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10 Out Of The Box Job Hunting Tips

Creative strategies

If you are out of work this presents a problem because there is often a large quantity of qualified applicants seeking a given job.

In these times, it is more important than ever to think outside of the box when applying for jobs.

Here are 10 creative job hunting tips:

1) Know what positions are available at a company

Before you can try to work for a company, you need to figure out what job openings the company has.  Once you know this you can focus your energy on trying to get that specific job. You can look on a company website to see what job openings a company has. However, the best strategy would be to speak to someone who works at the company as often times companies don’t update their websites with every potential and available job opening.

2) Use LinkedIn and use it well

LinkedIn is widely recognized as the best social network for career professionals. LinkedIn can be utilized as a great resource to connect with people at a company that you are interested in working for. The key on LinkedIn is to compile as many direct connections to other professionals that you can.  More direct connections will convert into more secondary connections.

So, if you want to work for Facebook, and you have 200 LinkedIn connections, there is a chance that one of your connections has a connection with someone working at Facebook. This secondary connection can then be leveraged by you to get introduced to the respective person that works at Facebook. And, as we all know - knowing someone who works at the company which you are applying to - can greatly increase your odds of securing the job.

3) Take a look at resume samples

Before finalizing your resume, it is wise to take a look at resume samples. By reviewing other resumes, you can get ideas for ways to improve the content and look and feel of your resume. Looking at resume samples often helps you to identify specific areas where you can improve your expertise or enhance the way you present yourself to potential employers.

4) Be creative about how you use Twitter

You can utilize Twitter to look for jobs in several ways, one of the most creative ways is to use Twitter to locate and contact someone at a given company. You can use Twellow to search Twitter profiles.  Search for the company that you want to work for - and you may find someone who has a profile
that says, Director of Biz Dev for company X.

Now that you found that person, you can follow them on Twitter hoping that they follow you back so that you can DM them.Or you can mention them in the hopes they will then get in touch with you. Also, sometimes people include their email address in their profile so you can contact them that way. Either way, Twitter offers a creative way to develop a contact, as the person may appreciate your hard work and creativity in getting in touch with them.

5) Consider different types of jobs

You don’t want to have tunnel vision and only look for one type of job.  Especially with the unemployment rate being what it is - you have to think about a few different types of job titles to consider. When you have a few different areas you are considering - it will open up a wide range of options for yourself and you’ll end up getting more interviews and call-backs.  And remember, each interview is an opportunity to not only get a job but also to develop key contacts within an organization.

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20 Ways to Stay Motivated During Your Job Search

The longer you look for a job, the tougher it becomes. Who could blame you for feeling despondent, discouraged, depressed—even bitter? Some days you may not even feel like getting out of bed.

Unfortunately, not only is depression, well, depressing, it also makes it harder to get out there and look. And the less you get out and look, the less likely a job offer will come your way. Even worse, prospective employers tend to be turned off by negativity. It’s the most dastardly kind of Catch-22.

What all this means is that a major part of anyone’s job hunt is staying motivated. We all have our ways of keeping on keeping on, but here are some time-tested suggestions to prevent your search from getting you down:

1. Join a job-search group. It’s a reason to get out of the house and a venue to vent. You may even get some great feedback on your presentation, resume, cover letter, etc.

2. Socialize with employed friends. It’s a reminder that jobs do exist. Besides, these are the folks most likely to know about available positions and upcoming openings.

3. Limit your exposure to the news. Yes, you do need to know what’s going on in the world, but you don’t need to wallow in the latest dismal job-market reports.

4. Invigorate yourself through hobbies or sports. These can be activities you already love or, better yet, something new and exciting.

5. Avoid “glass-is-half-empty” folks. Everyone knows people like this. Minimize your exposure to them as much as you can.

6. Hang out with people who make you feel good about yourself. Find and stick with friends and family who respect you, who like you for who you are, and who are positive and upbeat.

7. Expand your network every single day. The growth of your professional network is a better way to measure progress than how many interviews you have each week.

8. Expose yourself to media that inspire you. Choose books, blogs, magazines, movies, and TV that uplift you and make you feel the world is a wonderful place.

9. Read biographies of successful people. It can help enormously to realize that every successful person encountered failures and setbacks along the way. Every single one.

10. Try new (to you) job-search techniques. Go for an informational interview or switch your resume from chronological to functional. A different approach may breathe new life into your hunt.

11. Get a mentor. If you have a mentor, get a second one. You’re allowed to have as many as you want or need. Mentors offer perspective, advice, and encouragement.

