Make job-searching part of your career-long routine – an hour or two a week of effort, say- you’ll discover profitable opportunities you’d otherwise miss and also reap side benefits of a better understanding of your field of work. Yes, even if you’re deliriously happy in your current position, you should be looking. Always. What’s more, there are likely many jobs out there you’d be even happier in, and better compensated by. People who change employers typically enjoy higher wage growth year over year than those who stay, according to payroll company Automatic Data Processing.
Search online job portals. Look to the largest websites — Indeed, Monster, CareerBuilder and Indeed, Monster, CareerBuilder — for recent postings and to tweak searches by titles, location and keywords. It pays to have accounts, your resume posted and to have job alerts set up with multiple job portals; some listings show up in one but not the other. Glassdoor lists salary information and reviews of companies by employees. LinkUp draws in postings from company websites. Dice posts tech jobs. Idealist has jobs for the nonprofit sector, USAJobs for the federal government. And state workforce agencies and chambers of commerce may post jobs on their websites. Indeed, scrapes openings from all over the web, often turning up jobs you’d only find on the employer’s site.
Send weekly or daily emails. Set a time each week to quickly scan them, read up on the handful that might be of interest, share one with a contact. This habit makes you smarter about your industry or field, often exposing you to jobs you didn’t know existed.
Consider hourly or seasonal work. See Craigslist and SnagaJob.
Monitor company websites. Have a dream employer? Don’t rely on Indeed or LinkedIn to catch openings. Nearly every company website has “jobs,” “careers” or “opportunities.”
Apply for jobs. Again, even if you’re happy in your current position, you should set a goal of applying for at least half a dozen jobs a year (more, of course, when you’re unhappy). This will tone your search muscles and likely prompt you to tweak your email alerts.
Don’t be afraid to email. If you can identify the hiring manager, and as long as the job listing doesn’t have a “no contact” disclaimer, reach out. This shows confidence and initiative in case you fail to stand out through a jobs portal. Even when a job isn’t posted, opportunities may exist with a company you’re keen on. Consider a short email to someone in management to get the conversation started.
Make sure your interview materials are in top form. You can never read over your resume, cover letters and, if applicable, work samples enough times. While some elements of the cover letter are repeatable job to job, think of ways to tailor the letter to the job. An employer would like to hear how you’d fit their job, not any job. Even if work samples are atypical in your field, think of tangibles or anecdotes to show your work. And practice: See if someone in your network can conduct a mock interview with you using teleconference tools and on the phone (and then reciprocate).
Network. Employers found 55% of hires through employee referrals, according to a report from onboarding software company SilkRoad. You want someone to do you the favor of a referral, right? Do them a favor. Send them a link to an opening; introduce them to a potential employer or colleague; share credit generously on projects. These kind gestures plant the seed that you’re someone they’d want to work with and recommend.
Expand your education and training. Add to your relevant skills and show you’re a learner, a prized quality in today’s work environment. Coursera and edX offer free courses.
Establish yourself. Join a group on LinkedIn or Facebook where people may post insights into different careers and perhaps even job listings. Weigh in with answers to other’s questions. On Twitter, follow people in your industry whom you admire. Attempts at private conversations with people through these channels aren’t a negative; what started as friendly but professional banter can evolve into something more in the future.