Extreme Job Search Strategies

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Job hunters need a re-orientation into the reality of today's job market due to the dramatic changes that have occurred. Unlike markets in the past, in today's job market, job hunters face stiff competition and must be prepared to utilize many different resources in order to land a job.
Staffing Firms

Now that you researched and contacted several staffing firms, you probably have a good idea about which firms would be the best choices for you. Begin by contacting those firms and inquiring about what steps you need to take to get registered with them. It could be just submitting a resume and waiting for a recruiter to contact you, an immediate “screening call” with an agency representative, or filling out an online application on their website. BE PATIENT. If you submit your resume or apply online, it could be up to a week before you are contacted. It is ok to follow up within 3-5 days; however, please don’t make a “pest” of yourself – remember, you want the agency associates to have a positive impression of you!

A Few Things to Keep In Mind While Working With an Agency:

About Temporary Help Agencies:


Job Boards- How to Maximize Your Results

Once you have completed the appropriate documents (resume, cover letter, list of references, etc.), it is time to start applying for jobs and posting your resume online. You should be checking these job boards regularly- every few days (if not every day) is the norm. New jobs are posted daily, so you need to be quick to respond.

All of the sites listed below will provide you links and information regarding specific opportunities. Some (like Monster.com) allow you to post your resume on their board and search openings, while others just list searchable job opportunities.

List of General Online Job Boards

Industry Specific Websites


If you see a posting that matches your job target area, skills, etc.:

  1. Either print out or copy and paste the job posting into an email and send it to yourself. Keep this in a master file or folder.
  2. Re-read the posting, making sure that you have read all of the details of the job
    • Is it part-time or full-time?
    • How many years of experience are they seeking?
    • Where is the job located? Is that a location that works for you?
    • What other skills are required for the job?
  3. Edit your resume/cover letter if necessary- matching your skills and experience to that of the open position
  4. Follow the directions on the posting:
    • Do they want you to reply directly to their ad?
    • Do they want you to email your resume to a specific person?
    • Do they require a cover letter or writing sample?
    • If you don’t follow instructions, your resume will end up in the “dead” file!
  5. Taking the “I’ll send it anyway” approach (meaning you don’t meet the qualifications posted) can have a negative effect. Corporate recruiters REMEMBER who sends in the resume for any and ALL openings. Do this often enough and you will be “blacklisted” by the company.
  6. Once you have sent off your resume, create and update a job tracking sheet (either in Word or Excel).

Sample Tracking Sheet

Company Name
Contact Person
Follow- up date
Wash U Career Services Sally Davis 12/29/2008 1/5/2009 Job on hold
Centene Corp. HR Generalist Suzie Jones 1/12/2009 1/26/2009 Still reviewing
BJC Corp HR Specialist Don Wilson 1/12/2009 2/2/2009 No response
Nestle Purina HR Generalist Katie Patterson 1/21/2009 2/2/2009 Phone screen scheduled 2/5

Professional/Alumni Associations

If you’ve exhausted your efforts to find people or need to start from scratch, join a local chapter of a professional organization in your field. Fraternities and alumni associations can also be helpful. In the wake of the financial crisis, many colleges are ramping up their alumni services and even holding career fairs and networking events for alumni. Contact your alma mater’s alumni relations office to get access to their online database. Once there, you can search for old friends by name or class, or search for alumni at different companies or industries you are interested in working in.

At this time, it is critical to find and contact former employers, supervisors or vendors to create a list of references. Contact everyone in advance of applying for positions and:

Remember, networking is a give-and-take experience. Think about what you have to offer, whether it’s a contract, a lunch, or a favor. That gives the signal that you’re not just in it for yourself.


With job fairs, seekers have the benefit of meeting with hiring professionals face-to-face (rather than blindly applying to postings online from your home computer). Although job fairs seem pretty straightforward, there are some basic tips to follow that make a job fair productive.


Another source of networking opportunities (that’s often forgotten) is university alumni associations. Whether you want to join as an alumni of the college itself, or you were in an organized social group (like a fraternity, sorority or business group), re-connecting with these groups is an excellent source of contacts.

lf you already donate to your school, getting in touch with your alumni association regarding meetings and job opportunities should be relatively easy. Many colleges offer career assistance for alumni- it’s in their best interest to help their graduates stay employed. They might also have contact information for any special interest associations. Interacting with these groups regularly is a great chance meet or catch up with contemporaries for which you already share a common bond. This can be parlayed into a business opportunity.


More About Follow Up

Finding and applying for the right job is only half the battle. You may have spent weeks perfecting the cover letter and finding just the right resume style. Once the resume and cover letter have been sent, it is time to play the waiting game. You may sit home for hours, days or even weeks before hearing a word. Or you may never hear back. So what is the next step in getting a job interview?

The Follow Up

Many job seekers are tempted to just sit back and wait for a call, but the best thing to do is follow up yourself. That way, you show the recruiter that you are really interested in the position and have what it takes to get the job done.

So how long do you wait before following up, whether it’s a cold call, or responding to a posting, or following up with a staffing firm you have visited? Most recruiters agree, at least a week. That way they have plenty of time to review your resume, and determine if you match any available opportunities. While it may be easy to call the next day, chances are your resume is still sitting in their inbox waiting for review. So give the recruiter at least a week before following up. Then feel free to ask when a good time is to meet for a job interview, or follow up again.

When asking for a job interview, keep it simple. Rehearse (or utilize a script) what you want to say beforehand and make sure that you are free from noise and distraction. Introduce yourself and remind the recruiter about your resume. State the job that you are interested in, and ask about your candidacy.

If you get a recorded message, you may leave a message or simply call back later. But only leave one or two messages­, because the last thing you want to do is irritate the recruiter or hiring manager.

If you don't feel comfortable following up by phone for a job interview, try sending them a short email. Not only will it give you the opportunity to ask for a job interview, but you can also send along your resume again without seeming too pushy.

Here are some tips to landing that job interview in a follow up email.

Last but not least, resist the urge to just resend your resume with no follow-up call or email. This tactic could actually backfire, and end up ruining your chances of landing a job interview. The recruiter may find another copy of your resume on file and think that you may not even realize that you applied for the same job twice. So just don't do it.

After you have reviewed and captured all potential “contact sources” make sure you add this information to your tracking spreadsheet or database–as it keeps you organized and your computer skills up-to-date. Check to ensure that you have captured the names of individuals and companies/firms you have gathered. This document will be a “master” source and tracking file so that you can create a follow up plan, and continue to add/expand contacts and track your progress and follow up dates.

Always keep your goals foremost in your mind for each contact. First, you want leads about openings. Failing that, you want the names of other people in the firm or elsewhere with whom you might talk. Keep pushing, deepening, and broadening your network.

Once you get tuned into networking - and it works for you – don’t stop. Establishing a network takes time and diligence. Maintaining it takes more. It's an ongoing give-to-get process. But the rewards appear when you begin to see the results of your work!

Job Sources—All Roads Lead to Job Possibilities

Contacts and meetings with both traditional and nontraditional sources are essential for most individuals, particularly in a lean job market. Be careful not to over-edit your contact list, as you may be editing out your best referral.

While it is never easy to “cold call” even referrals from friends and family, and even scarier, to call total strangers (contacts) at one of your target companies, this is the proven course that must be taken to gain employment. Responding to postings only or depending on staffing firms will severely limit your ability to land a job, especially in a tight job market. No one said this is easy, but eventually you will become comfortable (yes – you will) calling anyone. Plus, developing this skill will benefit you in your next job… it’s called building confidence!!



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