Your first objective is to get into a company that could use your skills not necessary the job you've dreamt of while studying for your degree. My first job after college was actually the same job that I had before going to college but it put me in the right place to accept asignments as they cropped up.
Most jobs are acquired through networks of people, I've never received a job from a posting and almost always I've been hired before producing a resume for the employer. It never hurts to give them a call and ask where you stand, part of finding work is to be at the right place at the right time and since you don't know when the right time is, the only thing you can do is to try and be in their face all the time.
They have a saying that it takes one month for every $10,000 of salary that you're seeking to replace but that's based on if you already have a job and are looking for your next opportunity. The saying that it takes a job to find a job is very pertinent. You may wish to consider volunteering or temporary contracts just to get a presence at the company and something to tell other prospective employers. When I lost my job in April, I already had a replacement job lined up to start in May. There's enough pain in changing employments as it is, you don't need to compound it by being out of work for extended periods of time.
Don't lie on your resume. The main objective of an interview is to gauge how much of your resume is true. I was asked to sit in on one prospective employee's interview and when I asked what the computers that his resume said he was in charge of really was, i.e.: Intel, AMD, how many gigahertz etc., he replied with the manufacturer name "Rackables", sorry wrong answer. When I asked what his diagnostic process would be when there was a problem thatis what would he do, he answered "Call Rackable.", again wrong answer, we're looking for what an employee can do for the company, if we wanted a phone operator, we'd hire a phone operator. If you're trying to sell yourself as being knowledgeable about something, be prepared to answer questions about it. Your best strategy during the interview is to keep the conversation flowing, the more you talk, the more you control the conversation and the more talking back and forth, the more positive the impression, if you go quiet, they start looking for details to trip you up with.
Try to get in with vendors, maybe take a sales position. Cold calling is tough and there's high turnover but you contact a lot of customers and get an idea of who's doing what and who needs what. At the very least, you'll be building up a list of companies to apply at. Focus on learning who's who in the company, try to get organizational charts, internal phone directories, it's all social engineering, pretend you're a hacker looking for a backdoor because that's exactly what you are when looking for a job.
Even if it's just working for the vending machine company, that would get you into the door and talking with people working there. I met a guy on a flight who started out with a vending machine route, heard the people at the airlines complaining about new EPA regulations requiring high purity water to was the engines and he started a company to lease out pressure washing systems to provide for that. The first system was literally crap, just a bunch of filters and a pressure washer in a metal box but once he got the contract he hired engineers to improve the design. By the time I met him, he was a multi-millionaire all because he was in the lunchroom of a company at the right time.
Be sure to do something every day, your job is to find a job and it's a full time job. Set milestones in advance and formalize some rules such as call back three days after application, then every two days after that. When rejected respond with a "I'm very sorry to hear that but could you please keep me in mind for any positions that do open and I hope you don't mind if I contact you periodically just to find out what's happening in the industry.". Don't be afraid to call people who have turned you down and ask them about the industry, what they've been up to, what their competitors are doing, who they know at their competitors etc.
Never expect to hear ANYTHING back, call them, find out how their search for employees is going, try to get them to tell you what they're looking for. It's all about engaging them in a conversation.
Keep a notepad with you at all times, take notes. Brainstorm points to cover before calling. Make check lists, don't just wing it. Make a log of who you've called, when you've called, and what you've talked about.
Check the convention center's schedule. If there are industry conventions, buy a hall pass to the vendor hall. You'll get to meet more people in the industry on the exhibit floor than in the seminars and workshops, plus you'll build up a list of what companies are out there and who works for them. You could walk up to a booth and just ask "Tell me about your company." and go from there.
This is all easier said than done but it's what must be done.
The economy is pretty rough right now, I wouldn't be surprised if it took a year or more to get placed, especially if you're just going by posted jobs. I wouldn't expect a lot of company to take risks before the new year because the winter retail season is going to look pretty miserable, none of the stores are risking being stuck with surplus stock so there's been no stocking for Christmas which pretty much means no better than expected results. Everyone is in survival mode, stretching out their finances.
When you do get a job, open up another savings account and set up regular transfers to that account so that you're automatically saving some money. Don't even look at that account, try to forget that you even have money there and never draw on that account. That's the only way to build up a float, a buffer, you'll be glad that you did. The biggest mistake I ever made was letting my girlfriend convince me that her need for money was important enough to draw on the reserves. Nothing is important enough to draw on your reserves except having absolutely no income and being completely broke!
Write down all your expenses and tally them up each month. You'd be surprised at how much that car is really costing you, more so if you use edmunds.com to estimate how much to set aside for maintenance and insurance each month. How much do you spend each month on gas? how much on tolls? how much on food? There's no reason to be approximate with these, you should know the answer to the cent.
Answered By: John W - 10/29/2009