The Job Searching Guide

2013 January 14
by Grace Boyle

Job searching isn’t fun. I’ve received an increasing amount of emails and inquiries on the topic (not sure why, I’m certainly not an expert) but I thought I might as well put together some insight as to what I have learned, what I have been taught and what I’ve read around the topic. I include some specifics to Boulder just because I live here, but otherwise, the information is pretty applicable. I hope you enjoy!

The People You Know: The first to consider is the low hanging fruit – the trusted friends, previous co-workers and family. Most jobs do come from a connection but people forget to consider their family or even neighbors, because they tend to think, “I want a job in X industry, but they are not in X industry.” You never know if your network knows someone who knows someone and just putting it out there is a good move, period. Naturally, if you can connect with people in your industry they will have upfront experience but I suggest talking to everyone. I’ve written about it before, before I moved to Boulder I made a list of people I could reach out to about my move and what I was looking for (connections, I knew no one and a job, since I didn’t have one). I got my first job via a professor I had in college in Vermont, who connected me to a friend of hers in Boulder, who then introduced me to a friend of his that worked at Lijit. I encourage you to exercise your options, connect with people you trust, put it out there that you’re interested in X and be sure to be vocal. Your network is more powerful than you think.

Extra tip – consider contacting your Alumni office and asking for a list of graduates who are in your area. When I first moved to Boulder I found this to be useful!

Social media. Well, this may sound obvious especially for certain generations but as I talk to new college grads many of them don’t consider social media as a professional tool since they use it purely for fun, not work. Twitter is a great place to search for keywords, look up people in the city you live in, follow those companies that you’re interested in and even search something as simple as “Boulder Jobs” or “Finance Job Denver” etc. Facebook is truly where your most personal network resides and if you’re able to post about your job search go ahead and state it. Put it out there. LinkedIn is built for networking and finding a job but I suggest LinkedIn Pro. It’s something like $50 a year and it’s so worth it. You can see more people beyond your network, you can send InMail’s so you can connect with anyone and of course, it’s often the first page that comes up when a potential employer Googles you (because they will). LinkedIn also has their jobs page where people pay to post their jobs which of course ensures the job is legitimate.

An aside on social media, is you want to ensure your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date, your resume is looking snazzy, your online presence is reflecting you how you want to be reflected (tip: Google yourself, see what comes up) and you may even consider making a digital resume via a Pinterest board. Check out my friend Rachael’s, it’s bad-ass and she calls her Pinterest Board “The Living Resume”.

Craigslist. I won’t go into Craigslist much but it’s still a common place where many jobs of all trades are posted. Don’t rule it out of your search. I know it sometimes equates spam and it may not be as trusted as other tools, but it’s still worth keeping your eye out. Often time, Craigslist is many of the places an employer might post their job so it helps keep your bases covered.

Hyperlocal job publications or newsletters. Each city usually has some sort of job provider that offers interesting information on job searching.

For instance in the Boulder area I suggest: Andrew Hudson’s Job List, Luke’s Circle, Foundry Jobs, TechStars Jobs, Boulder / Denver New Tech Meetup, Boulder Open Coffee (here is their Google+ community) and Denver Egotist. David Cohen wrote a great resource on all things startups in Boulder that if you live here, you should bookmark and keep.

Request informational interview. When I first moved to Boulder alone and lacking context of the area and its industry, my plan was to get in front of as many people as I could. I would stalk certain companies that I really wanted to work at and I might send a cold email to their jobs email or maybe I received an introduction to someone within the company. If they weren’t hiring I would ask if I could still buy them coffee or go in for an informational interview. Now, not everyone has time for this. Do not expect it. However, when done in a concise manner you’re able to get in front of an employer, make a connection and drop off your resume. Next time they’re thinking about hiring your resume may be top of mind. It’s worth asking. ‘Gotta have gumption!

Creative agencies and recruiters. One of my close friends moved to Boston and worked with a recruiter to help her find a job. She ended up landing a great job via the recruiter and three years later, she’s still at that job. Quite often, the recruiter is getting paid by the employer and really they’re just doing the heavy lifting for you. This does of course vary by industry and isn’t everyone’s style. However, sometimes when you’re down and out it’s nice to have someone on your side, doing the job hunting for you (because we all know it’s no walk in the park).

If you’re job searching openly, it’s great to be a walking advertisement for yourself. Let me preface – do not blab about it incessantly but keep in mind, if you keep your mouth shut about your needs, no one is going to “guess” what you need or recommend a job to you. Examples might be go to meetups, be vocal about your skills and what you’re looking for, mention it in your meetings or coffee dates and just be sure people are clear what you’re looking for. I get a lot of inquiries and people looking for jobs and although I may not be able to help them immediately, I love remembering “Oh hey, that company was hiring and didn’t that person I just met ask to work in a job like that?” You just never know. Other options might be to list in your LinkedIn or Twitter profiles what you’re looking for. People are all over that when recruiting.

Job searching is rarely fun. It usually is stressful. It’s like putting together a marketing campaign…about yourself, and constantly promoting it and hoping you won’t get rejected (you will, we all have been). That said, there’s always light at the end of the tunnel and luckily with technology, there are so many options. I hope these have been useful suggestions.

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