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Who to Ask for a Reference

When an employer checks references, the first place they are going to check with is your previous employer. However, not all companies provide references for employees. In fact, some companies may only confirm that you worked at the company and confirm your dates of employment.

Who to Ask for a Reference

That’s why it’s important to have a list of professional references, in addition to employment references, that you can provide to employers. Who should you ask to provide references? Supervisors and colleagues (if company policy permits) may be able to provide a reference for you.

Business contacts, customers, clients, vendors, and other individuals you have a professional relationship with can be used as references.

Professional vs. Personal References

In addition to professional references, personal references, also known as character references, can be used for employment purposes.

Neighbors and family friends may be willing to write a reference for you. Teachers, professors, academic advisors, volunteer leaders, coaches, can all provide personal references.

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Acing the Behavioral Interview

“The most accurate predictor of future performance is past performance in a similar situation.”

This statement is the premise behind behavioral interviewing, an interviewing technique created in the 1970s by industrial psychologists. This style of interview is becoming popular with employers, and it can be a challenging experience.

You’re likely to face the technique on job interviews and you should be prepared to confront it the right way.

Traditional interviewing calls upon the candidate to state opinions: “Tell me about yourself.” “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” “Why do you want to work for this company?” By contrast, behavioral interviewing requires job candidates to relate stories about how they handled challenges related to the skill sets the company requires for the position.

For example, if a job requires strong communication and team-building skills, an interviewer might ask candidates to recount past experiences where they explained new plans that brought a team together. Behavioral interview questions often start with phrases like, “Tell me about a time when ...” or “Describe a situation in which ... “ or “Give me an example of ...”

While your skills and experiences could be a perfect match for the position, you could lose out if you can’t validate them with relevant anecdotes.

So how do you prepare for a behavioral interview?

First, you’ll want to put yourself in the shoes of the employer and imagine what the ideal candidate for the position would answer from the interviewer’s perspective.

Then, take the time to review thoroughly the job description and research the company and its culture. Look for cues about skills necessary for the job and valued by the organization. Next, think about the sorts of behavioral questions an interviewer might ask to determine those skills.

Here are a few examples of skill sets and some behaviorally focused interview questions aimed at surfacing them.

Decision Making and Problem Solving
■Describe a situation in which you used good judgment and logic to solve a problem.
■Give me an example of a time when you had to be quick in coming to a decision.
Leadership
■Have you ever had trouble getting others to agree with your ideas? How did you deal with the situation, and were you successful?
■Describe the most challenging group from which you’ve had to gain cooperation.
Motivation
■Tell me about a time when you went above and beyond the call of duty.
■Give me an example of a situation in which you positively influenced the actions of others.
Communication
■Describe a situation in which you were able to communicate with another individual who did not personally like you (or vice versa).
■Describe a time you had to use written communication to convey an important argument or idea.
Interpersonal Skills
■Give me examples of what you’ve done in the past to nurture teamwork.
■Give an example of an unpopular decision you’ve made, what the result was and how you managed it.
Planning and Organization
■When scheduling your time, what method do you use to decide which items are priorities?
■Describe how you’ve handled a sudden interruption to your schedule.
Once you’ve determined which behavioral-based questions you might be asked during an interview, look back on your past experiences and develop stories to answer those questions. Your stories should be detailed yet succinct, and they should always include the following three elements:

1.A description of a specific, real-life situation or challenge you encountered.
2.A description of the specific tasks and actions you took to overcome that challenge.
3.A summary of the results of those actions. (Try to quantify these results whenever possible.)
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7 Ways to Move Up by Moving Over

Are you looking for that next career challenge but unsure how to get there? Climbing the corporate ladder might not be the only way. Today more than ever, a career detour just might lead to your career destiny. At every level — including the top — professionals, managers, and executives-in-waiting commonly zigzag through several lateral lurches before stepping up to their destination position.

Why has lateral become the new way to the top? The recession is partly to blame — the hierarchy in many companies flattened and compressed during the recession, effectively eliminating rungs that were previously part of the expected climb.

Because of this reality, it has become more important to “think sideways.” If you don’t plan ahead by considering lateral rotations as part of your career development plan, you may end up stuck on your current ladder rung indefinitely, unless you find a way to take a larger-than-usual step up. Yet paradoxically, exceptional advancement is less likely if you haven’t taken the time to boost your experience and confidence with lateral moves.

Cheryl Palmer, career coach and founder of Call to Career, suggested a helpful analogy: “If you’re stuck in a traffic jam and it may be hours before you’re able to move forward, it makes sense to change lanes and exit on a side road where you can more quickly navigate around it. Sitting in the traffic jam and fuming doesn’t get you anywhere.”

