Need a Job? 5 proven sources to jump start your career

A friend’s boyfriend has been out of full-time work for two years, bouncing from temporary job to contracting, luckily in the field of physics, chemistry and gaming (you might ask, what in the world does he do? Well, he plays with things that blow up, like an educated, well-intentioned chemical Ali, but on harmless enough).

In any case, I get this updated LinkedIn notification that he now has a permanent job. It’s hourly, not salaried, but pays well, offers amazing benefits and is close by.

Here’s my own belief. Getting a job is like hitchhiking. Unless you put yourself out there, no one will even give you a first (or second) glance.

“What was the trick?” I asked my friend, who’d been commiserating with me about the dramas of an unemployed family member.

“He called an old boss,” she said, adding a ‘duh!’ for good measure.

It’s not the first strategy I’d think about using were I in that situation, but it made sense. Why not? Hiring failure rates run about 80% when a firm uses ads. Their employees (the hiring managers) would probably love to hear from former employees, assuming the field is one that allows for transition (e.g. retail to marketing, not attorney to doctor).

I thought about bosses, but I also considered former clients. (heaven forbid I need to go out and get a real job sometime in the future). With nothing better to do, (for I am still bed-bound), I searched my contact database for names of former clients. Specifically, individuals who had left the ‘client’ company and were now working elsewhere. Turns out I have nice relationships with folks inside Microsoft, Amazon, Sony, and a slew of other companies that may be interesting to me at some point. That was good news to me. I can at least reach out and say hello (which I did by the way, just to make sure my name still rings a bell).

At least twice a week, I will get a resume or inquiry from someone looking for a helping hand. Here are a few of my suggestions. Try reaching out to:

  • School community-parents, teachers. Soccer moms or yore are now the PTA, art docents, you name it wonderpeople (for both men and women volunteer). Schools and orgs have after-school programs that need paid helpers. These folks also have partners/spouses who work and may know of an opening.
  • Church employment. Quite a few churches have strong employment arms, and the LDS church is one of them. The job openings list can be found by city/state and is a fantastic resources. If you don’t belong to the church, I bet you know someone who is. As your member friend to look on the ‘job postings’ site.
  • Neighbors. These people may not be your best friends, or friends at all. That doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t help if given the chance. If you are a loved-one is unemployed, what’s to lose? Go tell them what’s up, the skill set and if they know of any opportunities. Said humbly yet fervently and a bit of passionate zing, it might be a kickstart of grand proportions.
  • Service providers. Don’t laugh. I’m talking the garage repairman, the painter, the plumber, the car technician, the clerk you see a thousand times at the grocery story—all of these people know at least 50-100 people. That has to include someone in some industry that you care about. (I’m making the grand assumption that you are a) nice to all these people so b) they would want to help you).

From Pie sales to Big Sales

A good friend of mine Kristin, is now a successful sales professional but for about five years prior ot working outside the home she made and sold pies. Beyond making a few hundred bucks every week, she created a fabulous reputation for kindness and having can-do attitude for a dozens of business owners and professionals who wanted to give a pie to a new client, take to a party, or what have you. When Kristen’s daughter entered full-time school, the first thing Kristen did was tap into her network of “pie buyers,” as she called them. Within a week she had four interviews and two weeks later, had her first job in sales. Granted, it took her five years to move from inside sales (phone calls) to outside sales, but now she makes nearly $75,000 a year and has a great life. All because she tapped into her network.Today, she estimates half her business is referral, and the other half folks that she just starts talking to in line at Starbucks, or wherever else she finds herself surrounded by people. To her “every person waiting in line is a potential customer or new contact.” That new contact is a stranger in the beginning, but falls in to a category above.

As I’ve been typing, I’ve received an email imploring me to help a relatively new acquaintance get more contract work. Better go answer that one right now.