How To Find A New Job

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Finding a new job can be very stressful, especially if you’re been working for a while, because you have to prove yourself to be a good employee all over again with someone who knows nothing about you. Certainly your credentials and your experience will do some of the talking but its mostly you and the hardest part will be getting to the conversation. Finding a new job is a numbers game, you want to get your resume to as many companies as possible and in front of as many faces as possible because a certain percentage will want to talk to you one-on-one in a little room and find out more about you. The tips below will either increase the number of times someone will see your resume or increase the probability that they will want to talk to you.

1. Tap your network of personal contacts

When I moved jobs, the first thing I did was contact everyone I knew in the area who was working for someone else. I just bought a home, so relocating was not an option, but if it is for you, expand your network to everyone in the country, on the continent, or on the planet. Your personal contacts will be your best “in” with a company because they already work there, they know you on a personal and potentially a professional level, and they may receive some sort of referral bonus that would act as an additional motivator to get you placed. They will also know the lay of the land, who’s desk your resume should be placed on, and as a current employee, they lend credibility to your resume.

1A. Signup to professional networking sites
If you aren’t already signed up to a site like LinkedIn, do it and start adding your friends. Many of those sites have job boards or other similar functions and company recruiters have accounts there because they know they have a rich group of people they can contact as references. When I was looking, a recruiter for Google, not knowing how not brilliant I am, contacted me about a job out in California. Even recently, I was invited, along with a bunch of other people I’m sure, to go to a presentation in DC by a Chief Java Architect at Google (too bad it’s on a Tuesday at 6pm, traffic would be horrendous down there otherwise I’d probably go); so even if you don’t find a job, building your network (and tracking it), is still valuable.

Hotjobs, Monster, CareerBuilder, Dice, etc. First, create a professional looking email account somewhere that you can dispose of later… GMail is my favorite now that it’s open to the public as it has the best spam filters out there. is probably still available unless you’re John Smith, David Johnson, or Michael Brown. You should now use that email address on your resume and for those new job searching accounts.

3. Follow up with everyone

You will receive a lot of email to and I would venture to say that 60% will be headhunters, 20% will be job fair announcements, and the remaining 20% will be from actual company recruiters. Even if the job isn’t for you, reply to the recruiter and start a dialogue. You may not be a good fit for the job they contacted you about but you might be a match for something else. Talking with recruiters will also acclimate you to the types of questions they will ask and it will give you an opportunity to find out what sort of salary you can expect. Not comfortable talking salary? You better start getting comfortable with the recruiters because eventually you’ll talk $$$ and you don’t want to cut your teeth with the company you will eventually work for, practice on the companies you won’t work for.

3A. Follow up with headhunters, your job hunting ninjas

You should definitely respond to the recruiters but more importantly, respond to the headhunters. Those folks get paid by a company if you get placed there (money is a motivator and these people aren’t your friends) and so they will work to look for a job for you. They will probably send some crap job descriptions to you from time to time (they want to place you after all) but don’t worry about it, just say ‘no’ and they will keep looking. If they secure an interview for a job you don’t want, go anyway and practice your interviewing skills. Better to practice with a job you won’t accept than not get practice before the one you do want to get.

3B. Go to job fairs
Besides a direct employee referral, your two only other options are resume boxes (whether it’s on Monster or at and job fairs. I would rate job fairs over an electronic resume box only because you have a better chance of getting a human being to look at your resume at a job fair. Plus, you get to talk to someone which, for most people, will give your resume an edge. If you’re not in that group, maybe just drop off the resume and run. 🙂

Ultimately, remember it’s a numbers game, the numbers are low, and that you can’t lose heart if things don’t go your way. The key to success is that you have to keep doing it and doing it and doing it. Good luck and please share any tips you may have!

{ 7 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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7 Responses to “How To Find A New Job”

  1. Nishant says:

    Nice post. You definitely have to have patience when looking for a new job. I agree totally with the part about the headhunters. They can be very valuable to your search.

  2. Phil says:

    Yup, great post.

    My scenario/situation might give heart to some who read this article, so here was my experience:

    – I am now in my 2nd job outside of college. My first job — Technical Support Specialist for ~100 person telecom company, where we were treated like technical consultants with a wider range of responsibilities than what the title implies — lasted for ~7 years. The company was bought, I changed to Quality Assurance on Unix-based platforms, did this for nearly 2 years before deciding the company was no longer a good fit for me.