For advice on how to effectively turn a side step into a step up, TheLadders asked several career-development experts to weigh in:

1. Make It Make Sense. Without a strategic career path, lateral moves can become merely a merry-go-round. Joanne Cleaver, author of the new book The Career Lattice: Combat Brain Drain, Improve Company Culture, and Attract Top Talent, suggested you must proactively plot your own career plan to make sense of diagonal and lateral moves. “Your employer won’t do it for you, so the first thing to know is that it’s up to you to pursue and land opportunities that advance your career agenda,” said Cleaver.

A great place to start is to envision your next “up” move, and then reverse-engineer the qualifications you need to make a serious run for that position. Cleaver recommended assessing your current experience and skill set to determine what you might need to get where you want to go.

“Ask yourself: Am I lacking hands-on operational experience? Proven expertise in a business skill, such as client retention? A working knowledge of a relevant slice of technology? What skill set would tee up my success in that position?” suggested Cleaver. By comparing the skills required by your next-step job to the skills you currently have, you’ll quickly see the gaps that a lateral move can fill.

2. Do What Needs to Be Done. Your informal self-assessment will likely uncover areas where your skills could be stronger to get you to the next level. Determine specific strategic actions that will help you reach your career goals faster.

“If you are a project manager who wants to become a department manager, you might need two things: a stronger network outside your department so that your reputation is already established with your potential new peers, and broader exposure to customers and clients so you can show that you can drive growth as well as get work accomplished,” said Cleaver.

In this case, she suggested considering a short-term rotation to cultivate relationships with other departments and functions, or working on an assignment that puts you and your team on a customer-facing project.

3. Volunteer Strategically. It can be difficult to find time for volunteer projects in the midst of your primary career responsibilities. But strategic volunteering can be a powerful way to rapidly expand your network of influencers and to backfill business skills, according to Cleaver.

To spin community service into an opportunity for lateral rotation, Cleaver suggested joining an organizational committee whose volunteers complement—yet don’t duplicate—your existing network. Look to your current skills for a logical toehold (for example, if you work in marketing, join the marketing committee).

“Your end game is to transition to an assignment that builds your business skills, once your credibility is established,” explained Cleaver. “So a marketing exec, needing operational and financial management experience, might volunteer to co-chair an annual appeal.” Such assignments tee up results-driven case studies for employees to bring back to their day job, illustrating business skills that prove their qualification for general management.

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3 Critical Questions To Ask Yourself Before Building Your Personal Brand

Although lots of people associate personal branding with the sexy stuff – speaking publicly, being featured in articles, publishing a Blog, there is an important part of the branding process that has to be achieved before all the visibility and accolades start rolling in. The first step? You must be clear about your unique promise of value – your brand.

Here are three important questions to answer before writing blogs, creating your video bio, or signing up to speak at your local professional association. Your brand lives at the intersection of your answers to these questions:

1. What makes me great?
Brands are built around superlatives. W has the hippest hotels. Volvo builds the safest cars. Apple is the most innovative. Paris is the world’s most romantic city. Nordstrom provides the best customer service.

What do you do better than anyone else? What’s your superpower? To find out, think about what’s innate:  what are you naturally good at?  What do people routinely ask you to help them with?  If you exhibit your strengths regularly, ask the people who know you well. They can clue you in and help you discern your innate superpower. Sometimes we are so good at something and it comes to us so easily, we don’t realize how valuable it is to those around us.2. What makes me unique?

If there is nothing unique about your strengths, you’re merely a commodity. You must know what makes you stand out from the myriad others who do what you do. It could be your point of view or your expertise in a niche area. It might be a personality characteristic, endemic trait or quirk. Or it could relate to how you get things done – your unique way of producing results. If what you do and how you do it are no different from everyone who shares your job title, you have very little leverage. Why would someone choose you over the others who share your capabilities?

To answer this question, try out this brief but insightful exercise: Get a sheet of paper and draw a line down the center vertically. On the top left, write SAME and on the top right, write DIFFERENT. Then, think about others who perform the same work as you, especially the ones who are striving for similar goals. In the left column, record what you have in common with them. You might include things like having the same degree, accumulating a similar number of years of experience, or having the same job title. Then on the right side, identify the traits and other concepts that differentiate you. You might include items like personality characteristics, life experiences, or communication styles. This brings to light the personal aspects of your identity that make you a unique individual.

