New ways to find work

Author: Theodore Odeluga

It’s not certain how the global market will recover in the aftermath of current conditions but the good news is that there’s a multitude of ways to be more creative in your job search. In this article, I’m going to make some suggestions that involve ideas the reader may have thought of and others which are relatively new. Admittedly, much of the information here will be focused on the United Kingdom but these ideas can be used anywhere in the world.

A small selection of the 26 ideas listed here will involve a small amount of investment on your part and I’m fully aware of how much tighter money is when one’s income is low or non-existent. But the way to look at it is that there’s no more worthwhile investment than the one you make in yourself. Indeed, this rings truer when the stakes are high.

The key to success in the job market now is to see yourself as a brand and advertise yourself as a company does. This endeavour is all about self promotion. You’re basically marketing yourself as Yourself PLC. So let’s get started.

Upload your CV to CV libraries

This is an obvious one. You’re probably already doing this (or you should be). The advantage of using online CV libraries is that they’re viewed by potential employers and agencies who are actively seeking recruits. This cuts out much of the effort involved in having to email your CV to every recruitment site individually. A Google search should bring up a whole list of them. This is one of the biggest:
www.cv-library.co.uk

Create a video CV

In the age of YouTube, I’d be surprised if this wasn’t already a popular (and effective) method of letting people know you’re available.

The video promo for employers could be as simple as just setting up a camcorder on a tripod and addressing the camera directly with a script or an off the cuff description, detailing your skills and experience. As you would when interviewing, you’d try to put across something of your personality and look the camera straight in the lens (as you would with an interviewer straight in the eye). The other end of the spectrum would be to use some fancy post production software to produce a slick multimedia presentation. The choice is yours.

The spoken content would simply be a list of the prestigious companies you’ve worked for and one defining achievement you made for each one or the great things you did for one company over many years.

You’d obviously submit the video toYouTube but you could also give out copies burnt to CD or DVD at job fairs (which you’d be attending anyway regardless – do an online search for upcoming events) and graduate recruitment shows.

Build a personal CV website

You could either do this or get one of the specialist web design companies which are now springing up everywhere online to do it for you. Personally, I’d opt for the cheaper option and save money. Learning HTML, the language of the web isn’t difficult and there are many cheap and free software tools available. Of course, there are also countless online tutorials (including this one at my site: http://www.ebizdynamix.com/wdservices.html )

In my tutorial, I also mention ways of how to promote your site and get published online very cheaply or for free. Please look at this idea as people are doing it and getting results.

Build and write a blog

Following on from the idea above, this technique is even more common to get employer interest. Again, I’ve written something which may help (http://www.ebizdynamix.com/MaintainYourBlog.html) and there are plenty of other resources online including sites where you can set up and maintain your blog for free. Using online promotion techniques to attract visitors, you could then put your blogs web address on anything you can write on including your CV, business cards, ads in shop windows, on spec letters to employers and anywhere else you can think of. The blog could basically be about your ‘adventures’ trying to find a job and an expert eye view of your particular industry. People are always hungry for valuable information and this could be an opportunity to express yourself as well as expose your talent to the world.

Join professional social networking sites

Again, this is something you’ve already done or must do. There are now a myriad of social networking sites geared towards professionals like yourself and even the big ones such as MySpace and Facebook have sections for professionals. These tools are great for spreading the word about your skills, experience and availability. This is the most famous one which I’m sure you’re aware of: http://www.linkedin.com/

Invite potential employers to a webinar

This is a relatively new (as far as I know) idea but it follows the same principle as what some independent musicians have done recently where they’ve set up their equipment in their own living room and performed right there ‘in front of millions’.

As long as you have a basic webcam set up on your PC, you could do this. Send out an invite (either offline or online) to as many potential employers as you can, detailing a time, date and virtual place (wherever they can access your live webcam broadcast) and do a presentation. Say how great you’d be as an asset to their company if they hired you and provides details of your experience.

Again, it could be a simple presentation or a sophisticated multimedia experience. It would be a great way to directly engage potential recruiters as a precursor to future working relationships.

Create a cheap and durable form of self presentation

As mentioned before, it’s understandable when one’s out of work for a limit to be imposed on disposable income. However, as I said, you’re the best thing you can invest in and one thing you can do as ‘your own company’ would be to create cheap and durable promotional items like key fobs, coffee mugs, mouse mats or even T shirts. The cheapest (and possibly most effective) item could be a calendar.

Sent to potential employers as a gift they’d obviously use it all year round (and remember you for this period) and you could make the thing nicely and affordably. With a good word processor program or graphics software package it wouldn’t take long to produce. A single sheet would suffice with all the days and months of the year – or a 12 page document. When it was done you’d send the finished product to as many companies as you could afford.

Write an interesting trade article

Related to writing your own blog or having your own website is this journalistic suggestion. If you’ve worked in a particular trade for a certain amount of time, it’s fair to say you’ll be an expert on it and could write a freelance article about it for a trade or industry magazine.

Just like web surfers, magazine editors are always looking for good material. You could send them an article on spec, writing about your own view of the job seeking experience and the way your industry is being affected by the current conditions. Potential recruiters would read this and be impressed.

