Necessity is the Mother of Invention: Some Unique Job Search Strategies

We are all on the hunt for great ideas to augment the job search process. One of the best methods to uncover some “tried and true” paths to land a job, is taking the time to read the job search stories detailed in other people’s blogs. Here are some unique ideas posed by other writers. (I have offered one of my own for good measure).

Join the Toastmasters
Job interviewing can be a challenge, and almost everyone can develop a case of the jitters. Well – practice makes perfect. Giselle General, President of her local Toastmasters club in Alberta, Canada says membership in the Toastmasters, a public speaking organization, can offer you a needed edge during employment interviews and help build your career network. As she explains in CESA, perfecting your presentation skills in front of a group has great job search value.

  • It teaches you timing. Toastmasters has a system laid out to help you learn the basics of public speaking: “The impromptu speaking sessions are timed, so in your short time to speak you learn how to make your response short, sweet, relevant and with impact.” She also points out this skill helps you to stand out in the crowd.  “Interviewers listen to dozens of responses all day long, therefore it’s important to make every second and every word count and not bore them to tears. If you’re memorable – you’re more likely to get the job.”
  • You learn fear management. Interviewers are notorious for throwing people off their guard with tough questions. “The worst part in interviews is when you get that unexpected question and don’t know how to respond. In Toastmasters, you get this all the time so you learn your own style of managing the initial shock and coming up with a good response based on what you know.”  She goes on to explain that, “Every time people are anxious or blank out, they say a lot of  filler words (like um). Toastmasters helps you manage and reduce those with practice and awareness; we count them so you have a target to say less of these next time you speak.” (Find your local club  here.)

Reverse the Job Posting Process
Another interesting viewpoint comes from Helen Schranz, a barrister (attorney) and part-time teacher who found herself transplanted (and unemployed) in a foreign country. In her blog helosphy, she suggests reversing the traditional job search process to find the right job.

  • Advertise yourself. “Put an ad in relevant journals, papers, post online, sell yourself, ” she explains. Envision the job that you would like. “Write out what it is you are good at and your best skill sets. Think of the hours you want to work and where you want to work, what quality of life you want and how you can support this while maintaining balance. Then put it out there.”
  • Keep active and improve yourself. Of course focusing on your job search is key, but don’t neglect other areas of your life. “Never sit around doing nothing while waiting for responses. Learn new skills, meet friends, volunteer, work for free if needs be…Build a business plan, prepare for that 5k run, make time for friends and family. Engage in all the other things that will be beneficial in supporting your goal.”

Follow the Grant Money
If you find yourself living near or on a college campus – stay informed concerning grants that have been awarded to various academic departments. These awards, which can be sizeable, often create job opportunities. If you happen to possess a needed background (for example you are well versed in Excel) you may land a part-time position.

  • Read the local papers and visit university websites. Grants won by universities are frequently an important news item and are covered in the local media. Be sure to note any discussion concerning hiring opportunities and when the work will actually begin.
  • Contact the university employment office. Let them know you are interested in working in some capacity for a grant – they will help you and direct you to the right professors or staff.  Frequently there are jobs at varying levels and pay grades, so be sure to ask questions concerning the different opportunities which might exist.
  • Talk to your professors. Are you taking a course that is particularly fascinating? Don’t forget that your instructors do more than teach courses. Inquire about the research or grants they are involved with –  and if there is the possibility of work.

Dr. Marla Gottschalk is a Workplace Psychologist and career coach located in East Lansing, Michigan. You can also find her on Twitter and Linkedin.

2 thoughts on “Necessity is the Mother of Invention: Some Unique Job Search Strategies

  1. Great tips! I’m on the hunt for my first job post-graduation and would have never though of some of these ideas. Thank you for sharing.


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