Job hunting isn’t easy. In fact, it sucks. Here are some smart tips to help you out.

With a new year comes new beginnings and new chances to land that dream job (or let’s face it – any job). Job searching can be painful and tedious. Spending hours scouring jobs on craigslist has a certain way of making a gal torment herself with the question “why didn’t I do more!”

Suddenly, our Bachelor of Arts degrees seem inadequate, our relevant work experience trifling and our cover letters cringe worthy. The demands of the labour market coupled with our bulging student loans are enough to make anyone want to throw their arms up in defeat and live off their parents forever. I don’t blame you. Even after working in the employment field I still feel horribly inadequate when it comes to marketing my own skills to employers. That being said, I hope to pass onto you some insider job searching knowledge to help ease the pain of the hunt.

1. Networking. You’ve heard this a million times but more so now than ever it’s not what you know, but who you know. Gone are the glorious days when we applied to two ice cream parlours and had interviews at both the next day. We’re now competing with the  Suzy do-gooders of the world who have built schools for orphans in third world countries, racked up millions of volunteer hours and have completed every internship known to man. Employers will usually first hire internally and then look to their best employees for leads on potential candidates. 80% of job openings are not advertised, so you’ve got to tell your friends, your date, your uncle, everyone you know, exactly what you’re looking for. Word of advice: if you’re close with your hairdresser, ask them to ask their clients for any leads on the job you’re looking for. They see a new person every hour all with different expertise and fields of interest.

2. Act like you’ve already got the job. Get up at a reasonable hour to start your job search. Employers will notice if your resume is sent at 3 am on a Tuesday night. Also, send out A LOT of resumes. Make it your job to find a job. I had a friend complain to me once that all she had been doing was job searching and she hadn’t gotten a single interview. The fact is, she was only sending out 1 or 2 resumes a week. The sad truth of today is that for every 80-100 resumes sent out, the average interview callback is one.

3. Don’t narrow your job search. If your goal is to be the fashion editor of xyz magazine you’re digging your own grave if you only apply to editor in chief positions. Look at the industry as a whole. What other positions are you qualified for? If you immerse yourself in your desired industry, it’s easier to make meaningful connections, network, and ultimately land the job you really want. Look for positions where you can gain transferable skills that will benefit you in your dream job. Who knows, maybe you’ll find something else you enjoy even better?

4. Document your job search. Make a list of the companies you submit your resume to, the date you submitted it and the name of the contact person. Keep this list on you at all times. That way, when an employer calls you, you don’t have to have the awkward “did I submit my resume to you? What company is this?” conversation.

5. Visit your local employment agency. Even if you don’t need help with your resume, oftentimes they have inside information on who’s hiring in the area, and they may be able to help market you to employers. Many times the services are free of charge.

~ Kara Fowlie

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