How to connect your way into your next job

One parent shares her tips and resources that keep landing her new jobs.


Special Thanks to Michele Israel for her great leadership on this. Updated by PSP November 2015


How the heck do all those gigs come to me, you might be wondering? I am a resource hound, so I am always looking about. And I make sure to get job announcements frequently. Yes, my e-mailbox tends to fill up, but sometimes it’s worth it, methinks.  Below are some tips with which you are probably already familiar. 


SIGN UP FOR JOB ALERTS: There are myriad virtual job sites out there. Most of them have job alert tools to which you can subscribe once you customize your search (field, type of position, location, etc.). These tend to be aggregate sites, so you may see the same jobs elsewhere. But, you will also find new opportunities.  Move beyond Monster...there are many others.


DELVE INTO YOUR FIELD: Professional trade associations are a great job source. Many have job sites to which you can sign on for alerts, based on a customized search. So, if you are in a particular field, search for associations in that area. For example, there are publishing, journalism, education, training, and tech sites that I subscribe to.  Also, these associations have e-newsletters which sometimes list open positions. Worth signing up for those.


PINPOINT SPECIFIC COMPANIES AND SEARCH THEIR JOB POSTINGS: This you may all know already, but searching companies that interest you is a also a good source of potential jobs, because most list open positions. And, of course, if you are seriously networking, checking out who is who on these sites promotes the possibility of informational interviewing or even pitching yourself as an independent contractor for company projects. Again, these companies/organizations are likely to have some sort of e-mail communication (newsletter, for example), in which positions might be posted.


JOIN INDUSTRY SPECIFIC GROUPS: Yahoo, LinkedIn, etc. Community lists/list serves are also a really good way to hear about jobs. Especially so, because the jobs posted may not yet be publicly advertised, giving list members first dibs. I know this sounds like an inefficient use of time, but I have looked for writing and education groups on the Yahoo Groups site and have found some great ones...such as the NYC writer’s group that I encouraged PSP folks to join. It is a bit time consuming...and sometimes the groups are not so helpful, but you might be able to judge their value before you sign on— check out past posts, see how many group members, look to see if the discussions are meaningful, etc.).


USE HEADHUNTER/JOB SEARCH SITES: Head hunter/job search firms, etc.  post open positions (On-Ramps)is the one I am thinking about---I have posted job announcements from this group ). Definitely worth signing up for newsletters/job alerts from these types of agencies. And of course, signing up as a client/job seeker with the organizations themselves to be considered for jobs that match your credentials.


COMPLETE RFPS: This option takes a bit more time, but is useful, especially if you are an independent contractor: Completing Requests for Proposals (RFP) for a project in your field. It is a time-consuming and competitive process, but you could become the vendor of choice for an amazing gig. One site that I use (and have posted here before) is RFPBD. It is also an aggregate site and has a minimal administrative fee (featured as credits you purchase to download materials). There are some very interesting projects on that site. On that note, government agencies also have RFPs (city offices, the Department of Education, colleges, etc.) and in some instances, you can also sign up for alerts.


FIND VIRTUAL JOBS ON SPECIFIC SITES: Since I freelance, I am always looking for work that I can primarily do at home. So, virtual work is ideal for me. I came across this site (and did post it here). For the most part, these are pretty legitimate jobs ( I applied for a curriculum guide consultant here in the city...I was interviewed even, but alas, was not offered the job). There are other sites like this one, I am you can do a little search.


DELVE INTO THE NON-PROFIT WORLD: I do some grant writing and get funding announcements from places that also feature jobs...many are development centered, but not all. The goal here is to say that service organizations that have a particular area of focus might also post jobs. The Foundation Center, for example, has a job site.


USE SOCIAL MEDIA: Although I am not a frequent social media user, it is a good source of jobs. When I was on Facebook, I joined several groups that listed great gigs, especially freelance. Then there is LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. Make sure to market yourself if you are using these sites...and do it shamelessly!!!


FRIENDS/COLLEAGUES: Several of the jobs I have posted come from friends/colleagues looking to search for candidates from a smaller pool of people. In this case, you might ask folks to send along gigs that are not good for you, but might be a match for someone here on the list.


OLD STYLE SEARCHING: And, the most time-consuming but sometimes rewarding job-search method is to do the search...meaning, get on Google or some other program and type in as many associations to your career of interest as possible. Lots of interesting bites come up. It is something to do when you have time on your hands.


NETWORK: Finally, and you all know this, nothing beats networking, so talk to friends, colleagues, get informational interviews, go to network meetings, attend trade association events...and sometimes, cold call (which I hate, but there are some that swear by it).


HARNESS RESOURCES ON THE WEB: There are some great resources for women returning from a gap these days: 

  • Check out iRelaunch - The Return to Work Experts. They have many online bootcamps that can help spring you into gear. Also, they are connected to many firms that have "Returnship" programs for women with a 2+ year gap.  
  • Also, Startup Institute offers 8 week specialized programs to sharpen your skills in a variety of areas and then connect you with relevant hiring managers.
  • There is a website called Flex Jobs that might be useful for you. It could help you get your feet wet on some of the social stuff and do some work on contract that would help you look more actively employed as a job seeker who has been out of the workforce for a little while. It also might make sense if you need flexible work around childcare. I have no personal affiliation with the site, I just think it's a cool idea.


More on Park Slope Parents

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