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June 16, 2011 9:19 AM   Subscribe

Networking is best, but what is second best?

I found out recently that the firm I have worked for the past eight years (since graduating college) is going to be closing in about a month. (Eek!) I have enough money saved for awhile, DH has an excellent job, we have no kids who need to eat. We're not worried yet.

I have a strong résumé, and have a few connections to network in different areas, but what ELSE can I do, besides searching Craig's List? If I submit my résumé through a company's website in reply to specific job postings, will it just end up in a pile?
posted by roomthreeseventeen to Work & Money (24 answers total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
Linked In.
posted by sweetkid at 9:22 AM on June 16, 2011 [2 favorites]

Generally, yes, submitting your resume through a company's website will result in it being in a pile. that pile does get looked at, but it can take a while.

What field are you in?
posted by pdb at 9:26 AM on June 16, 2011, linkedin, facebook, theladders, etc.

But, really, networking is best.

It may help to know what industry you're in, in order that people can tell you what sites are best for jobs in your industry. I wouldn't conduct any sort of job search through Craigslist.
posted by dfriedman at 9:27 AM on June 16, 2011

Response by poster: pdb, I'm currently a legal assistant but have experience in PR and medical records.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:28 AM on June 16, 2011

Get everyone's name and contact info you can at the company you currently work at and find out where they all are landing. Often people will bring coworkers along with them, especially managers.
posted by empath at 9:28 AM on June 16, 2011 [3 favorites]

empath has it. You might also make contact with the industry recruiters in your area, but be aware that many of them are competing to fill the same slot(s). But - agreed 100% - keep track of where everyone lands and be ready to follow a manager someplace else.
posted by jquinby at 9:35 AM on June 16, 2011

Response by poster: Sorry to babysit thread. I work for a solo practitioner who is retiring. There aren't people to follow.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:36 AM on June 16, 2011

Best answer: One thing I learned that's really important is to target your resume and cover letter to the job you're applying for. Make sure that you address key things that they mention in the job posting.
posted by radioamy at 9:40 AM on June 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

Surely you're familiar with other firms in the area. Send out some feelers to see who may be hiring. You might be surprised; a lot of firm staffers get hired this way.
posted by valkyryn at 9:41 AM on June 16, 2011

Best answer: Sorry to babysit thread. I work for a solo practitioner who is retiring. There aren't people to follow.

If that's the case, I would heavily lean on him or her to help you find a new job. I'm sure he or she has contacts, and if you were their only employee for 8 years, I'd think they'd be more than willing to do it.
posted by empath at 9:42 AM on June 16, 2011 [3 favorites]

For general tips on careers, networking, resumes, layoffs, etc... check out the podcast Career Tools.

They are a bit chatty, but the casts are very good overall.
posted by Homo economicus at 9:48 AM on June 16, 2011

In my recent 3 month job search I kept stats on what worked and what didn't work for generating interviews. Networking, recruiters, and LinkedIn job ads. And recruiters I list reluctantly, but I did get 4 interviews via one recruiter. Full blog post. (self link)
posted by COD at 10:13 AM on June 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

"legal assistant but have experience in PR and medical records."

Send your unsolicited resume with a killer cover letter to firms that do medical malpractice (either side) with details of your legal and medical records experience. My husband's firm does med mal and it can be annoyingly difficult to find legal secretaries/paralegals/etc. with enough specialized knowledge to work on med mal cases (mostly doing document work). The only thing that would make you more desirable than experience with medical records would be an actual nursing degree.

Even if they're not actively advertising for paralegals with medical knowledge (usually they just have the RN/paralegal supervise the paralegals without expertise, or something), firms around here will often snap up such people.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:17 AM on June 16, 2011

Best answer: Find other people in your field--the one you're going into--ask them for an informational interview. Tell them you're transitioning from a solo practice to --you hope--a larger practice and you want to talk to them about their experiences in a larger practice. Be interested in what they have to day, if it feels right, ask them to take a look at your resume and look for what may be missing. At the end, ask them to keep your resume (or send an updated one the next day) and to call you if they hear of an opening.
posted by vitabellosi at 11:07 AM on June 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

posted by jasondigitized at 11:13 AM on June 16, 2011

Don't discount craigslist and other job boards. Here, the local bar association has job boards with paralegal and legal assistant postings. I and others have secured jobs this way.
posted by craven_morhead at 11:32 AM on June 16, 2011

