So you lost your job a little while ago and have been searching the job websites, applying online at several companies, and keeping your eye out for help wanted postings. That’s a great start, but you haven’t found success yet.
So one nice day you need to run to the grocery store to pick up a couple of items. Clad in your cut-off shorts, tank top and sandals you head off. After checking out, you bump into an old acquaintance.
“How have you been doing?” he asks. “Oh, just great,” you respond, “just enjoying the beautiful weather.” And with those pleasantries exchanged, you part ways.
So what just happened? And what could have happened?
What if your old friend had a brother that happened to mention to him over the weekend that he was having a really tough time finding a qualified candidate for an opening at his business? Your friend didn’t even know that you were looking for a job or that you had been laid off from your last job a few months ago. All you told him was you were enjoying the nice day.
That’s why it’s highly recommended that you’re always in the “job-seeking mode.” When someone asks you “how’s it going?” or “what’s up?” that’s the time to come back with a little commercial about yourself.
Tell your friend that you are in between jobs and a little about what you’re looking for. Have a business card printed up that includes your contact information, your objective, and a brief summary of your skills. Business cards can be ordered at several places online for a reasonable cost or printed up at home on special card stock available at your local office store. Hand your mini-resume of a business card to this acquaintance and ask him to keep you in mind if he should hear of anything.
Also, be sure to look the part of a highly-qualified job seeker at all times. You never know who you’re going to meet or where. Assuming your friend knew of an opening at his brother’s business, and you told him you were looking for a job, would he have decided to make that referral to his brother if you were looking like a beach bum?
No, as difficult as it is, dress like a serious job seeker as much as you can. Wear business casual type clothing at a minimum when you’re out in public. When you go to an event, crank it up a notch. Remember, job seeking is a full-time job, you’re not on vacation!
Recent surveys have shown that more than 80 percent of successful job seekers find their new employment through networking. It’s very much a case of who you know – and how you impress them.
So, stay in the “job search mode” all of the time, or at least as much as you can. Don’t be shy about sharing your status as a job seeker with everyone you meet. You never know when or where that special opportunity might arise.
This post is by David Wold (David.Wold@state.mn.us), a veterans employment representative with the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.