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How to find job openings

What is the best way to find out about a job opening? Is it through newspaper ads, contacts, the Internet, a job fair or a headhunter?

The best way to find job openings is through networking contacts. Most experts agree that networking is the most effective method of finding a job.

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If you didn't bother networking while you were still on the job, you need to begin once you're unemployed. Start by making a list of everyone you know. Include neighbors, people who work in your profession, and those you know from social and civic organizations. Then contact them.

People are most comfortable when you say right up front, "I don't expect you to have a job for me."  

Ask for information about what's available in the job market, advice on how to proceed with your job hunt or improve your resume, and referrals to others who might be able to help.

Diversify your search
Like most things in life, however, I would not suggest putting all your eggs in one basket.

Here are some other things you can do to shorten the time you spend looking for a job:

  • Answer the advertisements that make you think, "They must know me" -- the ones where your qualifications match their requirements.
  • Use the Internet as a posting and research tool. For details on how to make your resume cyber-friendly, read "Resumes in the cyber age."
  • Attend job fairs when specific companies you have targeted or researched are interviewing. This will expand your network even if you don't land a job. To get an idea about how fairs work, read "Win big at a job fair."
  • Contact headhunters, especially those who have called you in the past or have been referred to you by other professionals in your field.

It is the amount of time you spend on each activity that is important. Expect to spend 15 to 20 hours a week looking for work. Job hunting, after all, is a job. But answering ads for 20 hours, probably won't get you where you want to go. It will also be very time consuming and expensive.

Spend the majority of your time networking. It is generally accepted that networking is the most effective technique for finding work.

The more people who know you are qualified and available, the better the chance that the information will get to the right person at the right time. To learn about the fine art of networking, read "Network up."

AMY ROGAT holds a master's degree in counseling, with a specialization in career development. She is a licensed career counselor who was co-owner of a career management firm for 15 years. Rogat has taught college students about career exploration and provided individual coaching to people changing jobs.

-- Updated: Dec. 15, 2004





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