3. What makes me compelling?

To answer this question, you first need to find out who needs to know you. Who is making decisions about you? Who can benefit from your services? Personal branding is not about being famous. It’s about being selectively famous. That means being known to just those people who need to know you so you can reach your goals. You would exhaust yourself if you tried to stay visible to everyone. Personal branding requires focus. And that focus should be aimed at your target audience. Your target audience is made up of decision makers, those who influence them, and the people you need to surround yourself with so you can deliver results for your company or clients.

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Are Your Emails Too Long? (Hint: Probably)

The Gettysburg Address was 271 words long.

Yesterday, I received an email on a company policy change regarding coffee and tea selection that was 350.

I know—coffee’s important. But if Lincoln was able to eloquently tell a divided nation about the importance of humanity and equality in 271 words, I think we should be able to send work-related emails that are just a little bit shorter.

A lot of times, we’re afraid to be brief in emails because we don’t want to sound mean, or because we think we need to give a lot of information or directions to get our point across. And that’s fair. But I think we’d all agree that less email would make our working lives a whole lot easier. And that starts with making each one just a little bit shorter.

Here’s a quick and easy guide to keeping your emails short and sweet (without sounding like a jerk).

Cut the Fluff
I get a lot of emails that start off with fluff. And while, sure, it’s pleasant, it can also be a waste of time, especially if I don’t really know you, or if I’m going to see you in a meeting at 4 PM.

In other words, you don’t need to start every email telling people that you hoped they had a good weekend. Unless you’re truly reaching out to someone to catch up, let’s just assume that we all hope everyone had a good weekend, is looking forward to the upcoming one, and is generally doing well. And then get down to business.

Cut Out Extra Words
We all add extra words to our writing from time to time for a variety of reasons. It makes the transitions smoother. It softens tough language. Sometimes, it makes us sound smarter.

In email, though, your job is not to craft the world’s most perfect letter, it’s to communicate quickly and easily. In fact, I challenge you to remove any words or phrases that aren’t absolutely necessary.

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How To Follow Up After A Job Interview

Sarah Stamboulie, a New York career consultant, had a young Japanese client whose work visa was due to expire in just six weeks. The man was determined to find work at a hedge fund that would allow him to stay in the U.S., but he spoke with a strong accent, his written English was poor, and he had made a weak impression at job interviews. Stamboulie, who has worked in human resources departments for both corporations and nonprofits, encouraged him to follow up with an interviewer at a Japan-based fund who had already turned him down. Impressed by the young man’s persistence, the hiring manager recommended him to another Japanese fund that had an opening. Stamboulie’s client got the job. “It was like a semi-hostile referral, but it worked,” she recalls.

Lesson learned: Following up on a job interview is crucial. Even if you blow the interview, it pays to get in touch after the fact.

Ideally your interviews always go smoothly, and after each one you craft an effective note thanking the interviewer for the time, expressing enthusiasm and making it clear you listened closely to the hirer’s requirements. “The follow-up letter is almost like a proposal letter,” Stamboulie says. You should tailor it to the company and suggest specific ways you can address the needs you discussed when you met.

Roy Cohen, author of The Wall Street Professional’s Survival Guide: Success Secrets of a Career Coach, agrees that a follow-up note should always focus on what the hiring manager’s looking for. “You should say, ‘I listened, I understand your needs and your challenges, and here’s how I can help you address those,’” he says. Concisely remind the interviewer of what you’ve accomplished in the past, and make a couple of concrete suggestions for how you can help the company.

Do send the follow-up note as soon as possible. “If you don’t, someone else may send a message more quickly,” Cohen advises. If you don’t have time to craft a longer note, consider sending a short thank-you immediately, mentioning that you want to give further thought to the challenges you discussed and promising to send a more in-depth message soon.

Do send e-mails rather than handwritten notes, Stamboulie and Cohen agree. “People say that snail mail stands out, but it stands out for the wrong reason,” Cohen says. “It will make you look like a dinosaur.”

If you’ve met with more than one person in the interview process, think about what will make for an appropriate note to each, Cohen advises. For instance, if you interviewed with someone who would be reporting to you if you get the job, you can say something like, “It sounds like you’re working on some interesting projects. It would be great to have you as a colleague.”

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Eight Surprising Rules That Will Get You The Job

At 76 years old, Bill Ellermeyer is an elder statesman of the job search world. He founded an Irvine, Calif. outplacement firm in 1981, which he sold to staffing firm Adecco Adecco in 1990, then ran that office as a division of Adecco subsidiary Lee Hecht Harrison until going out on his own as an independent coach in 2004. He specializes in what he calls “career transitions” for people who have lost their jobs at the executive level, mostly from the c-suite or as vice presidents. Some of his clients have been out of work for more than a year when they come to him. He pushes them until they find a new position. After three decades in the career coaching business, he’s come up with eight rules, some counter-intuitive, that he says promise to land his clients a job.

