Friday, October 23, 2009

3 Job Search Mistakes Everybody Makes

If you’re willing to go against the crowd, get a little uncomfortable and stop hiding behind your computer screen, I think you’ll have a much shorter job search than most. Getting offline means:

• Pick up the phone.
• Pick it up again after no one calls you back.
• Deal with people who may not want to talk to you.
• Ask for recommendations and introductions.
• Go to a lot of coffee meetings and informational interviews.
• Make a list of companies you’d like to work for then use online tools to see who is connected to those companies. Once you connect with them, take the relationship offline.
• Stop judging your progress by the number of online job applications you sent into a random company where you know no one. Instead, monitor your progress based on how many meetings you set up.
• Set up meetings with all of your favorite professors. Chat, listen and get career advice. Maybe they will introduce you to some great people too.
• Go to a lot of events whether they are networking events, Greek life events, campus speakers, or parties (true story: I got a job offer by connecting with someone at a party). You can rock an event even if you are super shy. More on this in the guide.
• Ask everyone you meet a lot of questions about themselves and what they do. People love talking about themselves. The more you talk about them, the more they like you and want to help you.

• You’ll also learn a lot of things about a lot of industries by talking to people. Regardless of if their industries are similar to yours, having these discussion will broaden your perspective and conversations when you start interviewing.
• Don’t say “I need a job” when you are engaging in these offline activities. Rather, ask them about their job. • Email authors, bloggers, speakers and introduce yourself.
• Talk to people at the bar, at Cubs games, and on the treadmill (another true story: I have made serious career connections at all 3 of the mentioned locations).
• Tap into your Greek system or alumni network. For people like me that are still obsessed with their sorority and college, receiving an email from a current student would make my day. I’m sure many others feel the same.
• Disarm people you meet by asking, “what would you do if you were in my shoes?”

Job searching is like dating. If you’re looking to date with the intention of finding a partner, you can use online tools to meet people, but after that it has to be taken offline to lead to something more.

If you’re in the dating game, you don’t just sit in your apartment hoping someone will magically ring the doorbell and appear (or at least I hope not).

Dating is a process of meeting people, getting to know people, getting rejected, finding out what you want and don’t want, and getting yourself out there. Apply the same strategies here.

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