The job search has changed fundamentally over the past few decades.
Chances are that if you’re reading this, your parents found a job back in the day by going through the classified section in the newspaper— a thought that today seems antiquated, if nothing else.
While it is likely that the job search process will continue to evolve, some general approaches stand the test of time, while other new effective approaches emerge.
This post will discuss six unconventional ways to find a job.
Going to Industry Conventions
No matter what industry you are in, there’s a very good chance that there will be conventions or expos related to it.
Of course, many conventions may be expensive or distant, making them difficult to attend. If you are able to attend, however, you will be able to network and learn about companies and opportunities that you likely wouldn’t have been aware of otherwise.
If you aren’t able to outright afford a convention, there are still ways to get some of the benefit. Many conventions offer after-hour parties, mixers, meetups, or happy hours where you can still meet many of the people who could help you.
At an after-hours event, don’t be afraid to hand out business cards while chatting it up with someone. Think of it as a way to learn and promote yourself to potential employers.
One thing you should almost certainly do when attending any industry convention-related event is have a 30-second elevator pitch prepared. Your elevator pitch should be a quick summary of who you are and what you do, presented to anyone who’s interested.
Using Social Media
Although LinkedIn is thought to be the traditional source of finding a job through social media, there are other platforms and methods you can use.
For example, it’s never a bad idea to post a status update on say, Facebook, that you’re looking for a job in a particular industry, and would appreciate any leads that someone could provide.
Google+, Twitter, blogs, and even Snapchat or Instagram can also be used to explore, discover, and inquire about new jobs out there.
In a way, using social media is no longer unconventional in the hiring process— it’s the norm. A mid-2013 survey found that 93 percent of employers either use or were planning to use social media in their recruiting.
If you do decide to put yourself out in the job hunt on social media, it’s particularly important to be conscious of your social media presence— this means no posts involving alcohol, illegal drugs, or profanity; and a demonstration of proper grammar and spelling.
There’s a good chance that lewd or risque material will be discovered either way, but it’s particularly important to avoid it when you’re explicitly using social media to find a job.
Although in many cases your family will not be in the position to hire you themselves, they very well may know of excellent opportunities for which you’d be a fit.
If you’re able to find a connection that your family has who may want to hire you, ask your family member to introduce you. From here, you can set up an informational interview or meet up for coffee to see if you’d indeed be a good fit.
Even if you aren’t a good fit for what they’re looking for right now, don’t give up— you might be a good fit for a future opening.
There’s also the chance that your new connection will be able to connect you with someone else they know who has a vacancy to fill. This further underscores the importance of networking in the job search.
Pitching Through Your Email Signature
Pitching your job skills and candidacy through your email signature is indeed a bit unconventional, but it can certainly be effective.
Think of it this way: the average contemporary job seeker sends out dozens of emails a day, but typically struggles to differentiate themselves from the thousands of other emails that a recruiter receives from other job seekers.
By making your email signature a hybrid between a pitch and a portfolio, you not only stand out, but you easily demonstrate the skills that you have.
As for what you would want to put in your email signature, it’s smart to include your name, phone number, email address, and a link to your LinkedIn profile. Following this info, you can include your “pitch,” so to speak.
An example pitch would be: “I am a versatile freelance writer with three years of industry experience who brings knowledge and creativity to companies in any sector with the copy I provide.”
Obviously, this pitch should be specifically tailored based on the type of work that you do. It is also appropriate to include a personal website in your email signature pitch.
As for what you don’t want to include in an email signature, leave out your mailing address and any graphics or logos. No one needs to know your exact physical location, while a photo or logo can add to the size of your email, making it harder for email systems to load. Adding images can even increase the likelihood of an email provider thinking your email is spam.
If nothing else, you should definitely delete your default email signature. More often than not, the default signature on mobile is an ad for your phone’s manufacturer, and it looks more professional to even just have your name and nothing else in that space.
It’s never a bad idea to use free local advertising methods to publicly promote your job search.
Probably the best way to do this is by investing in professional-looking signage that you can display on busy street corners near your house. There’s a good chance that someone of influence— whether a well-connected neighbor, employer, etc.— will see it, and be able to help you on your job hunt.
You do, however, want to make sure that you’re legally able to advertise in any given area. Each and every jurisdiction typically has their own zoning guidelines and restrictions.
Coffee shops and virtually any business with a bulletin board are also places in which you can advertise. Tear off pieces of paper containing your area of expertise and contact info is a good option in many cases.
Getting creative is usually not a bad approach either. Whether it’s a pen, car magnet, or keychain with your info on it, there are a number of approaches to getting yourself out there— although not all will be as feasible or affordable as others.
There was a point in time during which cold calling a business, asking if there were any jobs available, was not considered odd.
With the advent of technology, however, this approach has largely fallen out of style.
In a way, this decrease in popularity can play to your advantage in that fewer people will do it, making you stand out.
Cold calling is a particularly effective approach for inquiring about jobs that aren’t listed on a company’s website. To do it effectively, you can find an individual’s contact details either online or by asking a receptionist.
You can follow up after a cold call by providing a copy of your resume, along with a recap of what you talked about. It may also be wise to ask about what skills or qualities the company looks for in a candidate.
Not all recruiters like receiving cold calls, so it’s important not to do it if a job listing explicitly instructs candidates not to do so.