Job Hunting Advice
What might you recommend to someone looking for a job?
My first advice is, don't panic and don't be too grim about all of this. Easy to say, I know but don't waste any mental energy on the what if's....focus on and only think about the outcome you want and don't allow your negative thoughts scare you to death and become a self fulfilling prophesy.
People are leaving jobs all the time...retiring, getting married, having babies, moving away etc. Do a google search for the "hidden job market". This is referring to the scores of jobs that are available at any given time but aren't yet advertised. Everyone and their dog is looking at and competing for openings that are already posted. I've had a lot of success finding jobs by looking at companies who do the type of work I'm qualified for or are in a field I would like to get in to and contacting them directly by phone or in person even though they don't have anything advertised and beating everyone everyone to the "hidden jobs" I discovered, before they were even posted.
The Job I've been in for the last 8 years is the best I've ever had. People stand in line for this job and typically they need an Engineering Degree to qualify but I encounterd it through my own sleuthing abilities, got in there first and convinced them that my experience would qualify me. Because I was Johnny on the spot, they decided to give me a shot rather than have to slog through the normal advertising and interviewing burden. I did them a favor in a way and a few weeks after I started, the District Mgr. called me in and said he was hearing good things about me and was really glad they found me.
Anyway, I can't be too specific with my advice as I don't know where you are living but I did notice that you said you are doing weekly checks of job postings. Likely this is because you are still working but if you can manage it, it would be good to do some sort of search each day. I have always approached job hunting as a daily job in itself. In the evening I write down 3 or 4 places to call or go to as well as a few things to look into. In the morning I'd get up and get going as if I were going to work. I'd have all the information I needed lined up so there was no energy wasted on indecision or disorganization.
At this point, if you have any contacts through your present job or know of similar jobs in other companies, you could contact them even if they don't have an opening right now, ask them for an informal interview by phone or in person and ask them what they typically like to see when they hire and ask them if they are aware of any openings in other companies they may be in contact with.
Again, I can't stress enough how important it is not to entertain any negative thoughts or listen to "tight job market" talk. People say stuff like that even when they don't have any facts to base it on and the news loves to scare the public because bad news sells. Avoid watching the news, search for work each day but do something fun (free) each day to reward yourself for your daily accomplishments, no matter how small you think they are. Look for a Job finding group in your area for support and for sharing ideas. Churches have these groups sometimes (gasp). Get some sort of brisk exercise each day and don't shut yourself away.
More often than not, things like this work out for the better, for most people, most of the time. You just have to slug your way through the "not knowing" part of it and get used to taking a "wait and see" attitude for now.
Hope that helps you....post some more details if you are able. Maybe someone will have some specific ideas for you.
(edit...it looks like you removed a lot of the information you originally posted...hope my comments are still appropriate)
Preparation is key.
What kind of job are you trying to get?
Prepare a Resume, make sure it is well presented as this may be the only thing a prospective employer will know about you. Do some cold calling, ask if there are any positions available now or in the future. If there is, ask what is the best way to apply. Leave a copy of your Resume if appropriate.
Don't convey the WIIFM attitude. It stands for "what's in it for me".....
Nothing worse that an employee who is not dedicated to the role, but views it just as a "pay check", and shows no commitment to actually CONTRIBUTING to the workplace.
So in the initial job searching and interviews, show your sincerity and desire to become a part of the work environment and a desire to grow along with the business with an emotional investment...
My first bit of advice is try to avoid taking the first job that comes along if you know you will not be happy at it.
Make a list:
1) What sort of career/trade am I genuinely interested in?
This is an all important question if you are thinking long term employment. The next questions will help you realistically evaluate the possibility of pursuing that career.
2) What experience do I have?
3) What are my skill sets?
4) What are my qualifications?
If you find you lack the necessary criteria for your dream career, turn the above three questions into goal statements:
1) In order to qualify I need a degree/diploma. I WILL attain these no matter what.
2) I have none or only some of the required skills. I WILL make time to work on expanding and refining my skill sets.
As others said, prep is key. Once you have attained all you think you need, put together a good resume/CV (you can google some excellent templates and examples for free) and make sure it conveys confidence. Confidence IMO is THE most important quality an employee can have. If you get a shot at an interview, again - be confident! Do NOT short sell yourself, that is a sure sign of a lack of confidence. Always be prepared to answer difficult questions, ask questions and take notes. Demonstrating to the interviewer that you are prepared and organized tells him/her that is how your work ethic will be, too.
You are in charge of your future, don't let obstacles or people intimidate you no matter how daunting. Backing down from what you ultimately want in life will only leave you stranded with regrets and possibly bitterness. Set your goals, work for them and you will be rewarded for your efforts.
@Pete: I thought I edited before anyone saw; I was quite detailed and had second thoughts about putting all that out there. I appreciate your response, perspective, and ideas, especially on making phone calls.
I hear you on the "negative thoughts" thing. As you can imagine I'm pretty stressed coming down to the line.
@everyone: Thanks for your input, thoughts, and suggestions.
I'm looking for a new job so this is a useful thread
You're welcome Phaedra...yeah...I figured you may have had second thoughts about putting too many details in your original post and edited it out. (been there...done that)
Anyway here's a few links to things that might be useful or give you some ideas of your own.
I find that with job interviews, I always expect to be asked these two make or break questions;
Why are you wanting to work here
Why should we hire you
Do some research on those two questions too, there are a lot of examples online with really good answers to those!!