6 Unconventional Ways to Find Your Next Job

by Elizabeth Lang on 10 March 2014 0 comments

Back in the pre-2008, pre-financial-crash world, you could land a job with a mediocre cover letter and decent resume. Not so in today's competitive market. In 2014, you need to be creative to find your dream job. It's still a good idea to use job search sites and take advantage of your personal network, but going a step further will increase your chances of landing a gig you'll love. Here are six unusual ways to kick up your job search. (See also: Job Hunting Tools More Important Than LinkedIn)

1. Crash Industry Conventions

Going to conventions in your field is a standard way to network, but the high registration fees might not be an option if you're unemployed. That doesn't mean you have to miss out on the convention experience altogether. See if the convention's website advertises after-hours meet-ups or happy hours at local restaurants and bars, then go and start talking to people. Don't be shy about handing out business cards and letting folks know you're looking for a job.

2. Ask Your Parents

Working your parents' job connections is standard in high school, but less so in adulthood. Nonetheless, moms and dads, in-laws, and extended family might have connections in your field that you don't know about. You'll never know unless you ask. Once you get a contact's name, have your parent introduce you, then set up an informational interview or meet for coffee. Even if a job offer doesn't come immediately, if you make a good impression, your new connection will keep you in mind for future openings — or other connections. (See also: Hidden Networks That Can Help You Land Jobs)

3. Access Your Social Networks

LinkedIn is an obvious way to look for jobs, but think outside the social network box. Post an update on your favorite social media outlets to let people know you're looking for a job in a particular field, and ask them to pass any leads along to you. You never know; an old high school friend on Facebook might connect you with your dream job.

4. Think Like a Stalker

Caution: Don't actually stalk anyone.

But do hang out where people in your field hang out. If you really want a computer programming job at a local company and you live nearby, start frequenting restaurants, coffee shops, or gyms in the neighborhood. Don't be creepy. But you might bump into someone with connections on the inside. (See also: 15 Bad Networking Habits)

5. Advertise Yourself

Take a leaf from the business advertising book and invest in signage. If you live on a busy street, professional-looking signage advertising your skills or freelance business could catch the eye of a prospective employer or well-connected neighbor (check your local zoning regulations, however). You could also put (well-designed) flyers at local coffee shops, or even invest in a custom car magnet that has your contact information and skills listed. Obviously, this tactic will work better for some professions than others.

6. Add a Pitch to Your Email Signature

If you're like most 21st century job seekers, you send dozens of emails every day. Put email to work in your job search by adding a catchy line to your email signature that indicates your qualifications and includes your contact information. Think of it as an abbreviated personal branding statement. For example, after your name, phone number, email address, and link to your LinkedIn profile, you can add: "I am a top-notch graphic designer with 10+ years experience who brings passion and creativity to manufacturing businesses so they can make a lasting impression." (See also: How to Distinguish Yourself Online)

Job searching isn't what it used to be. But when you employ creative ways to search for jobs into your job search, you'll increase the odds of landing your dream job. And don't forget, once you land your interview opportunity to prepare for interview questions.

Have you tried anything unconventional to land a job? What'd you do? Please leave a comment in the traditional space below!

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