10 Job Hunting Tips for the Broke and Unemployed

Networking, networking, networking.  We’ve all heard that stat that like, 99 percent of jobs aren’t listed – they’re found through networking.    Problem is, for most people, networking is about as welcome as near-pregnancies.
But now with more dogs employed than college students, you have to do something.   In fact, a 2010 MonsterCollege Survey from Monster.com found that more than half of students surveyed (52 percent) said they knew the economy would be a huge road block in finding a job, up from 40 percent in 2009; only 32 percent (down from 45 percent) think they’ll receive a starting salary higher than $36,000.
Sad but true: of those moving back home with mom and dad, 31 percent of those surveyed expect to live at home longer than one year.
With these numbers, you need to add some non-networking tips to your game plan.  If that doesn’t work, we hear the Red Cross is always looking for fresh young blood.
1.    Tweet Tweet
You may think that Twitter is a complete waste of time unless you care what Ashton Kutcher is up to, but the site is an insta-job-hirer if used right.  Sites like TweetMyJobs.com, TwitJobSearch.com and a slew of regional, industry, and niche sites are posting – and hiring – tweeters within minutes.  You cash in on this by replying to tweets with short links to your resume or by going directly to the tweet’s job post, which are posted on the company’s Twitter or Facebook feed.  Still confused?

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2.    Craigslist
It’s not just for finding nude housekeepers and the least-crazy roommates on the Web.   Nope.   While they have that too, Craigslist actually features high-quality, big-company jobs with one very big perk — desperation.  As in, these employers’ level of desperation is slightly higher than others, which could yield you a quicker response.  So while you’re on Craigslist looking for a girl, a car, free tickets and a used copy of today’s paper (“with a coffee stain on it”), why not throw “job” in there.   At least you’ll know someone’s on the other end.

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3.    Link Me Up, Scotty
While keeping a semi-professional Facebook page (a.k.a. don’t go all Michael Phelps reefer on us) and “Fan Paging” companies you like (that post jobs on their page), your real social networking site for jobs is LinkedIn.
Not only is your profile the go-to URL to your most truthful resume (‘cause it’s public), but the site also tells you who you know in connection to what companies – and jobs – you are searching for.  LinkedIn’s own job search engine is powered by SimplyHired and often links you to the hiring manager in your network.  It’s a catalog of citizens, but really, the only citizens most likely to help you.
Tip #2: Look up 20 companies that you want to work for on LinkedIn and see who works there within your network.  Find the company’s email format using Google, and with lots of guessing and testing, then email people directly.

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4.    Rewards Season
Times are tough and creativity wins the prize.  Message everyone you know and offer a reward to whomever helps you land a full-time job.  A friend of mine did this, and while it was odd, it showed tons of initiative and moxie.   (Most people just kinda sit on their ass.)  By offering a steak dinner and frequent flier miles in his plea, he got a slew of contacts, job forwards, and I think even a date.  Bottom line: Everyone should know that you’re looking, because if it’s who you know and not what you know, then you need everyone’s contacts, not just yours.

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5.    Fool-Proof Emails
One recent job hire applied to 10 jobs a day for months, finally landing a gig through Monster.com.  If sending out a million resumes like this and crafting concise, targeted cover letters to each, be careful:  The amount of wrongly addressed letters (to, ah hem, other companies) can be mind boggling.
The trick to writing better business emails is constructing them backwards.  Put the recipient’s email address in the subject line at first, until you are ready to send it.  How many times do things get send accidentally, unfinished?  It’s fine to your chump friends.  Not to future employers.
Attach your resume first, so you are sure to not forget.   Write the body.  Check the person’s name and company after all your copy and pasting from previous covers.  Then.  Cut the recipient’s email into the proper line.  And there you go.

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6.    School’s Alumni Network
Perhaps the real value of your degree lies here.   Try emailing alumni with a professional, slightly kiss-up overtone.  You want to hear all about their illustrious career and possibly get connected to their hirer for entry-levels (though you don’t actually say that).  Also mention where you have worked, your connections and if you can help them in any way.  Time is precious.  So give them something for theirs.

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7.    Volunteer to Not Look Desperate
Job hunting, done right, can be a terrible, terrible lonely process, admitted by a job placement professional.  So to get out of your head and score some real world cred (no need to note “volunteer” if work is legit), get a gig the easiest way – by working for free.   You don’t have to do it full-time, as you need to eat once in a while.  But stories abound about how people have either turned these jobs into full-time gigs or met great contacts to get them ahead.

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8.    Crash networking events
So, this one is a tad shady, but look up networking events on Google by city, industry, age-range (like ProsInTheCity.com) and just crash the paid event.  The key is to play dumb, which is very, very easy for most.  If it’s in a private room, sit at the bar or lounge area to catch someone of interest, or to see if you want to cough up the cash for the next event.  Or try a (totally legit and non-shady) free Meetup.com event for job seekers or within your biz.

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9.    All-in-One Job Sites
Apply to on-target job ads, but save time by using aggregate job search engines, those that troll thousands of job sites, including Monster and Craigslist plus thousands of company sites and hundreds of newspapers.  Some of the best are Mashable, Indeed, Simplyhired, and Jobster.com.

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10.    Buddy System
It’s not just for grade school trips to make sure your little butt didn’t wander off.  Looking for a job can be an overwhelming full-time job in itself.  So enlist a friend to search together without distractions, or remotely check in or update each other daily or weekly with 10+ posts that you’ve applied to or forwarded to each other.  It doesn’t take the suckage out of the process, but at least you’ll know you’re not the only one here.
If all else fails, sell your body.  They always need bodies for something.  (Kidding!)

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