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Be bold in your job search

being boldIn my last post, I wrote about the importance of always keeping your eyes peeled for a new job opportunity. The chance to advance is never something you should let slip by, so as a follow-up I thought it’d be good to discuss how exactly to make it known that you are looking and what to do when something you want unexpectedly presents itself.

First off, it is always easier to get a job when you have a job. This is a painful reality when you find yourself out of work, because it seems that you are always a little out of place at networking events and other professional gatherings. The fact is, if you have a job, you can begin conversations with “I work with so-and-so, on this and that issue.” Odds are someone within earshot will have a connection and you can go from there.

It’s a little harder when you’re out of work and have been spending all day, every day writing cover letters and sending out resumes. You end up talking to yourself and the dog all day, so when you make it out to events, all you can do is speak in the bullet-points on your resume. On the other hand, if you are not currently working, I would suggest finding an organization with which to do some volunteer work. Then, instead of “anyone hiring?”, you can begin conversations with “I’ve been doing some work with a great organization in Baltimore” and odds are someone within earshot will have a connection. Plus, your ability to get out there and “do,” despite being out of work, will resonate with people. They’ll be more likely to recommend you should they know of an available position.

When a position does come to your attention, it’s important to be bold! I recently read that a new firm opened involving a person I had lunch with a month earlier. So, with a little prodding from my boss to go big or go home, I shot off a text – “Wow, congratulations! Make sure you send me your new email… and a job offer.” He knew what I was looking for, no reason to beat around the bush. And although I didn’t get a job offer, a “Thanks! Let’s get coffee” was just fine.

The other necessity when you see an available job, and I can’t stress this enough, is to immediately activate your network. When I apply for a job, I cross-reference the people in the office with my LinkedIn to see if anyone has a connection. If I see that someone I worked with in the past knows someone in the office where I am applying, I shoot off an email. Most of the time, a connection can be made quite easily. By doing this, I’m also keeping myself on my connection’s radar and they’ll think of me when they see something.

It’s all about keeping yourself out there. If you’ve done great work for people in the past, they will usually be happy to recommend you for a position – if they know you’re looking and if you remind them.