I’ve been out of work for six months. I was laid off from a manufacturing company where I was employed for 10 years solid, as a Shipper and Receiver. I got my foot in the door of the company as a driver and then moved my way up the ladder. I’ve been dedicated to my job search and applying for tons of jobs online, registering with all of the usual websites including Workopolis, Monster and on specific company websites. I have not had one phone call. I am on the computer and Internet all day, five days a week, seven hours a day. What am I doing wrong?
Signed: On the Computer All Day
Dear On the Computer All Day,
According to Raffi Toughlouian, Division Director of Accountemps (a division of Robert Half International), job seekers should spend only 10 to 15 percent of their time online applying for jobs. Otherwise, he adds, it’s merely “surfing the web”. This leading recruiter stresses that you are competing with millions of people online at one time, and you may have no accurate idea of where your resume and/or application is going to. In essence, this technique may not be the best use of your time.
Karin Lewis, JVS’s Employment Counsellor and Social Media Specialist, highly recommends that you use all the tools in your toolbox for your job search. While you should still apply for jobs online, consider other techniques and strategies to look for work in your field. Toughlouian adds that a more productive use of your time with your job search would be to research the top five companies that have departments in the industry in which you have experience. A good idea would be to locate the hiring manager of the position you are interested in, and get their telephone number. Try to call the hiring manager and be sure to sell your experience, expertise, skills and abilities by preparing a brief 30-second “elevator pitch” to present over the phone or for a voicemail message. Practice the pitch as well. Calling the hiring manager either just before or after work hours might prove to be beneficial, especially if you are having a tougher time trying to get a hold of them.
LinkedIn is a great tool to use when researching potential companies and contacts of interest, though I would not recommend asking to connect with strangers on LinkedIn. Many job searchers seem to forget that utilizing your own live personal network is very important; those individuals with whom you interact with on a daily basis (whether it be in an elevator, at the grocery store, etc.) may know someone who is in the same field or industry in which you are interested. Always remember to be in “interview mode” when coming across these people, as you never know when they will recommend you to someone else in their professional network.
In addition, Toughlouian recommends “knocking on doors” as a great “old-fashioned” technique that job seekers rarely use these days, with the rapid growth of technology in our society. Just drop in to those companies that you have researched with your resume, dressed for an interview and ask to speak with the manager of the department or area you want to work. Maintain a professional appearance and be courteous all the time.
Do not be discouraged; the effort that you put into your job search will determine what you get out of it, continues Toughlouian. To conclude, instead of relying on the Internet as your sole job search tool, get a bigger bang for your time by picking up the phone, dropping into relevant companies and attend events that are geared towards your field or industry of choice. Volunteering is another great networking strategy.
By the way, JVS Toronto offers job search workshops that may help you, specifically the Social Media Networking workshop, which will show you how to use LinkedIn in your job search. You may also be able to work with an employment counsellor and employment consultant to prepare and practice your elevator pitches. There is a lot of great help out there, if you take the initiative to seek it out.
To submit your questions for this column IN CONFIDENCE, please email email@example.com.