by Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC
Reading the newspaper with an eye toward your job search can open up unexpected leads and contacts for a new job. The key lies in what you are looking for when you read the paper. Learn to mine the news for hints of impending job opportunities and you will be landing a new job before others are even aware of potential openings.
Review the Job Market
To gain a sense of local hiring trends and openings, online job sites are the obvious starting point. However, between the hidden job market and inside employee interest, by the time you hear about openings your chances of getting hired may be quite slim. Information on who is hiring is only part of the picture. Analyze the openings you see across industries as well as specific positions. If you notice there are many openings for a certain type of position, for example project managers, at several different companies, you may be in a stronger position to gain an interview. Thoroughly research the companies with openings and submit your resume with a 3-point plan of potential improvements that address specific concerns for each employer to whom you submit a resume.
Analyze National Trends
To add power to your search, expand your analysis to national papers such as The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. What you’re looking for in these papers are trends and news of business expansions. A simple online search for “business expansion” can also provide a game plan for regional and national opportunities. Research global companies to identify possible local expansions. Is Ford opening a new plant? Is Johnson & Johnson rolling out a new quality assurance program? What tech firms are merging? Any of these changes may foretell increased hiring efforts. Put yourself first in line with your keen investigative skills and unique perspective on the hunt!
Business Section Leases and Mortgages
Investigate shifts in local business locations. Businesses signing new leases or gaining new mortgages could signal impending hiring increases. Create a list and begin a cold-call campaign. Follow up with your resume, including any plans you may develop for increasing the company’s client base, quality improvements, or streamlining production.
Identify Small Businesses
Economists consistently tout the importance of small businesses in hiring, though it’s often difficult to find those opportunities. Small businesses may not advertise openings in traditional ways simply to save on time and expense. Enlist the local Chamber of Commerce or other directories to create a list of local small businesses. Small business owners appreciate innovation and hard work, qualities exemplified by seeking out their business in your job search. Fewer layers of administration also favor the likelihood that you will speak directly with the business owner making the hiring decisions. No HR screening or gatekeepers in lean small businesses!
Even if you are able to identify local job options, businesses may not be able to offer a full-time salary. Build your own opportunities by tethering together several part-time options across small businesses. In addition to increasing your immediate salary, you are also expanding your professional network. Each person you meet has the potential to connect you with another opportunity. Your winning attitude can help open that door!
Thinking outside the box has become a trite term, but the approach remains powerful. By reading the newspaper from a unique perspective, you will be leaping ahead of the competition. Distinguishing yourself in how you manage your job search is a great way to show potential employers the value and creative energy you can bring to their company. Mine the paper for opportunities and you will be in a new job before any else even realizes the company is hiring!