Make These Moves to Find Work Faster

This is a guest post by Heather Taylor. Since January 2011, this freelance writer, consultant and radio producer also has happily served as a job coach in the AARP Foundation WorkSearch Program,  helping adults aged 50+ who are unemployed to find satisfying work. You can follow her on twitter at @findingthejobs, and keep an eye out for other employment-related blog posts from Heather. 

Great resume? Check. Extensive network? Check. Strong elevator speech? Check. But what if you’re one of the millions of Americans out of work who’s tried to do everything right, but still no job offer?

Maybe it’s time to try some different approaches, or refine and enhance already strong efforts with a renewed sense of vigor for the New Year.

Author and job search expert Alison Doyle with explains the current employment environment this way: “There are more people searching [for work] than ever before, so in order to be competitive, you need to be focused, targeted and prepared.” These steps can help. 

Treat your job search like a full-time job. Block out time on your calendar each day of the work week–and weekends if needed–for specific activities. Schedule time for researching employers, carefully tailoring your resume for each position you apply for, doing online networking, following up on leads, and connecting with others.

Get into the outside world and build old and new connections. Although it can be tempting to stay in front of your computer, connecting with people in person– especially with those who know what it’s like to be in your shoes–can help. Join a job hunt support group. Also plan time to reach out to a different former co-worker or friend via phone or in person once a week.

Ask yourself what you used to wish you had more time for. Explore volunteering in your local community for a cause you care about. Go to the library or check out a book club. Join a Y or local gym (some have sliding fees, too), check out for hobbies and activity groups, or get in touch with your spiritual side by joining groups of others with similar beliefs. Doing things you enjoy is a win-win, and you never know who you’ll meet in the process.

Know which companies are growing. Make ongoing research and reading about business news in your city or town part of your daily routine, and think about how you might connect with someone on the inside. Maybe you have friends, or friends of friends, with an ‘in.’ Also check on your college alumni web site to see if anyone you share an alma mater with someone who currently works there.

Stay on top of leadership changes at organizations where you might want to work. “New CEOs may want their own team,” says blogger Vickie Elmer, so take note when you see announcements about executives being appointed. Organizational changes and new job opportunities may follow.

Bookmark AARP’s work and job hunting channels for useful resources and information on many topics to help you in today’s competitive job market.