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In the beginning of THIS post, we discussed some ways to prepare yourself while you’re trying to find a job.
In the post today, we’re going to discuss three roads that will probably lead to your next job or career.
A recent Gallup poll found that only about 13% of full-time employees consider their jobs meaningful. With that in mind, it’s worth considering what tradeoffs you’re willing to make.
Some Things to Consider
You might want to raise your expectations and put more thought into your search if you’re looking for a career that will give you a sense of fulfillment, as well as a paycheck.
What are your main priorities –
- Leisure activities?
- Your career?
Experimenting with these unconventional job search methods can help you discover your dream job or expand your options. After all, the more lines you throw out, the more likely it is that you’ll catch something, right?
For most hiring managers, the vast majority of applicants start to look the same after a while. To combat this, you’ll need to do something unique that makes you stand out.
It’s important that you stand above the crowd and prove to your prospective employer that hiring you would be adding an asset to their company.
Now let’s discuss the three career roads:
The Volunteer Road
Offer Your Services/Expertise
Find a charity organization for a cause you believe in.
Check out their website or go to one of their events, then approach them with a proposal for how you can get involved.
Focus on a specific project or ask them about their needs.
You can pick a group you already support or contact a local clearinghouse.
Offer Services.. for Free
I know what you’re thinking:
- Why should you offer services for free when you don’t even have a job?
- Aren’t you supposed to be making money with your skills and talents?
Yes, but offering your services for free for can actually work in your favor and set you apart from your competition.
Let’s say you’re a talented childcare professional looking to get your foot in the door of a new day care center or you’re an awesome cook who would love to work in a new restaurant in town.. what do you do?
Offer to work for them for a week for free. It might seem like a waste of time, but think of it as an unpaid internship.
If they love you, one of two things could happen:
- You’re hired on the spot.
- They call you when have their first available opening.
Remember: be a top notch volunteer for that week. You want them to discover what an asset you could be as a paid employee.. but also, don’t let them take advantage of you.
Whatever you volunteer to do, they just might expect the same of you if you’re being paid, so tread carefully.
Volunteer with an organization you support. If someone is doing a task you’re unfamiliar with, observe them.. then ask if you can help.
Beefing up your skillset is a great way to pass some time (especially if you don’t have much work experience to begin with) and either add to your portfolio or branch out in new directions.
For example: I had a vague idea of how to plan events, but I was able to hone in and expand on those skills while volunteering. I also learned about tax rules for nonprofits, which is a useful thing to know so you’re not the reason an organization gets flagged.
Take this seriously.
Treat volunteer work as seriously as any paid jobs.
Follow through on your commitments. Do your best not to flake.
If you impress others with your professionalism, an opportunity might present itself.
How you present yourself in a non-paid role could affect your reputation when you eventually get hired.
Think long term.
So, what do you do if the nonprofit you choose has no immediate hiring plans?
Stay in touch and volunteer again. You never know if things will change.
You may also find valuable leads as you network with staff members and other volunteers.
Most volunteer work leaves you with a bit of down time or ample chat time. What else are you going to do when putting together gift baskets?
It’s okay to put some feelers out and let others know that you’re looking for paid work while you volunteer.
That way they can keep you in mind if they hear of anything promising.
The Encore Career Road
Your Age.. Accept it.
You’re no spring chicken anymore and THAT’S OKAY!
Say it with me: “I’m (age) and I accept that.”
You may have more flexibility now if your mortgage is paid off and your kids are grown.
Yes, age discrimination is a serious issue, but there are plenty of places where your wisdom and experience will be an asset. If you can’t find any locally, try looking online.
Do Your Research
If you have ever read any of my posts before, you will be well aware that this is my mantra.
If you’re moving into a new field, make sure you understand the current requirements for that field.
Browse online and talk with experts.
Ask about the income potential and whether you’ll need additional qualifications.
Fortunately, many skills are transferable.
Focus on how to build on your past achievements.
Ask your current network contacts for feedback and referrals.
Never Stop Learning
You can further your education without going back to school full time.
Read books and industry publications.
Sign up for courses online. As a course lover myself, send me a DM on Instagram if you need recommendations and I will do my best to help you 🙂
The Wide Net Road
We’ve discussed this earlier, but it’s worth mentioning again. You can find job leads anywhere.
Remember: be sensitive to others when you’re in a nonbusiness setting.
If you focus on being of service, you’re less likely to seem too pushy.
Be open to unusual opportunities without wasting time on tasks that provide little return. Track your activities so you can concentrate on your most effective options.
Simply put: write to prospective employers whose business you’re seriously interested in working for.
Highlight what you bring to the table and how you’ll be a solid investment for the company. Show them they’re better off with you than without you and you’ve won a spot in their minds.
Note: make sure the letter is professional, grammatically correct, and confident.
Your goal: make others understand why they need you as an employee, not to beg them for a job. There’s a big difference, but it’s very easy to cross that line, so use good judgment.
Old School is the Best School
Let’s try things the old fashioned way.
Yes, I’m aware that a letter is “old fashioned”, but this time, I’m talking abut hitting the pavement.
- Dress professionally.
- Introduce yourself.
- Shake hands.
- Hand them a well-prepared resume package. It’s probably bet to not use a business card at this junction because those are small and easily lost.
Building relationships is an important part in standing out from the crowd. It allows a manager to put a face to a resume rather than just pluck a resume up off the fax machine or out of their email inbox.
Yes, this might take a bit of footwork and perseverance, but it also just might be your perfect way to make an impression when applying for a coveted job.
Place an ad in the newspaper or online.
When looking for a job, the first place we all tend to go is the help wanted section in the newspaper or on a classifieds website, right?
Once there, you can gaze over hundreds of ads and apply to as many as you possibly can.
There is also an opportunity to turn the tables and place your own ad telling prospective employers you’re free to work for them. Just remember to highlight your strengths and the position you would excel in.
Remember: you’re in control here. Your goal is to have potential employers pick up the phone and call you – not to skim your ad thinking, “There’s another desperate individual begging for work.”
Most of us have given up on sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, but some swear by their ability to monetize them all.
Join groups looking for collaborations or people with similar skillsets. You can also search hashtags and marketplaces too.
Networking is the key here. You want to build relationships by showcasing your value before asking for a job.
It probably won’t net you dozens of leads overnight, but that’s not saying it’s impossible to find your next job on social media.
Just be diligent and keep networking.
Some other Fun Suggestions
Send a fax. No one sends faxes anymore, so that alone will help you stand out.
Make up business cards that state you’re looking for a job.
- Name and Contact Info
- Occupation of choice
- Link to your resume
Hang signs around town. You’ve seen those signs on telephone poles that declare, “We Buy Houses.” It could just as easily read, “Great (Job Title) Available For Hire.”
Above all: Persevere!
You may need to be patient when you’re casting a wide net or using any unusual job search method. Your efforts will pay off if you’re willing to take risks and overcome obstacles.
The Bottom Line:
It’s a crazy thought, but you spend about one-third of your life at work. Think about that the next time you’re in-between jobs.
Authenticity will help you to communicate more successfully, helping you increase your chances of finding a situation that aligns with your goals and dreams.
While you’re trying new ways to be innovative about your career path, know that thinking a bit differently than other job hunters may be all you need to get that position you’ve been hoping for.