One of the reasons why so many people get frustrated searching for a new job is that they spend all their time on the job boards. While posting for jobs online is one method of search, it's what everyone else is doing too. And it's hard to get noticed when you are one of hundreds of candidates vying for the same position. More people find their jobs through the hidden job market; the jobs that are not posted to the masses, but are uncovered through research and relationship building.
Here are some of the best kept secrets for finding those hidden jobs:
No, I'm not talking about pity eating and downing a bag of chips and a pint of ice cream in front of the TV. But meeting a friend for coffee, a drink, or lunch is a great way to combine something pleasant and fun with some power networking. Meeting with friends keeps you top of mind and increases the likelihood of them recommending you to others.
Journaling is a great way to record how you are feeling during your search and examine the trends that could be indicators of what is working in your search and what is not. Some even turn their journals into blogs to create a following and make new friends and contacts as they chronicle their unemployment experience.
Did you know that The Department of Labor funds job training programs? You may qualify for training in a specific skill or funding to return to school to complete a degree program. And an advanced degree or certification may make you more marketable in the long run.
Find a cause you are passionate about and volunteer for a role that allows you to create visibility in front of the decision makers in this volunteer community. You never know who these people may know and what types of introductions they may be able to make for you. And volunteering helps you feel needed and reminds you of all you have to be grateful for. (See How Volunteering Landed Me a Job.)
Aerobic conditioning and weight workouts can help you feel better and burn calories more efficiently during the day. Pilates can help reduce the muscle aches often associated with hours of sitting at a desk hunched over a computer, and many people find that a regular yoga practice is a great way to reduce stress. Plus an exercise class or gym can serve as a great affinity group and connector to people who may be able to make valuable introductions for you.
6. Do Someone a Favor.
When you were working you probably didn't have the time to watch someone else's kids or pet or help someone with a home improvement project. Now that you have some free time, offer to help make someone's life easier. Your efforts will be remembered and that help may be reciprocated in the form of an important introduction or job lead.
7. Primp and Pamper.
This is not an indulgence. The little details like your hair and nails count during a job search. And it can be rejuvenating to get a new hairstyle or experiment with a new nail color.
I'm not suggesting a totally new wardrobe. But a new scarf, tie, hair piece, or handkerchief can change up the interview suit you are tired of wearing and give you a renewed sense of confidence.
10. Reconnect. Get over your concerns about reconnecting with past colleagues and friends. Social media tools like LinkedIn and Facebook have made it fun, easy (and less creepy) to get back in touch with people from your past. Rekindle past relationships and you are bound to find a friend or two that can help you with some aspect of your search.