1. Stop looking for a job.
Too many unemployed people equate looking for a job with sending out a résumé or answering an ad on a job board. “If you send out 500 résumés to friends, family and companies, nobody is going to take the time to help you,” he says. The only time you should send a résumé is when you’ve established there is a real job at a company for which you’re being considered, or a headhunter is trying to fill an open position and requests one. Instead of presenting yourself as an out-of-work job seeker, come across as a resource. Let people know you can solve problems. Approach your job hunt as a search for quality relationships. Instead hand out business cards that portray you as a consultant.

2. Stop working on your résumé.
You need to have a printed résumé but increasing numbers of employers prefer to just look at your LindedIn profile. Also many companies just want the basic facts about your career, rather than a long, carefully crafted story about you in the form of a C.V. I’m not sure I agree with Ellermeyer on this point, but I like his basic advice: Your résumé should be clean, clear, simple and no more than two pages. It makes sense to update it when you’ve made a major accomplishment, like increasing sales by 75% in your department or in journalism, writing a cover story. But you should be able to make those fixes in a few minutes. Do keep your LinkedIn LNKD -0.18% profile up to date.

3. Hold your elevator speech.
“After 20 seconds, no one can remember your elevator speech,” contends Ellermeyer. Instead, he recommends telling a story about yourself that runs for 60-90 seconds. “People remember stories,” he says. “Nobody wants to hear facts and figures.” You should come up with a short, possibly humorous moniker for yourself. Ellermeyer calls himself a “connector.” One of his clients branded himself “rent-a-CFO,” and then told a story about how he had gone from project to project over the last year, and how he had found success at each job. Other possible short-hand titles: IT Problem-Solver, Deal Finder, Resource Solution-Finder.

4. Don’t talk about yourself.
Instead of leading a conversation with the latest news about your life, says Ellermeyer, “find out how you can serve other people.” Be inquisitive about others and when you learn about them, try to suggest a book or article they may want to read or an event they might want to attend. Many people think that networking requires that they list their accomplishments. But it can be much more effective to ask others about their interests and needs.

5. Don’t go to networking events.
Instead try hosting them yourself. Form your own breakfast group of eight or ten people. In other words, create your own network with people you hand-select. Though it’s tempting to sit at your computer and meet virtually, make the effort to get together face-to-face.

Move up http://i.forbesimg.com t Move down How To Write A Cover Letter Susan Adams Forbes Staff How To Follow Up On A Job Interview Susan Adams Forbes Staff
6. Take breaks.
The job search process can make us pretty emotional, especially when you go on the fifth interview and then you’re told that the firm has hired someone else. “Don’t take your downers to the outside world,” advises Ellermeyer. If you’re having a bad day, do research or catch up on email. I agree with this piece of advice but I also have to acknowledge that it can be awfully tough to keep your spirits up if you’ve been job hunting for a long time with no success. A single day off may help but you might need to seek more support from family and friends.

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How Volunteering Can Land You a Job

The transition between careers, whether you’re new to the job market or not, is difficult for anyone. Further, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to actually get your foot in the door if you’re not familiar with influencers in your industry. So, how can you land the job of your dreams if you’re feeling a little helpless? How about volunteering within your industry?

Just like interning, volunteering gives you the opportunity to gain experience while building up your resume. However, volunteering differs from interning since many people work for organizations that deal with charitable causes. Further, volunteering is great between projects not just for its humanitarian aspects, but also for its professional brand benefits.

But, can volunteering actually land you a job? Yes. Here’s how:

Network. If you were working in an organization day after day, making powerful connections and leads, you’d find it beneficial, right? Further, you’d probably do as much as you can to show off your skills in order to promote your professional brand. Guess what? That’s networking. As with any other activity, networking while volunteering can help you connect with people internally and externally, which may land you a link to a potential career. Think about making a real effort to get to know the people you’ll be volunteering with.

Additionally, you should probably try to help others with their own agendas as well since networking works both ways. Regardless though, the more people that know about your job search the better, so try to network as much as possible.

Move up within the organization. More times than not, people move up within an organization because of their attachment to it, like who they know or how long they’ve been there. If you have volunteered at a particular organization for an extended period of time and you’ve impressed high-ranking individuals, it may be easier to actually land a job within the company.

So, if you are aware of a job opening, you may want to express your interest, while at the same time showing that you can actually do it well. How? Think about helping the organization reach its goals to the best of your ability, even if you are a volunteer. Your drive, as well as your passion for the cause, will probably impress management, making it easier to land a job within the company.

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