At the end of last year, I lost my job. It was a pretty big shock, but one that I was prepared for, sort of. You see, I'm a worker. I get things done. I keep things simple, organized and focused. It is the only way I know how to do things. So when I found myself with about two months to land a gig, I put the following in action.
First step is get organized. Get your resume together. Check your LinkedIn to ensure that your paper resume is a carbon copy of your LinkedIn profile. Once you have your resume in order, make a list of companies you'd like to work. Write some talking points that will help you answer the typical questions you'll get in an interview: what do you want to do, what do you bring to the table, how would you approach this position, etc.
Be persistent in connecting with people in your network. Email everyone you know that you're on the job market. Make the emails personal so you're not spamming people. Send your connections on LinkedIn a message as well. Provide recommendations for people you worked with and ask them to provide you one as well on LinkedIn. Don't forget about Facebook and Twitter. Announce your search, what you're looking for, etc. Throw together a quick YouTube video that brings your resume to life and that you can point potential employers to when they ask for information about your work experience.
Use Google Docs to create a spreadsheet of your opportunities and jobs you've applied to. Keep track of every person you've connected with; what the gist of that conversation was; what the follow up action items might be; and, when/where the conversation happened.
Set up folders in your email to keep your conversations threaded. Trust me, after a while, you'll be flooded with sent items, replies, etc.
Use Evernote to help you store links to jobs, notes you take while on phone interviews, etc. Create a seperate notebook in Evernote that's called jobs in order to keep all your notes, links, etc. in one place.
Use Dropbox to have easy access to your resume on the fly, especially from your iPad or mobile device in case you need to send someone your resume when you're not as your desktop.
Everyone has professional connections. Use them. Set up coffees, lunches, dinners, etc. Let them know you're on the prowl for a new gig. See who they know and ask for them to make connections for your personally or through social networking. You're close connections will be your best assets in finding a job.
Finding a job is a daunting task. You can get into ruts. You'll get rejected. You'll get depressed. You'll look back at what you could have done to keep your past job. There's a lot of coulda, shoulda, woulda. But, once you realize you can only control what you can control, you get past some of the mental sticky stuff.
It's hard to stay positive, but the job you want will find you. Don't settle for just any old job. Be sure it meets the criteria you set forth at the front of the process and work through any issues that might not be optimal (as no job is truly perfect, i.e. bad commute, coffee stinks, etc.).
Treat it Like a Job
The last bit of advice I'd give is to treat finding a job like a job. Get up in the morning and start a routine. Shower, get ready so at a moments notice, you can be out the door and having coffee with a contact. Spend a certain amount of time searching job boards, replying to emails/tweets/FB and LinkedIn messages. Be sure to take breaks, i.e. a lunch, snack, water, etc. After a while, the process of sending out resumes gets daunting. Taking a break will keep you sane. Watch the clock so that around 5-6pm, you can call it quits. Just think; the people you're trying to convince to hire you have lives too. They go home at the end of the day and while they might be checking in on work, hiring someone might not be a priority between dinner and kiddie bed time. So, do you best job search work during the hours of work (considering times zones, especially if you're relocating).
These are just some things that helped me in my search and kept me sane. Yes, helped me, I said. I'm starting a new job this coming week at d50 Media as the Senior Manager of Integrated Communications.
How did I find the job?
Twitter. I sent out a few tweets looking for opportunities and someone I'm connected to, connected me with my future boss.
One tweet and an interview later, I had a job.