5 Things You Must Know About The Job Market

I got a new job! I am so happy and excited. As most of you know I write for League of Power every Wednesday. I blog about my life experiences trying to save a buck (or ten) in my everyday life.  Recently I got a new gig writing for a web company about small business issues. (Don’t worry I will still continue to bring you my best money saving tips each and every week!)

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I’ve been actively looking for more work over the past several months. I’ve posted ads on job boards, websites, and forums. I’ve also sent my resume and samples of my work to numerous companies, responded to job postings and emailed countless HR hiring managers.

I thought I was doing exactly what I was supposed to be doing. Turns out it was all for naught. All I really needed to do was to talk to my existing contacts and tell them I was looking for work. That’s how I got the new job. Actually its how I’ve gotten every job I’ve ever had. And most likely how you’ve gotten most of your jobs as well.

A book by Michael Ellsberg entitled The Education of Millionaires brought to my attention the term, “informal job market”. There are two types of job markets: the formal one and the informal one. The formal job market comprises of all jobs that are filled by candidates responding to ads, the traditional way of getting a job. The informal job market encompasses those jobs filled through relationships. Candidates either know someone who currently works for the company or a position is created for a specific person a company wants on their staff.

A quick Google query will show you that nearly 80 percent of jobs get filled informally. That’s right I said 80 percent! We are getting jobs through the people we know, not through CareerBuilder or Monster or any other job posting website.  Yet, everything we are taught about finding a job focuses on resumes, interviews, and applying through these traditional methods.

My first job was for a department store. I knew a girl who already worked there, she brought me an application one day and I got the job after an interview and ethics exam. My first job out of college was for a financial company that my friend Shannon worked for. She and I were catching up over the phone one day when I mentioned I was having a hard time finding meaningful work in my area (small town U.S.A., a.k.a. the Midwest). Her company in South Florida was hiring for a position I was qualified for. After a flight down to tropical paradise and a tag-team interview process I was hired as an entry-level marketing assistant. That job didn’t last too long, the company was losing money and almost all new hires with less than six months of service were let go. But Shannon got an email from a former employee who had heard about the company-wide layoff and asked if she knew anyone interested in a position with her firm. Shannon being my ever faithful friend highly recommended me and sent over my resume. I had a new job before the severance pay from my last job had run out. I could go on and on about the rest of my work experience but you get the idea. It’s all about who you know…and who they know.

We’ve established that having a network of contacts is the most important aspect of finding work. But what if you don’t know that many people or are shy? It doesn’t matter. You can meet professionals in any field that can possibly help you find work.

You can join a local or professional club to meet people in your industry. This tactic works whether you have been working in an industry or are new to it. Check out your local Chamber of Commerce, leadership academies, charity events or business groups to meet other professionals from your industry. A simple Google search of “networking groups + the name of your city or area” will bring up listings of events and organizations dedicated to bringing professionals together. You can also check out job-hunt.org in which you can narrow the field by industry and state.

I also recommend you start a blog. It’s a way to showcase your knowledge of the field or industry you want to work in. Build up at least ten blog entries for review. The purpose of this is to demonstrate you know what you’re doing. The entries don’t have to be lengthy or cover in-depth topics. If you work in marketing write about a common marketing tactic you’ve used in the past. Include examples of how you’ve used such tactic and your personal thoughts about it.

If you are new to an industry and don’t have much experience don’t worry. Buy a book written by someone who works in that industry or field. Write posts about what you’ve learned from the book and any personal thoughts you have about it.

Social media is also a great tool that lets the people in your current network know you are looking for work. Post this information on your Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn pages. Send out updates every week about new blog posts you’ve written or messages that demonstrate your field knowledge. Always keep the messages positive and never comment about bad interviews or negative thoughts about needing a job. Remember social media tools like Facebook and LinkedIn are basically online profiles. You wouldn’t swear or speak negatively in a job interview so don’t do it online where anyone can see.

You should also consider working for free. This is especially true for those looking to break into a new industry or anyone just starting out. Since you don’t have the experience that would give you a leg up on your competition, the only other weapon in your arsenal is money. Ask for an unpaid internship or to tackle a project for a company. Many times firms go on to hire interns after they’ve gotten to know them and seen their work ethic. Just remember while you’re working for free to put in a killer job performance. Show up early, do more than they ask of you and be an overall charming person. Think of this opportunity as the longest, most in-depth job interview you’ve ever had.

It’s also extremely helpful to find a mentor within your industry. Look for someone who has achieved success in your field. This doesn’t have to be the owner of a Fortune 500 company. It can be someone who has a few years’ experience on you or an author of a book written about your industry. Email them or take them out for coffee to pick their brains about your career path. A lot of the times these professionals know countless others in your industry and can help you find a meaningful job!

The most important thing to do is to expand your network.  And don’t wait until you’re out of work to get started either.  The best time to start building your network is now.

All of these methods I mentioned cost little to nothing and are fairly simple to apply. Who knows, your blog might take off and you might find you suddenly don’t need to work for someone else! Good luck.

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Keeping Money in Your Pocket,

Nancy Patterson

One Response

  1. Tibor

    amazing!!! the funny thing is,that i can afford only for FREE,ZERO cost,so it still a beautiful dream for me.


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