Getting Your Foot In The Door

When I was in high school, I remember my introduction to the world of work through summer employment. I found my jobs through word of mouth and inquiry. The employers did not post “help wanted” signs or place an ad in the newspaper. This was an early lesson in life regarding the “hidden job market” which can be a hard nut to crack.

Is the Internet the new, preferred solution? The answer is yes and no. While surfing company websites or applying with an online career search engine, it is necessary to employ a multi-strategy approach to expand your search. The Internet is a wonderful tool, but it does not replace some of the traditional methods that require you to be more active. While you wait for an Internet job posting or a response to your online application, which may not happen, here are additional strategies to keep the momentum in your job search:

- Job openings or projected openings may exist at a company but they initially appear as “inhouse” only. Do you know anyone who works there that could share what they know? Keep the employer on your radar screen and call human resources every few weeks to see if you can learn more about the future hiring process.

- Cold calling is about making a connection. If you really want to work there, pick up the phone and call. In some cases, you might stop by and ask to talk to the manager, but pick a time that is reasonable. This is about showing up and being courageous.

- Expanding your networking and getting out of the house or away from the computer screen is helpful. Can you chat with a friend for coffee, meet with your pastor, talk with a neighbor, tell your hairstylist you are job searching, attend a job support group, or mention you are job searching to your child’s soccer coach. People who know you can be a referral source. Some of this conversation involves moving out of your comfort zone.

- Send a letter of inquiry and resume. Tell them what you could do for them and that you would enjoy the opportunity to discuss potential opportunities for employment. Follow up with a call. This is about “nothing ventured, nothing gained” and trying to stay unattached to the word, no.

- If you are interested in an employer that keeps a low profile or closed door, you need to be assertive, professional, and persistent. Continue to build your resume with additional work experience and professional development. This might be your “dream job” so continue to groom yourself for a future opportunity and be realistic.

Yes, the old saying about not putting all of your eggs in one basket, the Internet, does apply in today’s job search. If you try the multi-strategy approach, you will improve the probabilities of a successful outcome.