Friday, June 12, 2009

Job Search Tips

Hi friends,

I know many of you are looking for work right now. Below are some tips I wrote up for a friend who was out of work. I was just recently out of work for six months - so I know how it feels. I hope it's helpful!

Best of luck to all of you.

Love, H

It sucks losing your job. (Mostly. Take cheap road trips, relax and volunteer when you can.) But being laid off or fired is a loss, just like any other. Allow yourself a little process of grieving - you may feel pained, shocked, angry, confused, guilty, whatever. Let yourself feel those feelings when you need to, and then move on.

Having just been through this, I thought I’d put together a list of tips and ideas for job searching.

First off, if you can get it, get Martin Yates' Knock 'Em Dead books - I used the Interviews one to study, and I rocked my interviews!

Try not to sleep in in the mornings. Have a routine, or a reason to wake up. I took my mom (she lives two blocks from me) to work every day, and that kept me from sleeping in and waking up at 11:00 am feeling crummy.

Register with as many websites as you can.
Register with both those sites specific to your profession, and general, as you can to keep your options open. Here are some I was on/checked every day:
If you live in California, take state tests and get on lists ASAP at:
(There are more. I’ll post them as I think of them.)

Go to job fairs. You never know what might lead to something. Plus, once again, it gives you a reason to get up in the morning when you feel like sleeping in, eating ice cream and watching Seinfeld re-runs instead.

When I was out of work, Kinko’s had a special where they let you print 25 copies (per location! On nice-ass paper!) of your résumé. I hit up three locations on my bike and got a total of 75 copies of my three-page résumé on fancy granite-gray paper. Watch the business news – or Yahoo business – for these kinds of jobseeker opportunities.

Keep a spreadsheet (or a binder, if you’re old school) of jobs that you’ve applied to, contacts at each location, dates to follow up, etc. That way you can keep track of who to call when. Also (obviously) ask all your ex-bosses, favorite co-workers and professors for letters of recommendation. I included an average of five letters of recommendation with my application each time I applied to a job. It can’t hurt. Keep copies of cover letters in the computer so you don’t have to re-invent the wheel every time a job opportunity arises. Be sure to let your references know when someone will probably be calling them.

Have a weekly routine. I used to apply for all the jobs listed in the Sunday Sacramento Bee and the California Job Journal on Mondays; local government jobs on Tuesday; private sector on Wednesdays; and state jobs on Thursdays. I saved Fridays for researching and contacting non-profits I was interested in working for, so that let me have something to look forward to on Friday, even though I wasn't working.

Pound the pavement! It can’t hurt to do walk-in inquiries and résumé drop-offs; besides (again) it gets you out of the house, and you'll probably learn about businesses/organizations you didn't know about walking around.

Also, register with temp agencies. I had an awesome account executive at Apple One who was always keeping her eyes peeled for me, and got me a temp job and a bunch of interviews.

Unemployment benefits have been extended, so at least there’s that. If you’re lucky, it’ll be enough to pay your bills and still have money left to eat and buy gas.

Get on It’s a great network. And use your resources – which basically means anyone you know. Make a business card and have a brief description of what you do. I got free business cards at There are also a couple of other free websites. Google “free business cards”. Remember to include the information you want to share with everyone.

If there's a cause you care about, volunteer there for awhile. It can't hurt to have something - be it unpaid - on your resume for the time you were out of work.

Job searching is like a full-time job, but remember that it’s just that – something to occupy a decent amount of your time, but not to obsess over. Take time to exercise, go for a walk, cook good food for yourself, and watch movies. Don’t feel too bad at the end of each day if you haven’t found something yet. It’s tough out there.

Finally, good luck!! Go kick butt, and be yourself. You are resourceful, amazing, smart, and capable. (Duh. Why do you think your other employer hired you in the first place?)


  1. Thanks for posting these job tips :)

  2. Thanks Heather, this was good inspiration for my first week back in reality.