    – It took me about a year to find my current job. I also have gone through several dozen interviews, of which less than a handful ever got to secondary/tertiary interviews. Of all of these interviews, I only ever once took a personality test — even though that particular company suggested that these are becoming more popular…

    – My experience has shown me that in the technical field, headhunters tend to be recruiting for (a) very technical and/or very menial positions and/or (b) contract/temp-to-perm-based positions. I specifically interviewed with 2 headhunter firms.

    – My experience has shown me that I only ever interviewed with an employer after talking with their internal recruiter — a full-time HR person — or a third-party specifically working for that company — technically, a head hunter by any other name!

    – I developed a Gmail email account that corresponded with the job title/general position for which I was looking. Turns out my new position has nothing to do with the main impetus of my job search!

    – My best company candidates came from,,, (where I got the lead for my current position) and, at times, tends to be more focused on contractor-type positions.

    – This may be anathema to some of you corporate-types out there, but I never once wore a full-fledged suit-and-tie to a single interview! I always wore a button-up shirt and some form of khakhi/slacks with dark socks and dock sider shoes. I always asked about dress code both on the job and for the interview.

    – I now work in a completely different industry — hospitality (read: hotel) — doing Quality Assurance work with ~25 employees as an Application Service Provider (ASP). Who’da thunk it?? I’m glad I took a shot at their job description on craig’s list! Speaking of…

    – Always submit a resume to any job posting that puts you in the ballpark — even if it’s in the nose-bleed section! You can always say “no”.

    – My current employer liked my cover letter and resume. It contained zero grammar, punctuation or spelling errors. My resume entailed great use of bulleted points that showed results without going into paragraphs of everything I knew. My cover letter takes no more than 30 seconds to go through and explicitly asks for an interview “at your earliest convenience”. Also, very important: my cover letter has a P.S. line that states my salary and/or other expectations.

    – Always follow up with the recruiter/decision maker/whomever it is you’re supposed to communicate with. I did this after every interview and if it seemed like an event was open-ended as far as when they’d get back with me, I always asked when I could expect an answer from them. I also wouldn’t let a week go by to follow up if I hadn’t heard anything before.

    – Never think about celebrating or getting hopes up until they ask you some rendition of, “What would it take to get you to come on board?” Even then, get an offer in hand before celebrating the fact that someone thinks you’re special. Then, ask for time before you make your decision (sleeping on the offer is always good). The offer won’t be going away until you say “yes” or “no” within a reasonable time period– if it were, they weren’t worth your time to begin with.

    Yikes! This is going on forever! I’ll stop the post now!


  3. Terry says:

    What if you have a 25-year-old liberal arts degree with no career-related experience?

  4. What I do as well is that although I do not have business cards, I do print and carry around some networking cards which I offer to others during such potential meetups.

  5. Flexo says:

    All I can say is … this is why I should never read blogs from work. I happened to have this page open, with the post’s title displayed, when someone stopped by my cube to ask me a question on Friday. D’oh!

  6. dakboy says:

    Don’t bother with the job search sites. They serve the companies, not the people looking for jobs. And they’re hardly successful – Careerbuilder’s placement rate is something like 2%.

    For more, see

    I had very poor luck with recruiters and similar folks working for firms which I like to call “body shops” – basically they build up a library of resumes, then try to submit you for jobs based on matching some keywords. Not far removed from what people trolling Monster, Careerbuilder, etc. do. Usually they have contract positions, not permanent (what I was after).

    In almost 3 years of searching for a new job, I got maybe 3 decent leads out of having my resume on the job sites. The one that turned into the job I ultimately took was very good – they were explicitly NOT looking to spam my resume all over (like some do), they took the time to make sure that they felt I was a good match for the position before submitting.

    Networking really is the key. I joined LinkedIn a few weeks ago and hopefully it will lead me to my next job, when I’m ready to change jobs.

  7. wannabe says:

    how do you look for a job while you’re working without your employer getting suspicious? i imagine the hardest part of looking for a new job while you are working at your present job is to find a way to go to a interviews.

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