If you’re a recent graduate or current job-seeker, you know that today’s job market is insane. Insanely competitive, that is.
Unemployment may be shrinking, but it’s still a tricky market. And to make matters more difficult, the way college grads and career-changers are finding jobs these days is changing. Gone are the days of newspaper classifieds and even simple online applications. We’ve entered a world of digital networking and complex job search websites.
To help you keep ahead of the game, here are 5 awesome tips for building connections and finding jobs today.
I know we all think of LinkedIn as that place where employers go to look at you, and not that place where you go to look for employers, but trust me here.
LinkedIn has some handy features for job searches that you should definitely take a look at. For example, under “My Network” there’s an option for “Alumni” that will allow you to search for other alums of your university or high school. This is a great opportunity to reach out to people you may know (or know by association) and get their tips on entering a new industry or to see whether their company is hiring.
And then, of course, there’s the better-known “Jobs” tab on LinkedIn that will allow you to search for jobs in your areas of interests. Definitely check this out, but keep in mind the main purpose of LinkedIn: networking. Keep up a good profile and stay in touch with others to build your professional network (and through that, find jobs).
There’s no better job search website for young idealists than Idealist.org. Designed for job-seekers entering the non-profit world, Idealist hosts a ton of job postings for volunteering or non-profit work.
Idealist functions a lot like other job search websites (think Indeed or Monster), but its specific focus on the non-profit industry keeps the site from getting bogged down in posts.
3. University websites
English major? Try browsing the Harvard English department’s Internships page and see where they’re sending their students. Geology graduate? Check out your local college’s website and the programs they suggest.
You’d be surprised at how many universities have Internships/Fellowships/Jobs pages on their department websites. The key here is to narrow in on either a) schools that have good programs and good career placement in the field you’re interested in or b) schools located near you that could recommend local businesses currently hiring.
4. Social media
Kids these days, am I right? Put down the newspaper and turn on your computer.
It turns out that social media is good for a whole lot more than stalking your ex or ranting about politics, it can also help you get a job. Secret Facebook groups and Twitter feeds can be some of the greatest sources of employment out there. Try asking friends that you graduated with whether your high school or university has a Facebook page for alums (or even if there’s a specific page for job postings). And try asking your work colleagues if they’re a part of any Twitter feeds for industry professionals.
Keeping tabs on social media can be an incredible way to connect with others in your industry and find out about job openings.
5. Someone you know
I’ll say it a thousand times: you can fill out as many online applications as you like, but you’re so much more likely to find a job through someone you know.
Networking is the key to finding a job in this market. So, whether you’re looking for a job right now or not. Be kind to your colleagues, follow up with potential future employers, keep tabs on positions you might be interested in some day, and get to know people doing the things you dream of doing. Human connection is so much more valuable in the job hunt than any special resume formatting or business cards (though those things definitely don’t hurt).
We know that looking for a job can be disheartening and frustrating, but hold on! With good networking and a commitment to checking online platforms, we promise you’ll be employed in no time.