4 Tips for Starting a Job Search from Scratch

by Salary.com Staff - Original publish date: April 2, 2012

Get Back in the Game

Whether you are fresh out of college, having a midlife career change or deciding retirement isn’t for you, you first must realize job searching has changed. It's different than it was a decade ago, and it's different than it was last year. It’s difficult to keep up with all the changes, but if you want to be competitive in the job market you have to stay ahead of the technology as much as you can.

So if you're starting from scratch, here is my advice to stay and get ahead of the game.

It Starts with the Resume

Although some people will say they are being phased out -- and I tend to agree -- I don’t think a lot of major companies will be able to stop using them. So get your resume together.

I'm not going to give a lot of pointers about this because there are so many resources available, but if you need help, contact me. Remember if you are a college grad or someone trying to enter a different industry, focus on your volunteer efforts. Sororities and Fraternities are a great way to showcase your leadership abilities too if you held a position. 

Focus on Social Media

I’m sure you’ve heard of this little thing called social media.

Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter? Well, a lot of companies and recruiters are now using these platforms to recruit and find top talent. So get your profile up and running or clean it up. That’s right, clean up the college party pics and get it looking professional. Start following companies you would like to work for. Be a part of the community. Research how companies recruit employees. Is it career fairs, Facebook, LinkedIn, or referrals?

Be active in participating and communicating with other industry professionals. Don’t be a one-sided job seeker. 

Start a Blog

If you are passionate about a certain industry -- fashion, art, writing, marketing, etc -- consider starting a blog to publish your work.

This is a great way to showcase your portfolio and expand your network. Blogging can be a great way to network with others in the community and build your online presence. Plus you can include the link on your resume and recruiters will most likely click on it. 

You don't have to be a web genius to do it either. Try simple platforms such as Blogger or Wordpress that have easy to understand templates that will get you started.

Build and Use Your Network

Now that you have mastered the online networking portion, you need to hit the pavement.

People hire people. So get out in the community and meet your Twitter and Facebook friends in person. Figure out what meetings they are attending, attend a few industry conferences and join groups they are involved in. Figure out what the hot topics are in your industry and discuss them. Build relationships with people. Offer to help other people.

If you are a freelance writer or designer, offer to help someone with a side project. This builds your credibility and gets you a connection to that person. 

You Get Out of It What You Put In

Searching for a job is not easy. It takes time and typically doesn’t happen overnight. So come up with your strategy that relates to your industry and spend some time on it. It will seriously pay off in the amount of connections and people you meet in the industry and eventually you will land a great job!