If you have been in the classroom for more than five years, you may be approaching the job hunt from a very traditional perspective.
For better or worse, in the 21st century, your successful job hunt is likely to occur online. Most every industry advertises, interviews, and hires through the internet. That means that you will need to have a basic comfort level in navigating websites, writing emails, sending PDF resumes, and maintaining a professional web presence.
Even if you are completely new to the job hunt, here are a few tips to catch you up on the basics:
Learning How to Network
Networking can be an intimidating activity for many professionals. Chances are very high that the past few months (or years) of your life have been invested in staying sane and staying on top of your workload, not in making networking connections with alumni, coworkers, and coworker’s spouses.
But the good news is that networking is just a fancy word for knowing people and having people know you. Networking happens year round and year after year – there is no one time that everyone networked and if you weren’t there you are late to the party. It’s as simple as going online and looking up an organization or school and showing up for (possibly free) drinks and appetizers.
While networking can be an uncomfortable, forced affair, it doesn’t have to be. In the end, it is just a code-word for meeting people, exchanging information, and helping each other out!
By far the best way to network is to use connections at your alma mater. Do a web search for “your town + your college” and see what comes up. Often, colleges have strong alumni associations within an hour’s drive that will host events and introduce you to new people.
If you don’t have an alma mater nearby or at all, you’re still okay! Just get out and do something. Volunteer at the library or for a local downtown area’s upcoming festival. Get online to meet people (safely) through networking organizations like Linked In, MeetUp, or Facebook (though of course, please be careful to not share personal information or meet anyone alone!).
Establishing a Web Presence
The internet is a wide-reaching and often scary thing. Instead of hiding from it, be proactive about your online presence. Join Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn and make professional pages. You don’t have to turn into an overnight social media specialist, but having a standard photo and color on each page will go a long way to making you look professional.
If you are so inclined, purchase your name in a domain name and set up a simple, professional landing page so that if an employer searches the web for you, something under your control shows up.
Here are a few great resources that take a small time investment but can give you a professional online presence:
- About.Me – Create a quick, interesting online business card.
- Re.Vu – Type in your resume stats, customize the format and colors and make something unique to showcase your skills.
- WordPress.Com – Free blog platform that you can manipulate to make a simple web page.
When your resume, cover letter, home office, and web presence are ready, head over to the hot job boards below to search for job titles and keywords.
Using Job Hunt Websites
On most of these websites you can also set an alert for new jobs with certain key words, so the internet can be working for you even when you are not actively searching.
When you begin your search on each website, maximize your return with the following tips:
- Break down your search query into basic nouns. Training becomes train. Teaching becomes teach. You want your query to look for key words in the job descriptions, not just specific titles. The same goes for the job title: content management coordinator and content management strategist could be the same position, so just search content management, or better yet just content.
- Widen your search location. Instead of Alexandria, VA, look for the DC/Metro Area. Instead of a small town on the outskirts of a big city in Texas, look at Austin or Houston. Big cities are big cities for a reason – people move there for jobs. It is also easier to find positions that offer teleworking opportunities this way.
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