Job Search First Aid:  The Search

Advice, Aid, Ideas for the Job Searcher


Recruiters:  Let an expert help you search.  Job recruiters are paid a fee for placing employees - so they earn money only when you get a job.  Their fees are usually paid by the employer and NOT by the job seeker, so don't be taken in by those who want to charge you registration or placement fees.  Your yellow pages or an Internet search should turn up recruiters in your area.  Be sure and ask an out-of-town recruiter if he/she does placements in the your area.  Many specialize in a particular industry (e.g., pharmaceuticals, healthcare ) or job function (computer programmers, medical assistants, carpenters, sales personnel) and, therefore, have valuable contacts in those areas that you don't have the time to develop.

User online services: Submit resumes online ( and the like, but also – and especially – the target organization, such as specific counties and municipalities).   Also, most large employers have web sites that allow you to review job vacancies and submit resumes and/or applications electronically.  Be sure to explore the web sites of companies for whom you'd like to work.

Network:  Hiring is often done through personal contacts.  There's truth in the adage, "It's not what you know, but who."  Companies don't want to run expensive ads and sift through hundreds of applications, if they can find an acceptable candidate through the grapevine.  Attend professional meetings, freely hand out business cards (print personal cards if you don't want to use those from your current employer), tell people you are looking for a job, contact relatives and friends -- and the relatives of friends and friends of relatives and friends.  Be shameless in your willingness to ask for help.  Everyone looks for a job sometime; so there's really no shame in asking.  Most people are flattered and will want to help by either offering guidance or actually finding a job lead.  But remember, your friend or relative might get you an interview, but  you'll  have to land the job on your own merits.  (P.S.  Send a Thank You note or e-mail to everyone who takes the time to offer advice or make a recommendation - even if it's a friend's friend whom you've never met.  It's good etiquette and sometimes has unforeseen rewards.)

E-contacts:  Keep detailed records on people you meet.  Record the name, address, phone, e-mail -- but also record were you met the person, who introduced you, the name of the person's spouse, ages of his/her children, and personal hobbies or activities.  Refer to these before calling or meeting with them.  Keep these notes electronically - e.g., in Outlook's contacts or a Word file, so that you can search the contacts and notes rapidly.  Make this recording a habit -- even when you are NOT job hunting.  Then you'll have the info when the need arises -- plus, it will enrich your business and personal relationships.

Get to know people: Establish a rapport with individuals on the phone.  A secretary or administrative assistant is worth knowing by name; when you call back, ask after his or her health and family; often he or she is in a position to call your resume to the boss’ attention.  

Make it personal:  Always send resumes and correspondence to individuals, not just to organizations.  Call before sending a resume and ask the name of the person responsible for hiring or for filling a specific position.