Something that might help you and make you stand out from the rest of the bunch is to create your own website or have one created for you. Then you can email prospective employers with links to your website rather then just a professional resume attached to the email. Keep the website professional but interesting. Maybe even on the hip, cool side. Put more on it then just work. Let people get excited about you and your experience. Hope this helps!
posted by ljs30 at 1:15 PM on June 16, 2011

Best answer: Don't discount craigslist and other job boards.

Yeah, I'm not sure where you are, but in NYC I got at least an interview a week just by a daily resume-assault at every job I could even remotely forsee not hating. These weren't exactly the awesomest gigs in the hottest places, but they were good, solid opportunities with non shady-companies
posted by griphus at 1:42 PM on June 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I'm in NYC
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:02 PM on June 16, 2011

Okay, well, my strategy was to put the field's ("administrative" for me, "legal" for you, but honestly add "administrative" as well. There are jobs for pretty much every field in there) RSS feeds for your borough and/or Manhattan (the best/most frequent opportunities are in Manhattan) in Google Reader and then shooting out resumes whenever I got a chance.

The nice thing about CL is that the ads are so terse and boilerplate, they make it very hard to specialize a resume. Why is that nice? You can shoot these things out ten, twenty a day with minimal effort. 90% fall by the wayside, are scams -- I doubt anything in the high five/low six is going to advertise on Craigslist, so I hope that's not what you're looking for -- but, hey, like I said, an interview a week. Worst case scenario, its good practice!
posted by griphus at 3:01 PM on June 16, 2011

Best answer: I don't have a copy of What Color Is Your Parachute handy, but this page claims to have the breakdown of the success of different job search strategies from that book.

They are:
  1. Researching employers and approaching decision maker through contacts 86% of people who tried this said it was effective
  2. Applying in person to an employer without doing homework 47% effective
  3. Asking friends for job leads 34% effective
  4. Asking family for job leads 27% effective
  5. Using placement office at school/college once attended 21% effective
  6. Responding to ads in newspapers (the higher the level of job, the less likely you are to be successful this way) 5-24% effective
  7. Answering ads in trade journals in your field 7% effective
  8. Employment Agencies (again, depending on the level) 5-24% effective
  9. Mass mailings of resumes 8% effective
  10. Computer matching services 4% effective

posted by willnot at 4:59 PM on June 16, 2011 [3 favorites]

Another vote for Craigslist.

I do administrative work, marketing, and other freelance work and I've had good luck on Craigslist. I live in a place with a really tight job market, too. (Currently I'm working in a yoga studio doing admin work and I also do freelance writing work and marketing for a couple other people/websites.)

The thing is — though the people hiring are getting a lot of responses, I don't think it's that hard to stand out. Write the very best possible cover letter you can, and then you can basically use the same one again and again, albeit tweaking it towards the specific job.

I always try to sound professional but friendly. I've had many people tell me my cover letter and resume stood out because I didn't have any spelling errors, I knew how to write a complete paragraph, and I sounded like an overall intelligent person.
posted by Rocket26 at 6:06 PM on June 16, 2011

Another member of the "I found my job via Craigslist" club here. I know my company (ad agency, owned by huge parent company) posts a lot of their openings on Craigslist. In my case, I replied to the posting and got a call back the next day. I think they do charge a small fee to post employment ads in some of the larger markets, so that weeds out a lot of the really sketchy companies (although not all)
posted by SisterHavana at 10:23 PM on June 16, 2011

I second what empath said. Prepare a list of specific people at other firms that your solo deals with and target them.

My small firm hires almost exclusively via recruiters, but if we were in the market for an assistant, we'd look more seriously at someone like you. "Oh, she worked with Jane. Must know the basics of our practice already." And, Jane has probably said at some time "Oh, I'll check with roomthreeseventeen on the status and get back to you." Or some such statement showing she relies on your competence.
posted by Measured Out my Life in Coffeespoons at 11:59 PM on June 16, 2011

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