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The Job Search Process

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

Where to begin? For some people, looking for a job can be nerve racking. The thought of writing a resume, preparing a cover letter, and interviewing can be an intimidating process. Not to mention, the time it takes to apply for each individual job in itself is time consuming. I’ve heard countless stories of so many people applying to dozens of jobs each week, only to get one or two interviews and no job in the end.

I started thinking about the changes that have occurred in the job search process over the last few decades when I overheard a conversation from a student looking for a summer job. I was intrigued when I didn’t hear the word “indeed” (a popular job search engine) come up, since it’s always the first thing I hear someone say they’ve looked on to find a job. This got me thinking about the job search changes that have taken place between the 20th and the 21st century.

When I started working in the 1980’s a job search for me was a simple look in the local newspaper help wanted ads or hit the local stores and ask to fill out an application. Now, everything is pretty much online: indeed, LinkUp, glassdoor, SimplyHired, Monster, CareerBuilder, Idealist, USAJobs, DICE, LinkedIn, Craigslist, and such.

The internet has truly changed how we search for a job in the 21st century, but what hasn’t changed is that networking is just as important now as it has been in the past. Who you know is an important ingredient in finding a job, especially since employers are receiving several applications for the one open position you are applying for. If you don’t know someone on the inside, connect with someone within the organization and ask for an informational interview. Leverage LinkedIn for the informational interview or get introduced by one of your connections.

Here are a couple of examples.

I coached a student who was interested in doing an internship at YouSchool. When she saw I had a connection at YouSchool, she asked me to introduce her through LinkedIn. I made the introduction, she turned on the charm, and she got an internship. Win-win!

I also worked with a colleague that recently got another job. She wanted to serve first generation underrepresented college students, being a first generation college student herself. She used LinkedIn to reach out to people that worked in positions that she wanted to work in. She told them she was interested in finding out more about what they did for a living and they set up informational interviews. One informational interview lead to another, which eventually lead to a real interview, which lead to a job offer, and within a few months of beginning her job search she started working in an organization that allowed her to serve underrepresented college students that she so much wanted to work with.

Prepare for the informational interview, just as you would for an interview. Research the company and the person who you will be meeting with for the informational interview. Here are some informational interview questions:

  • Ask about their career path.What got them interested in their industry? What skills and education route they took to get them their job?

  • Ask them about their typical work day/week. What they like most about their job and the challenges they experience in their job and what the corporate culture is like.

  • Ask them about the long-term trends in their industry and where they see the future of their company headed.

  • Ask if they hire interns and if so who you would talk to about an internship. Ask about the skills the company is looking for and what they recommend you study in college to prepare for this field.

  • Finally, don’t forget to ask who they recommend you speak with next. You never know where this informational interview will lead.Be prepared.Do your homework. Take your resume. Thank them for their time.Connect with them on LinkedIn and thank them again for taking the time to meet with you, or better yet, send them a personal thank you card. They will appreciate it and it will be a way to remember you.When you finally land the job, let them know you got it.This relationship could be a valuable resource.

Although the job search process has changed over the years, some old school ways still work today. Walking in and filling out an application while asking to speak to the hiring manager still works in certain establishments, such as entry level positions. This worked for me in the 80's, and still works in 2016, if you go to a retail store, for instance.

I want to encourage you, not to give up. Finding a job in 2016 is a more difficult process than in was before the recession in 2008, but it’s not impossible. Seek a mentor, a friend, or career coach that can guide you in the job search process. Find an internship or volunteer to get your foot in the door. Most of all, have faith in yourself. God already does!

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