Well, I HAVE to participate in this wk's SUYL (www.kellyskornerblog.com) since I am currently looking for work. As I type, I have LOTS of resumes/cover letters out and about in our city, both in retail and in Community/Angency positions. I hope I hear back from them soon, as I would LOVE (and NEED) to have some more hours and of course, experience in my new chosen field. I LOVE my job that I do have, but I don't have as many hours as I would like, and I need another jobs to supplement it.
So, tips...I have been looking on and off for work for YEARS...back before the digital era:) Everyone says that looking for work is the hardest job there is, and I tend to agree. I HATED lookng for work (I still do, but at least you can do some of it from the comfort of your home)When I lived in Alberta, I spent HOURS pounding the pavement. I also looked in the paper, but that normally doesn't get people jobs, as only about a small percentage of jobs that are available are in the paper (or advertised in general). I still think that dropping off a resume and speaking to someone (not the receptionist or the first person you see/talk to) is probably THE MOST effective way to find a job. That being said, I also love Emailing:) It is great, because you can look like a mess, do it late at night (which is sometimes my most motivating time to look for work), and you can do it in your PJ's. So, good websites...
Consider that I am in Canada, so most of the sites that I give will be Canadian, but you get the drift...Canada Job Bank (which now filters to Work BC) is a great starting point, and depending on which area of your chosen field, the affilliated agency (ie: local school district, adoption/pregnancy services, community living agencies, residential (youth, mental/phsysical disaiblities-yes, they still do exist, although they are few and far btwn), Community Service (s) Agencies to name a few. I also go to kijjiji.ca to look for work sometimes. Monster.ca/workopolis.ca are also good sites.
Tell people that you are looking. Go on Facebook, check out the local (if you have any) boards, cold call if you feel comfortable. I also do what I call "Blind Application", in which I send a cover letter, and resume to a company/agency even if there is no job being currently advertised (that you know of). I state who I am, and why I am interested in working with them, and ask if they have any jobs/positions for me, or if /when they do, please feel free to contact me. Job fairs can be helpful, although they don't happen often, at least not in our town. Job placement agencies are also good..I belonged to one for awhile, and even if you haven't been on EI (as some places want you to be) you can always go in and check out their job postings, and use their computers, and talk with someone about your resume, etc. If you want to put up flyers at your church or school/daycare saying that you are looking for work, that is also a good idea. This is great if you run a day care, or are looking for looking after extra kids, if you tutor or do respite care.
So as far as doing the actual work search/resumes/cover letters...what can I say that may be helpful to you? I think the one key thing is to NOT treat it like a job, working 9-5. That hasn't worked for me. For one thing, at least in our town, it is pretty small, so I don't think you can really plan to search for 40 hours a week. If you lived in a big city, then yes, I can see how that would work (and yes, I DID search for hours at at time when I lived in the big city. So...here are some tips that I have found that have helped me..
Make sure your cover letter is at the most 2 pages long. Unless you are a president of a country, or a major company, no one wants or needs to hear yourself boast about yourself through out the entire letter. However, DO say some postive things in your CL.
If you can, get the persons name who is doing the hiring, so you can put it on the letter. Usually a TO WHO IT MAY CONCERN doesn't cut it.There is usually a way of finding out their name.
Make sure the resume is only 2-3 pages long. Again, unless you are a major corperate person, you don't need a long resume. Only put the last 10 years' worth of work/education, OR the most relevant work to which you are applying for. No one cares that you were a nanny when you were 15 when you are going for a marketing position.
Do what you love. Or always have dreamed of doing.Do you like bookstores? Would you like to be a waiter/ress? Would you like to work in a kids playground? Love pets? Why not? If money isn't a big issue with you, try and find something you LOVE doing, and do that for while. Remember, you don't HAVE to start with a 40 hour a wk job. Do what you love/know. Usually if you find a job that you love, you will enjoy it more, and will hardly ever think of it as work!
Take at least one day off (not a wknd day) to NOT look for work. IF you want to do to SOMETHING, then spend this day following up on the resumes you have left/sent. Don't forget to get business cards (and names if you can) of places you have dropped/sent off resumes. If you are doing this via email, create a document of places and dates (and job positions if applicable).
If you are out and about, if you can afford it, go out for lunch, or even just coffee. Walking around all day can get stresful; your feet get tired, YOU get tired..you need a pick me up. Buy a paper, look through the classifieds if you want (and you should), but also read the news, get caught up on events, etc. Meet a friend for coffee (even when you are pounding the pavement that day) and just sit back and enjoy each others company.
Go and enjoy the library. Even if you dont have a library card, you can go and read the new(ish) magazines, and read newspapers, etc.
Go for a walk, bike ride, or swim..or simply just sit outside and relax. Or sit in an outside cafe. Just sitting there breathing the fresh summer air, and watching people will help you feel re-juvenated
Try not to sleep in every day...try to wake up at 8 (or at the very latest 9) to get your day started. Even if it isn't your work search day, it is good to get up and get an early start.
That being said, DO sleep in (if you can!!) one or two days a week..and yes, make one of those a wk day!!
If you can afford it, go and buy a magazine, or something fun (that isn't coffee) for yourself. Go to the dollar store and buy a fun scarf, or some scrapbooking supplies (do they still sell those??).
If you can, and have the time, and enjoy it find a place to VOLUNTEER. It looks great on your resume, it gives you something to do, and you never know..YOU MIGHT get a JOB out of it (although this has never happened to me). However, make sure you volunteer at a place where you really want to, and that is important to you. State your number of hours, and days that you are able to work. If you belong to a church, do some church ministry. I usually help out with our churchs DVBS every summer, and although I haven't for awhile, I teach Sunday School.
Go easy on yourself. Looking for work is ..well, hard work!!! The economy isn't great out there, so it won't be surprising if you take a few weeks or even months to find something. If someone wants to talk to you about looking for work, if if they have an "idea" or "suggestion" or advice, and if you don't want to listen to it, just kindly say something like "thanks so much, but I have a lot of ideas, and leads already, but thanks for your concern". That being said, however...IF someone that IS currently (within the last few years) knowledgable in job searching (or in HR) has some ideas, then take them. But, trust me, there is NOTHING worse than someone who either thinks they know what they are talking about, or who has never worked, or hasn't been in the workplace for years telling you how to find a job. Trust me. I have been there.
Well, I that is all the tips I can think of for now. I hope you find these helpful:)