailed message.

What do you say in the message? “I saw the position for [name specific job] on the [name of company] website. I’ll be submitting an application and I want you to know how interested I am.” Or take the informational interview approach “I’m in your field, and I’d love to learn more about what you do. Would it be possible to set up a time to talk for 15 minutes?”

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You might hit a brick wall, but it’s worth trying, and you’ll be showing a great deal of initiative and interest in their particular company. It’s easy to send emails, but this takes more time and effort.

Are you in a job you love? How did you find it? If not, what steps are you taking to change your situation?


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