Years ago, the unemployed really looked forward to Sunday – and not just because they could pray for their luck to change. No, Sunday meant a big, fat newspaper with pages of promising classified ads. You’d bang out a couple of cover letters, fold them into envelopes with your resume, slap on some stamps and head to the nearest mailbox.
Well, with newspapers going the way of the wooly mammoth you’re fortunate if you find a handful of decent want ads these days. What used to be a primary go-to source is essentially an afterthought. Let’s face it – job hunting changed dramatically following the Great Recession. And utilizing career websites, social media and networking isn’t enough to snag a good job. The experts say you need to separate yourself from the field.
Paul Hill, a professional recruiter and author of The Panic Free Job Search, says applying for jobs on line is an exercise in futility. He suggests that you create a dynamic “ProfessionaliBrand,” an online profile that will promote your strengths and attract potential employers. Think of it as your own personal marketing campaign.
“Employers do not hire people based (just) on what they do … but based on who they are,” Hill writes. “They only hire you if they feel they know you, like you and trust you.”
OK, fine. But as Hill points out, job hunting can be frustrating and ego deflating. You send out multiple applications and don’t even get a phone call. Just getting an interview feels like a major accomplishment. You start to question your ability; your self-confidence plummets and it’s difficult to remain optimistic. Hill believes that before you can even assemble a compelling profile, you need to restore your self-confidence and overcome negative thinking. Look into yourself. Figure out what you really want.
Says Hill: “Feelings of rejection, failure and fear creep into everyone’s psyche at times and can stop you from moving forward, and will remain there unless you know how to turn those feelings around.”
Once you feel surer of yourself and are ready to proceed, Hill recommends that you consider creating your own website with blogs, pictures and videos. At the very least, he insists that you have a comprehensive LinkedIn profile; otherwise “you do not exist as a professional.”
Darrell Gurney is another author with an unorthodox approach to job hunting. In Never Apply for a Job Again, Gurney says you can create opportunities by making connections through a “stealth” job campaign. In other words, look for a job without giving away your intentions. Never tell anyone that you’re job hunting and be sure to connect with people in all walks of life, whether they’re in a position to hire you or not.
“In many ways, the universe is conspiring for our highest and greatest good,” Gurney writes, “but we are unaware of that fact because we tend to stay secluded, private and afraid in our own little world.”
If being aggressive is a challenge – plus you’re a newbie to the job market – you may want to consider Planted, a free app that can help you find employment. Formerly known as Lynxsy, Planted is designed to match recent college graduates with non-technical openings at start-up companies.
Any way you look at it, finding a job is hard work.