Dear Dr. Civitelli,
Can you help me find a job fast? I hate my job so much, I am depressed when I wake up on Monday morning and I stay that way until Friday evening. I’ve used up all my sick days and vacation time and it is early in the year. I don’t like the company, I dream of yelling at my boss, and my only friend at work quit last month. I’m snippy with co-workers and customers and I think my boss is starting to notice. I don’t want suggestions about how to make my job better. I just want out.
I understand that you want a new job and you want it yesterday. Without knowing more about you other than what you have written above, I can tell you some strategies that tend to help job-seekers land jobs more quickly.
1. First, read this article about things to do before you quit your job.
2. Decide a job search focus. The more you can clarify what you want to do, the easier the rest of the job search process goes. Some people wish to pursue several different simultaneous goals to see which one gains traction but since you seem clear that speed is your top priority, I’d say it makes sense to identify your first choice focus and switch to the second one only if the first one doesn’t get results. See #3 for thoughts about which focus to pick.
3. When your priority is landing a new job FAST, you’ll likely gain more traction with new employers when you pursue opportunities that match areas where you already have a successful track record. This means staying in the same industry or in the same general functional area of expertise or both. The single quickest way to generate interest in you is to explore job possibilities with your current employer’s business competitors (consult with an employment attorney if you signed a non-compete agreement).
4. The top method that employers use to fill jobs is employee referrals (source: Society for Human Resource Management). This means one of the best things you can do is communicate with everyone you know (including acquaintances) about what you are seeking.
5. Think of five specific career skills you have that would be amenable to keyword searching. This might be the title of your position, a key technical expertise you’ve developed, a specific software you learned for the job, a second language you know, etc. Then use these keywords in a top job search engine like Indeed or Glassdoor to find jobs where you might have a competitive edge.
6. 95% of recruiters use LinkedIn so anyone seeking a new job should have a 100% complete profile and be active enough on LinkedIn so that the LinkedIn search algorithm includes your profile in LinkedIn searches containing keywords relevant to your career. You don’t need a ton of references but having a few good ones adds credibility to your profile.
7. Choose one professional association that matches your career goals and find a way to contribute. These organizations can be a terrific way to get connected more quickly. Whether you serve on a leadership board, volunteer at a conference, or help with the newsletter or website, this is one way to find out about job possibilities before they are advertised.
8. Subscribe to a publication that covers your industry and watch for news of companies that just landed funding or are growing. Write a well-crafted approach letter describing how your skills might be a match for what they need and send it to the head of whatever department best fits your career focus. For example, if your expertise is marketing, the head of marketing might be a “Chief Marketing Officer,” “Vice President of Marketing,” or “Director of Marketing.”
9. Ask your professional colleagues if they have worked with a recruiter they like and trust, then ask for an introduction. This works much better than contacting recruiters cold because recruiters receive hundreds or thousands of inquiries and it is too easy to get lost in the shuffle if you aren’t introduced by a valued mutual acquaintance.
10. Consider doing contract-based, project-based, or temp work. Every city has agencies that specialize in this type of placement and it is often easier to find than “permanent” work (there’s no such thing as “permanent” work, but the term is still used to distinguish it from work with a known end date).
11. Consider whether you have a skill that could bring in income if you quit your current job before you land a new job. The criteria for this option is that it has to be something you can do right away without a lot of upfront investment. Here is one resource: 17 Great Websites To Find Freelance Jobs.
12. Don’t worry about getting trapped in the next place you land. Once you are in a situation that makes you less miserable, it will likely be easier to think clearly, decide what you really want to do, and plan your next career moves.
Hope this helps!