An informational interview is a chance for you to get advice and information from an expert in your area of interest. An informational interview is not a “job interview” and you do not ask your “contact” for a job, you ask for background information, referrals, and other data. Here’s a great example of a letter you might send, asking for an informational interview.
Experts report that nearly 70% of job openings never are advertised. You often find them through your personal network, and an important part of your job search must be “working your network.” Think about who wants to help you … friends, relatives, professional colleagues, professors, church members … then contact them! Share your goals and your resume. Make sure they know you’re in the job market, and would appreciate their help!
Virtually every major university holds job and career “fairs” where professional recruiters from hundreds of companies meet with prospective employees. There also are public job fairs in most major metropolitan areas. They’re great chances to “meet-and-greet” … and to speak with people who are actively looking for employees. Check with ACA for a list of the Job Fairs in the St. Louis area, and search the internet for “job fairs <city>” in your home town.
Company/Organization Web Sites
Most larger employers (and many smaller ones) have “Career” or “Employment” or “Interns” sections on their web sites. Check them out to find specific openings that are available … but don’t rule any out just because you don’t see “your” job listed. Well managed companies and organizations are always on the lookout for good people.
Organization Job Boards
Many professional organizations … trade associations, chambers of commerce, fraternal groups, etc. – manage job boards for their respective industries or locations. Speak with experts in your field to discover where to find these job boards. A good internet search also will help you find them.
Monster.com, HotJobs.com, etc.
Large internet job boards have their roles. But you need to remember that an interesting-sounding posting will generate literally thousands of inquires from prospective employees. So, unless a position fits you perfectly, remember that the competition is pretty steep. This source should be part of your job search process, but don’t spend more than 10% of your time on it.
Local and regional newspapers … both print and online versions ... can be an interesting source of job listings. Check them out to find local positions, often at smaller companies.
LinkedIn and Online Professional Networking
This is a rapidly growing area for job seekers. While it doesn’t replace face-to-face or telephone networking, more and more people are getting involved. LinkedIn ® is the biggest and best known. If you don’t already have a LinkedIn profile, you should set one up. Click here to get started.
“Headhunters” are sometimes used by companies and organizations to find highly-specialized or senior-level employees. A few telephone calls to recruiters in your area (check the web or phone book to find them), can be an interesting source of job leads, especially if you’re looking for a position in fields like accounting, computer programming, or other fields that require technical expertise.