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    Three Creative Job Search Secrets
By Kevin Donlin

In my continuing series on job search tips for hard times, here are 3 ways to locate job openings using free resources at your disposal.

This week, I interviewed Bob Picha, founder of San-Diego-based Ideas At Work, a company dedicated to the release of human potential in individuals and organizations.

Based on 30 years of career-consulting experience, Bob's insights are sure to surprise and more importantly help you find a job faster.

1) Read the paper, but not the want ads

Research is your first step in ferreting out job openings. And since almost everyone gets a daily newspaper, why not start there? But don't spend a lot of time on the want ads, advises Picha.

"I take an indirect approach in looking for companies that might be hiring. For example, I skimmed today's Wall Street Journal and found these tidbits:
  • "Toyota now wants 15% of global market share, which means they'll be expanding worldwide and perhaps hiring locally;
  • "China is buying $1.2 billion in telecom equipment from Lucent and Motorola, which points to both firms needing new personnel;
  • "Earnings for Cendant rose 19%, so they may be hiring …

"The list goes on," says Picha.

All is takes is a little digging to uncover these "jewels" that point you toward companies in need of new employees.

Two more ways to use the newspaper to uncover expanding businesses are:
  • Monitor the business section for firms signing new commercial leases, a sure sign of a need for increased capacity, and
  • Look for companies receiving venture capital -- since it's so difficult to get these days, such firms are likely to have a viable business model … and a need for new employees.

2) Consider temporary employment

Temporary agencies can open the door to a wider range of jobs than you think they're not limited to office support or light factory work.

"Many savvy employers use temporary agencies as a screening device. It's a chance to put temp workers through a trial period. And, if the employee is talented enough, a job can be created just for him or her," says Picha.

In Southern California, some companies draw 33-50% of their staff from the temporary work force, according to Picha. Similar figures may apply to other parts of the country.

Temporary agencies are all around you, too.

"Just visit www.google.com, search for ‘temporary employment,' and you'll find a huge number of temp agency listings. You can sort them by geography, industry -- whatever," says Picha, who found 59 agencies listed for his Southern California region.

3) Network smarter, not harder

I've said it before, I'll say it again networking is how 70-80% of the best jobs are filled. But in today's economy, don't expect a plum position to fall in your lap. You must network smartly and more creatively.

"Try calling on vendors and suppliers who know of companies that might be hiring. These include your local banker, CPA, lawyer and real estate agent. These people all have a great deal of knowledge," says Picha.

Don't forget associations there's one or more for every field of work. Use them to meet decision makers who can hire you. Call the reference desk at your public library for help finding associations.

When you call or meet networking contacts, ask for names of growing companies who could use someone with your experience. Ask for a contact person at the target employer(s), but avoid the HR department, since they often act as gatekeepers and may shun you.

So there you have it.

Three job search tips to help you use the newspaper, temp agencies and your network more creatively and effectively than before.

-- Kevin Donlin is the author of "Resume and Cover Letter Secrets Revealed," a do-it-yourself manual that will help you find a job in 30 days ... or your money back.


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