Before the Internet, people looked for jobs by combing through the fine print of their local newspaper's classified ads with a red pen or flipping to the back of trade journals. They might have even seen a "Now Hiring" sign on a door. But these days, as everyone knows, job seekers are scrolling and clicking their way to new opportunities.
With so many ways nowadays to look for work, the options can seem endless. Here are some tips to help you navigate your job hunting journey:
Online job boards
Monster, CareerBuilder, Indeed and Simply Hired make good starting points. You can also post your resume for employers to see. But don't remain passive. You should also engage recruiters and hiring managers by being proactive and reaching out. Use the robust search features of these sites to identify open positions that match your professional goals and preferences.
The downside is that, when you discover jobs that seem perfect for you, chances are many others have found them, too. So, in addition to browsing the big boards when job hunting, check out employers' own websites, as well as smaller or niche job boards such as:
- American Institute of Certified Public Accountants Job Finder
- American Payroll Association Local Jobs
After applying for a position, visit LinkedIn to introduce yourself to a recruiter or HR professional at the company, explain that you've just applied and start a dialogue. It's always better to deal with a person when job hunting, so make the effort to make a connection.
Networking in the field
One of the most effective ways of job hunting is to build new relationships with people in your field. Many people find jobs through their personal relationships, so you should always be trying to expand your professional connections by networking as many new people as possible, especially hiring managers.
Seem intimidating? Easier said than done? Relax. If you go about it correctly, you'll be able to forge lasting connections with key professionals who can propel your career.
First, reach out to people you already know. You'll often be surprised at the people they know, and before you know it, you'll all know each other.
Second, don't hesitate to rekindle old relationships with a friendly note explaining where you are in your career and that you'd like their job hunting advice.
Third, and most important, unless you're interested in a specific open position, do not contact a hiring manager to ask for work. Rather, your objective is to get on the company's radar so that when a new job comes up, so do you. Research the organization and the individual, then, before you hit "Send," ask yourself: "Why would this person want to talk to me?" Here are a couple of ways to reach out:
- "I heard your speech at the recent ALPFA conference and would like to learn more about your thoughts on X, as well as share my own experience that could benefit your organization."
- "I just read about your company's financial restructuring and would appreciate the chance to discuss what I've learned from similar challenges at my organization."
If you don't have a LinkedIn profile, stop reading this right now and create one. Given that the vast majority of recruiters are active on LinkedIn, you want to catch their attention by including in your profile keywords related to the role you're seeking.
On Twitter, start following prospective employers, recruiters and HR professionals. The more you comment on and share their posts, the more likely they will recognize you when you eventually reach out to discuss employment opportunities.
Don't miss this: Looking for a Job? Boost Your Social Media Profile.
Recruiting and staffing firms
Your goal should be to connect with people who can help with your job hunting efforts, so be sure to try to meet people not only online but in real life, too. Consider working with a recruitment firm that specializes in accounting and finance. While many have an online presence, the best ones also provide one-on-one service tailored to their candidates' needs. And given the vast connections that such agencies have with employers, they've essentially done much of the networking and job hunting on your behalf.
The best recruiting firms also provide insight on employment trends, host networking events and webinars to help with your search, and offer continuing professional education.
By remaining committed to the search process as if your job depends on it — because it does — you'll not only gain increased confidence as you connect with more people and learn more about your field; you'll eventually land a role that makes great use of your skills.