Finding Work in a Competitive Market

JobSearch_MagnifyingGlassSearching for a job isn’t easy. And when there are a lot more applicants than jobs available, job hunting can be especially discouraging. Whether you live in a region with few available job opportunities in general, or your industry is highly competitive, there are a few ways to help improve you chances of finding the elusive job openings.

Networking is Essential

Just applying to ads in the newspaper or online isn’t going to cut it when each listing gets dozens or even hundreds of responses. You have to get out the word out that you’re looking for work. The last thing you may feel like doing is getting out and interacting with others when you’re unemployed, but it’s the best way to find a good job. Join an industry-related organization, a book club, or even a yoga class. This will force interactions that will not only be good for mental well-being but also good for your career.

Think Small

Small businesses often don’t advertise openings, preferring to fill positions via word of mouth. The best way to find one of these hidden jobs is to network (see above) or send your resume to small businesses in your area. Most companies have a web address and contact information, so it should be easy to send in your resume and cover letter.

Be Thorough and Persistent

Be detailed and thorough when filling out applications. Include as much information as possible, and try not to leave anything blank. It may be frustrating to repeat information that’s already on your resume, but it’s just part of the job hunting process. Tailor your resume and cover letter to each job listing. And don’t forget to follow-up on applications and resumes you’ve sent to companies. Following up demonstrates a genuine interest in the job and keeps you on a hiring manager’s radar.

Volunteer and Freelance

Volunteer and freelance work may not be ideal, especially when you want a stable income and benefits. However, they do allow you to keep your skills up-to-date and will demonstrate to potential employers that you weren’t idle during your job search.

Change Your Expectations

Changing expectations and goals doesn’t have to mean lowering them. It just means opening your mind to new possibilities. Maybe you need to consider different companies, industries, and locations. You might not land in the role you envisioned, but you can still gain valuable experience and may be surprised at how much you enjoy your job.

For more help in your job search, read Knock ’em Dead 2014: The Ultimate Job Search Guide