Welcome to the job market. Join the party, grab a refreshment and take a seat with the millions of other job seekers.
Oh, I see you’re already sitting next to a computer. And you’ve got a very professional-looking resume open on your monitor. Terrific.
I can also see that you’ve been aggressively reaching out, via email, to former employers and industry contacts. And you’ve been scanning online job boards with a very determined look in your eye.
Well, your job search is off to a good start. These are all indispensable steps on the path to new work.
But while you’re waiting for your next big break, make sure you’re also living your life – not just staring into a computer screen. In fact, there are many different, less traditional paths that can lead you to a new job. Here are some of the more unique ways to get your foot in the door while looking for work.
Work for Free
There are endless charitable organizations that would love to have your help, from blood drives to church groups. And each one offers a great way to meet new people and expose yourself to circumstances that might lead you toward your next gig.
It can be hard to devote your attention away from online job boards, but don’t neglect the alternatives. People who participate in volunteer organizations tend to be eager to help out, so give them the chance to do so.
And as unappealing as it may sound, you can also try working for free. It’s not unusual for volunteer jobs and internships to lead to more permanent, paid positions. In fact, many companies use this tactic as a way of finding top-tier employees who are invested in their company and willing to work hard.
If given the chance to work for free, take the opportunity to prove yourself, and the odds of landing a paid gig are in your favor.
Network the Old Fashioned Way
You might not think your mother’s hairdresser can help you find a job, but whether or not you realize it, you have a number of useful connections that you’re probably not currently taking advantage of. And you never know who might happen to be in the loop.
So have your mom tell her hairdresser that you’re looking for work. She might have just heard word from a client about an opening that would be perfect for you. You never know who might be able to help, so get out there and tell everyone that you’re looking.
And as for your professional contacts, now’s the time to switch things up and adjust your networking tactics. Instead of emailing your professional contacts, call them and take them out to lunch. While you’re eating and catching up, explain your situation and ask them for advice.
Let Your Creative Side Shine
As difficult as it may be, try to enjoy the experience of being unemployed. When it comes to reaching out to potential contacts, you have very little to lose. Recognize this freedom, and try to keep your sense of humor.
Remember the fellow in New York who printed his resume on a sandwich board and wore it in Times Square? Or the lady who sent a baked-goods company executive a cake decorated with her name and phone number? While their tactics might embarrass more reserved job seekers, it’s a fun approach. And effective, since they were both hired immediately.
Go After Companies, Not Jobs
Consider making your own job, rather than waiting for a certain position to become available. If you want to work for a popular software company, entertainment studio or pony farm, reach out to a specific hiring manager at the company and let him or her know.
Find a professional and effective way to demonstrate your credentials. If hiring managers see a need for your skills, they’ll find a way to create a position for you.
Let Someone Else Do the Work
Sometimes you just need a break, and there are plenty of ways you can take one while still keeping your job search moving forward. Sites like www.taskrabbit.com, for example, allow you to hire someone at a reasonable price to do random tasks for you. If you’re struggling to manage your time, try using this site to have someone distribute your resume or research jobs online for you.
LiveCareer (www.livecareer.com), home to America’s #1 Resume Builder, connects job seekers of all experience levels and career categories to all the tools, resources and insider tips needed to win the job. Connect with us on Facebook and Google+ for even more tips and advice on all things career and resume-related.