I want a jerb! Or at least an interview
July 17, 2012 9:51 AM   Subscribe

What method of job-seeking is most likely to yield the highest rate-of-return for landing a job or at least getting interviews?

I've been unemployed for over a year (although I haven't been looking that entire time) and have not had as much success as I would like in getting interviews.

I'm registered with probably half a dozen employment agencies, but only two have gotten me interviews, and one has gotten me a job where I only work a few days out of the month.

I've heard that applying online is something of a sucker bet because sites like careerbuilder 's posted jobs are absolutely swamped with resumes. My experience bears that out.

I'm not really in a good position for networking because I just moved to a new city and state (Dallas, TX). I went to a small job fair too, but that didn't bear any fruit.

So what else should I be doing? What about craigslist? My state's employment services agency? Good ol'-fashioned newspaper classifieds? Something else I'm not thinking of?

I just want to optimize my ability to at least get farther in the hiring process than I am currently. Thanks in advance for the suggestions!

P.S. If it matters, my experience is in quality control/adhering to federal laws and company policies for a large investment bank; such jobs seem to be in short supply with a lot of competition, but I'd also be happy to do call center/administrative/basic office/clerical type work if it was full time.
posted by mreleganza to Work & Money (19 answers total) 55 users marked this as a favorite
You might get on LinkedIn, if you're not already on there.
posted by box at 9:55 AM on July 17, 2012

All the methods. Is there a local coffee shop near you? Be a known entity and Ask there. Or Starbucks. The baristas hear things. All the things.

Volunteer. Be a known, reliable entity. Ask if they know anyone hiring 'your specialty.'

Research what kinds of places in town hire people who do your specialty. Sure, they don't have a listing posted today, but they might tomorrow or next week.
posted by bilabial at 9:58 AM on July 17, 2012 [2 favorites]

What about craigslist?

Most people say avoid it, but I scored at least a half-dozen interviews and several job offers by spending an hour or so every night sending my resume to craigslist ads (this is in NYC.) It was for intermediate-level clerical stuff, mostly, so if you're a professional of some sort, this may not be the route for you, however.

I was applying to jobs that were pretty much identical, so I just shuffled around relevant bits of the resume (always make sure something on your resume answers every "looking for the following skills" section of the posting), stuck the proper info in the COMPANY NAME and JOB TITLE spaces on my cover letter, and made sure I followed the instructions in the ad precisely. I'd encountered more than a few postings that used your reply as a test.
posted by griphus at 9:59 AM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

First of all, to get an interview you have to apply to about 100 postings. Skip Craigslist and Employment agencies. You have to get on-line, and you have to do it ALOT!

The best job websites are (in decsending order):

Simply Hired
Going directly to specific company Careers sites
Career Builder

That's about it. Simply Hired is good because it consolidates jobs from around the web.

You will need to have at least 5 versions of your resume, which you will then customize to each job. I was applying for Admin, Sales, Staff, Telecommunications and Finance jobs. Each resume highlighted something about those jobs. Same experience, packaged differently.

When applying to each job, chances are you will have to do their Taleo thing, where you fill in the blanks for the job you're applying for. Once you do it though, you're already in the system, so while it's a lot of time up front, when applying for subsequent jobs at that site, you just select the profile you want and you're good to go.

Visit the sites daily to check the new postings. CareerBuilder has a neat thing where you can build a profile and it will recommend specific jobs for you. It's pretty on-target.

I got my job through LinkedIn. I got most of my interviews through LinkedIn. In my mind this is the BEST, most targeted job site. I did not pay for any extras, just regular LinkedIn.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 10:02 AM on July 17, 2012 [6 favorites]

I disagree with the "skip craigslist" advice. I've had decent luck with postings there. The posters may be swamped with applications, but many are obviously unsuited for the position or can't assemble a sentence. If you are suited and can draft a cover letter, you can distinguish yourself quickly.
posted by craven_morhead at 10:04 AM on July 17, 2012

My experience is in quality control/adhering to federal laws and company policies for a large investment bank; such jobs seem to be in short supply with a lot of competition, but I'd also be happy to do call center/administrative/basic office/clerical type work if it was full time.

At the risk of saying something obvious, the best way to get the first kind of job is probably very different from the best way to get the second kind.
posted by box at 10:15 AM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm not really in a good position for networking because I just moved to a new city and state (Dallas, TX)

The best method of job-seeking is still networking. Network through the people you know where you came from. You might be surprised that one or more of them does know somebody or knows somebody who knows somebody in Dallas. Thats what networking means. Its a small world. Especially if you're looking for a job in short supply.
posted by vacapinta at 10:18 AM on July 17, 2012 [2 favorites]

Craigslist, at least in Austin, has a variety of good jobs on it. I've gotten a few there.

Check out indeed.com, they also aggregate many different job sites into one place.

Most newspapers now partner with CareerBuilder or Monster so all their jobs are listed there, or they have their own online version.

Applying for jobs is a LOT of work, You need to be applying all. the. time. You need to tailor your cover letter and resume to fit the job you are applying for. Be all over every job site, don't discount one just because you think they are getting a lot or resumes from there, just because I get a lot of resumes doesn't mean I get a lot of GOOD resumes.

Keep track of what you apply for, don't apply for the same job twice, that makes you look silly.
posted by magnetsphere at 10:21 AM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

Companies are flooded with job applications right now not because they post on XYZ site, but because the economy sucks and unemployment is high. As such, you need to spend your time looking at the sources that give you the most appropriate listings for your industry/experience level, regardless of if that's Craigslist, Monster, or some bulletin board at your local 7-11.

