Whether you’re fresh out of college, looking to switch jobs or an experienced pro looking for a change, job searching is tough and no one really enjoys it. If you’re currently unemployed and actively seeking a new opportunity to sink your teeth into, the search often feels endless and frustrating. Time seems to pass by both rapidly, as the weeks fly off you calendar while you send resume after resume, and terribly slowly, as the days drag on while you check your email and phone hoping for good news.
So, yea, job searching is a headache, but that’s not news to anyone. It’s also not incredibly helpful information, unless you’re into pity parties. What is helpful is knowing how to improve your job searching situation.
To help, here is the PR Girl’s guide to job searching – some tips and tricks to make it a bit less painful. Don’t worry – “check all these job boards” is not one of my suggestions!
PR Girl’s Guide to Job Searching
Do your research.
You may want to apply for every job posting that is public relations, communications or marketing focused just because you’re worried, but don’t. That’s right – don’t apply to every job you find. Instead, take all the positions you do find and do some research. Look at the company, the employees, social media, news, etc. Don’t forget to check Glassdoor for employee reviews and salary information as well. If you did your research and the job description sounds like something you’d like to do, then apply. Be sure not to take to long researching, though, or else the job might slip away.
Make a dream list.
No, I don’t mean a dream journal but rather a list of companies, positions and people that are career aspirations for you. Write them all down, research them and make a plan on how you’ll get there. See if companies have any open opportunities for which you’re a good fit or reach out to someone whose career you are inspired by and make the connection
Set up informational interviews.
This can be a bit intimidating, since you’re the one reaching out and initiating contact. Reach out first to a warm connection – a fellow alum, former professor or colleague, friend of a friend, someone already in your network – who knows someone at the place you’d like more information on and ask them for the introduction. Instead of cold calling, this is a great way to get a friendly introduction and explain what you’d like to learn more about and why you want to meet with them specifically. Once you’ve sorted out the details of when and where, make sure you do your research (hopefully you’ve already done some before reaching out!) and head into the interview confident and ready to learn. Don’t forget to thank them for their time at the end and follow up with a pleasant thank you email or card.
Let your network know.
Your friends and loved ones want to see you succeed and help you out. Let them know that you’re looking for a new opportunity and that you’d appreciate any help they could give. Whether it’s mom, dad, your friends from college or that aunt who seems to know everyone, having a few more sets of eyes and ears out there looking for you is never a bad thing and you never know where an opportunity might come from.
However, if you’re not ready to let everyone (including your current employer) know that you’re looking for a job, keep it off social media. A good way to say you’re interested in learning more about new opportunities without saying that you’re actively looking for a new job is to include a sentence or two in your LinkedIn summary to that effect, along with an email address inviting people to contact you.
Meet up with mentors and trusted advisors.
Just because you graduated doesn’t mean your professors and advisors no longer care about you. Keep in touch with them and reach out when it’s appropriate. Same for former colleagues, fellow members of a professional organization or anyone else in your field or a related one. When you’re looking for a new job, these can be your greatest assets in fine-tuning your approach and finding the perfect position for you.
Make sure to spruce up your application materials.
If you’re totally new to the job search, this is one of the first things you should do. Get all of your ducks in a row and all of your materials, in all their varieties and forms, together in one place. If you’ve been there, done that, you still need to give your resume and portfolio a once over. Be sure to add any additional, newer samples you have and update your work experience to reflect anything you may have done since the last time you applied.
Do the digital humblebrag.
If you’ve got great samples, done some exceptional work or been part of a project you were really proud of, let the world know! Share links on social media and list it on your LinkedIn page, with links and information that puts it all into context. If you’ve been writing pieces that are related to your career, whether for an organization, on your own blog or for another outlet, use LinkedIn’s publishing platform to share them again. An About.me page is another great option for compiling all of your clips, projects and samples in one place.