I was struck by a conversation I had with a gentleman yesterday about his job search. He mentioned that it had been some time since he really had to look - every other job was found by way of referral or through former partners and vendors. He was certainly fortunate that way, but not atypical. He continued to say that he is far more comfortable calling people than he is updating his online "profile" or trying to connect with people on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook for his job search.
I see poll after poll (and probably developed one myself at some point) asking - what is the best way to find a job and then there are a series of possible options to include:
- social networking
- use a recruiter (my personal favorite and a highly under rated resource)
- etc, etc, etc
If you are looking for a job, the absolute best way to find one is to check “yes” to each one of these. Don't stop with this list, follow the advice of our sample guy and call some people while you are it. I remember before I went to work at PetSmart in 1996, I would wake up, shower, shave and put on a shirt and loose-fitted tie (no jacket, I live in Phoenix now, for God's sake) and call businesses from the Yellow Pages asking if they needed someone just like me. Seriously. And guess what, it did not land me the job I ultimately found. That job was found when I went into my after “lunch” routine of driving around my new home and knocked on doors--still with my loose-fitted-sans-jacket look--and filled out applications with the receptionist. And guess what, that did not land me the job either. What did? I sat down and said, there are three things I absolutely would open today if I had the money - a hardware store (went to the area Lowe's and Home Depot and collected my applications), a gas station (not sure why that one even entered my mind, but I rarely saw them closing down in 1996!) and a pet store. Not being from Phoenix and in 1996 PetSmart was still small enough to not really be 'known' outside of Phoenix, I decided that the "pet store" called PetSmart at Bell Rd and 19th Avenue looked like another perfect candidate.
I walked in—and who happened to be working there that night, but the former college recruiter for the company. He wasted no time in having me complete the application (still wearing my loose tie at 8 p.m. and, yes, I brought my own pen) and interviewed me in between getting called to the front office while cashiers were counting down their registers.
Lo and behold I found my home for the next three years - placed immediately into their newly created "management training program" which started at $4.25 per hour. I was employed and happy for the paycheck.
How long did this process take? 3 months and 4 days.
1996, people - no internet that was worthy of trying to find a job. No LinkedIn and certainly no Twitter (pretty sure you could get arrested for even saying "I just tweeted" in public in 1996).
In other words, what used to work still would work, but very few people still do it. What works today also works today, but most everybody is doing that and ONLY that.
So what is the absolute BEST way to find a job. Do everything you can to stand out - all kinds of things, talk to people about what is working for them and ask yourself - When the 'crutch' that we all might be too dependent on today wasn't yet there, what did you do? Do that!!