Also, networking is still the right thing to do, even if you're completely new to town. Hopefully you're on LinkedIn. Go in and search by city/state and see who you're a 2nd degree from. Then, ask the person in the middle for an introduction, and go from there. You're actually in the best position possible for networking, since you can say, "I'm new in town and trying to get a lay for the land, can you help me out?"

Also: "quality control/adhering to federal laws and company policies for a large investment bank" sounds like the type of job where there are a lot of professional organizations you can join and get access to networking events, potential peers, and narrow-scope job boards.

Something to keep in mind: Assuming you're applying for appropriate positions (you're not applying for a PhD-level job when you failed out of high school), and recognizing that this is taking a very broad brush to the process:

...if you can't find jobs to apply to, you're probably looking in the wrong places.
...if you're applying and not getting interviews, it's because of your resume.
...if you're getting interviews, but not having your referenced checked, it's because of how you come across during the interview
...if you're getting your references checked, but not getting offers, it's because of what your references are saying.
...if you're getting offers, it means all the above lined up right.

Again, that's very broad brush, but a lot of people don't think it through, and fail to improve their performance in each of the areas (or improve one area when another is the problem).
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 10:23 AM on July 17, 2012 [10 favorites]

Something that hasn't been mentioned yet, and I know someone who did this successfully: Skim your industry's publications, and those of its professional organizations. There may be companies who advertise postings there and nowhere else, specifically to dodge the resume avalanche.
posted by gnomeloaf at 10:37 AM on July 17, 2012

I've started to get more forward with networking. You know what's scary? Showing up in a roomful of strangers to "network." You know what's less scary, sitting down and having coffee with someone. I've started being pretty forward and saying, "Hey, let's do coffee and talk about what's going on." or "My friend X suggested that we should meet up, do you have any time?"

A friend of mine who I haven't talked to in ages sent me an email out of the blue, cc'ing a friend of his and saying, "you two are both cool, you should hang out." Now, my initial feeling was to blow this off -- meet up with a stranger? Randomly? But, I fought that urge and emailed her and said, "Isn't that funny? Well, maybe we should meet up -- want to do coffee sometime soon? My Tuesdays and Thursdays are most open." And she said, "yes," and we had coffee and it was lovely and now we're friends on Facebook.

I also randomly emailed someone in my profession who I had heard about and whose portfolio I liked and it was seriously, like: "Hey, I really like the portfolio on your website -- do you ever need freelance or contract help? I know this is sort of random but I'd love to get coffee with you and bring my book." Like, what the hell, right? The worst that could happen is a "no." After 3 weeks (!) she emailed me back and we're getting coffee this week.

I've also started reaching out to old colleagues and reconnecting. Find out if your old group of friends knows anyone in town. Then contact them. You got to just keep picking in all directions. I reworked my resume so that the top is a rather robust skills section organized into categories. This allows me to tailor my resume to just about anything. It's so easy that it's kind of fun to do it. Keep picking!
posted by amanda at 10:54 AM on July 17, 2012 [2 favorites]

Nthing LinkedIn.

One thing that I did was search my extended LinkedIn network for recruiters and asked to connect with them. Recruiters will friend just about anyone because they like having deep talent pools to fish in. Then, once they accepted my request to connect, I sent them an email, BRIEFLY telling them who I am, what I do, and what I'm looking for. I end the email with a request to keep me in mind if any opportunities come up.

The result has been a huge increase in the number of people who look at my profile, invitations to connect from other recruiters, and 2 times a recruiter asking me if she could submit my resume for an open position she knows about.
posted by bluejayway at 11:37 AM on July 17, 2012 [3 favorites]

The new normal ( at least for me ) is Career Builder, Monster, DICE, Indeed etc. All of them. Then what happens is you will have dozens of head hunters working to fill positions call you when they become available. In this new normal most jobs never get posted or advertised. Most HR departments are more than willing to pay the agencies and head hunters to pre-screen resumes. It was not uncommon for me to receive 4 or 5 calls on the same job when there was a skill match. Now I'm not saying to give up on Craigslist or scanning the employment sections of the Web sites of companies you are interested in, but 90% of jobs are never posted.
posted by Gungho at 11:41 AM on July 17, 2012 [3 favorites]

Don't discount craigslist! (well unless you're looking for a CEO or some other executive position). I've gotten all but one job in my life from craiglist. There are lots of clerical and office positions there, often from some really great companies.
posted by lovelygirl at 3:03 PM on July 17, 2012

This might be a left-field idea, but try idealist.org.

Non-profits most frequently have a hard time finding someone to do technical things like figuring out how to adhere to laws - you might not be an exact fit but your experiences could make you appealing if you are willing to shift your focus a bit. The pay is a lot lower than the corporate world but it's worth a look.
posted by mai at 3:58 PM on July 17, 2012

try recruiting firms like aerotek, KForce and others. If you know a recruiter, he will help you find jobs with your background and having an inside man/woman is always helpful and gives you an advantage over just applying online
posted by radsqd at 6:57 PM on July 17, 2012

also sending out 100 of resumes before getting an interview. Also since, you will be sending out that many resumes , huntsy instead of paper and pen might help keep track of sending all those jobs.
posted by radsqd at 7:52 PM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

Nthing Craigslist. The last three jobs I've gotten have been via Craigslist.
posted by SisterHavana at 8:33 PM on July 17, 2012

You will also want to check out The Riley Guide. It's a great site with all sorts of job hunting resources - links to all kinds of job boards, plus advice on all aspects of the job hunt. I find it extremely helpful.
posted by SisterHavana at 8:55 PM on July 17, 2012 [2 favorites]

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