Post free online ads to various sites including the free online ad service from Google

Again, thinking like a brand this is an option to consider. Free online ads are available from various sites including community sites, social networking sites and Google in particular. This is something you’d be doing anyway if you ran a small business but there’s no reason why you can’t advertise as an individual with a given set of skills and experience, looking for a particular type of job. Just enter the phrase Google local business center into the Google search bar and select the first link which appears.

Auction yourself

This is an online bidding system that certain websites have been running in recent years. If you’re a web or software developer, you’re probably aware of such sites as www.rentacoder.com There’s now also a site aimed at employees in general – www.jobaphiles.com You’ll probably be competing with students who’d be trying to outbid each other in terms of pricing themselves down but its an option. It all depends on your situation but check it out and see what you think.

Do a Twitter job search

It was only a matter of time before companies started using Twitter for serious stuff like recruitment. Such is the influence of this online phenomenon. www.twitterjobsearch.com works in the same way as the main site does. Companies basically post up to the minute updates about their activities in hiring people the same way individuals leave SMS type messages about their latest activities.

Organise a ‘job party’

Here’s another simple idea which is relatively new. Get in touch with friends who are also looking for work (or complete strangers if you’re using a social networking website) and all of you could contribute to hiring a hall or space at a business centre (you may all get a discount from group booking or from simply being jobseekers (as an added incentive for company directors to come, see if you could hire catering and drinks for the day)) where you’d all invite as many potential employers as possible to come and have a chat, some food and some drink –and show yourselves as potential recruits. The order of the day would be to ‘work the room like a pro’ and network with multiple copies of your CV.

Give your CV to friends and relatives to pass to their employers

Obviously people are self interested when things are tough but people are also people and not everyone’s all bad. Many (especially family members) like helping others and on this basis, this would be another way of getting in front of employers.

Target the companies that do well out of a recession in your job search

As in fiction, its also the case that in real life someone wins and someone loses. There are actually businesses out there which are thriving as a result of the global downturn. These companies also require all sorts of different staff (not just core staff) – so chances are they’ll need someone with your skills and experience. Indeed, they’re probably desperate to get someone like you because they’re picking up business from previously successful enterprises as well their own. Such companies could include debt collection agencies, loan companies, discount retailers and equipment rental or leasing firms and even temporary recruitment agencies.

Offer to work for free – at a price

Do a deal with an employer where if you work for free for a period of time with them, they’ll give you something in return other than simply lunch and travel expenses. They could perhaps offer you first refusal of any paid jobs they might have in future or hire you in a paid job for a certain period of time after your ‘free’ period runs out. Your free period could be the length of time you’d be able to get unemployment benefits. You could explain to the jobcentre you’d still be actively seeking work and would be actually maintaining your skills –and thereby increasing your chances of finding work by following this arrangement.

Write a list of key words describing your skills and experience then enter it into Google

You could do this then simply see what came up. Chances are, you’d get a list of companies currently seeking or employing people of your background. Applying to them directly would probably cut out the time and procedure of having to go through agencies.

Find out about new companies just starting up

Get in there before anyone else does. Many start ups obviously can’t afford to hire anyone in the early stages but if you presented yourself as reliable, professional and reasonable, you could negotiate something. Perhaps you could work for free in the anticipation that when the company became more solvent your position would be paid for. For UK readers, information can be found on start ups here: www.businesslink.gov.uk American readers can go here: http://www.smallbusinessnotes.com/fedgovernment.html

Hire your own personal recruitment agent for a one off fee

Of course if you ended up hiring your own recruitment consultant as an ‘ongoing’ arrangement, you’d have to question their credibility as a recruitment consultant! Jokes aside, this could be a viable option for those who’ve been made redundant but were lucky enough to get a good redundancy package (and a bit of spare cash to do this with). Place an ad somewhere to attract a good person and check them out thoroughly. The irony here is that you’re the jobseeker and also the recruiter. Someone already working for an agency who fancies a bit of ‘private work’ may be a good person to hire.

Buy into a job

Put up some money to buy a share in a business start up. Offer to actually provide a contribution through work if you can’t afford to invest much. Similarly to finding a start up to work for, when the company starts to makes a profit, you’d eventually be paid.

Contact a blogger who’s also an employer

Responding to blog posts with comments over a period of time helps to build working relationships and friendships in the professional world. Many companies now have active bloggers who write about their companies and industries in general. Keep corresponding with a writer who’s blog you’re interested in. Show them through your comments that you’re knowledgeable, interesting and constructive. Chances are you’ll one day be invited for an informal chat / interview.

And there we are. I hope something in this list has got your interest, given you further ideas or at least provided you with an interesting article. Remember, perseverance is the key to finding a job –especially in today’s market and the more things you try, the more chance you’ll have of finding something. Good luck in your job search and all the best to you.

Occupation: Web Developer
Theodore Odeluga is the webmaster of ebizdynamix.com. He is a keen web and software developer who enjoys contributing to making the fascinating and enlightening entity we call the internet an even greater sum of its parts. He lives in London, United Kingdom

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