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WHERE TO LOOK FOR YOUR NEXT JOB

The Internet:

Ever since the digital revolution took root in the 1990s, job-hunters have been speeding down the information superhighway in search of the perfect position. Virtually every major company has a “careers” section on their site, and there are several job boards where you will find announcements from a large number of employers.

Pro: Volume, volume, volume. You’ll have access to more postings than you can fathom. Plus, you can hunt in your pyjamas.

Con: When looking online, you may find something fantastic, only to scroll down and find out it’s a three-year contract in Antarctica. Also, on certain sites, the anonymity of the ’Net can attract some shady employers.

The bottom line: As long as you proceed with caution and stick with reputable sources, the Internet could be your best friend as you aim toward employment.

Classified ads:

This one’s been around for generations of career crusaders. Turn toward the back of your newspaper and you’ll find an assortment of neatly-indexed, condensed postings of openings in your area.

Pro: You won’t find many postings for Antarctica here, especially if it’s a community-based publication.

Con: It’s usually slim pickings if you’re looking for anything outside your hometown.

The bottom line: With such a brief format, the classifieds are still a great resource, particularly if you’re pressed for time or hunting casually.

Career fairs:

The career fair presents a familiar sight for many veteran job seekers – vast convention centers packed to the gills with perky, smiling ambassadors for dozens of different companies. Loud, bustling, and often chaotic, career fairs are there explicitly for hunters like you.

Pro: With so many options available, you may find yourself drawn to an industry you may have never considered before. Many accessible and diverse employers choose to seek workers in this forum, since fairs tend to attract a broad range of applicants. Also, some companies accept resumes and interview on-site.

Con: In some cases, much of what you encounter will not be actual employers, but rather temp agencies or training organizations after your wallet, not your services.

The bottom line: Career fairs are never a bad idea to check out, but they’re best used to complement, rather than replace, a more specific search.

On-campus recruitment:

This is a great option for individuals currently upgrading their education. As the school year progresses, many companies hold recruitment sessions for potential future employees at campuses across the country. These sessions will often be smaller, more informal affairs, with presentations, plenty of glad-handing, and, quite often, free food.

Pro: Hey, the employer is coming to YOU! How much easier could it get?

Con: Companies are often looking for highly specific candidates, usually in professional or skilled trade areas. General arts and science students are usually out of luck.

The bottom line: On-campus recruiting makes a difficult process a breeze, provided you’ve got the specific skills they’re looking for.

Cold calling:

For the truly brave, there is always the dark horse of the job hunt – the cold call. Rather than wait for a position to come up, cold callers use phone, email or snail mail to put their name in at their companies of choice.

Pro: Unsolicited resumes tend to stand out, causing employers to remember you as a genuinely interested candidate when a position opens up. Occasionally, if they’re really impressed, they’ll create a new position, just for you.

Con: You’re likely going to get a lot of polite statements like, “We’re not accepting resumes at this time,” and the occasional ego-crushing hang-up. At times frustrating and downright demoralizing, this one ain’t for the faint of heart.

The bottom line: If you’re really determined to work at ABC Corp, cold calls can be a great way to show your enthusiasm – who knows what may happen.

Networking:

This is an excellent and effective method to get your name out there. Tell everyone from your hairdresser to your new neighbour to the kid selling lemonade on the corner that you’re looking for work, and ask if they might have any idea about potential leads. Connections are invaluable in this day and age – actually they’ve always been – and you never know who the person you’re speaking with knows.

Pro: Your doctor’s brother’s wife could be a partner in that law firm you’ve been checking out. With a few strategically placed phone calls, you may be able to net a lunch meeting. Plus, you’ll build a solid roster of industry contacts that you’ll likely be able to use throughout your career.

Con: “Selling” yourself at all times can be exhausting. After awhile, you may just want to make small talk about the latest Oilers game instead.

The bottom line: Networking is a wise idea in any job search. It shows you are keen, committed, resourceful and confident in your own abilities – attributes most employers are looking for.

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