4 Unlikely Places to Job Search

Okay, so you’re either a freshly minted college graduate or a “relauncher” (which is a person trying to re-enter the workforce), but in any case you still haven’t found a job. Oh sure, you’ve tried all the regular avenues; job search websites, job fairs, networking parties, recruiters, your career placement office at your college, Craigslist and even the want ads in a real, live PAPER newspaper, but nothing seems to work.

So now it’s time to get creative. People actually do find jobs in the most unlikely of places, but just like panning for gold you have be resilient in your search until you hit pay dirt. The key is to think about where professionals congregate and then go hang out there. Don’t be afraid to tell people that you’re looking for a job. And it should go without saying, but I’ll say it again anyway, have your elevator speech ready and your business cards on hand at all times.

So where are these magical places where jobs might hide? They’re everywhere, but to get you thinking in terms of finding some of the most obscure ones on your own, here are four unlikely places you can search for a job.

  1. Volunteer Boards
  2. Join the board of directors of a non-profit group that works in the industry in which you want a career. I guarantee you that just about everyone else on that board will be a professional with a day job that somehow complements the non-profit. Being active on a non-profit board is the best way to show all those other board members what a wonderful employee you’d make. They’ll see that you’re trustworthy, diligent, proactive, creative, dependable, and that you don’t mind performing community service (since you most likely won’t be paid to be a non-profit board member). And best of all, you can volunteer for board duties that put you in front of the industry in which you want a career. You couldn’t get better exposure if you were invited to sing on American Idol.

  3. Common Bond Organizations
  4. Like joining a board, joining special interest groups leads to fertile ground for job hunting. Mom’s groups, public school PTAs, book clubs, and recreational sports teams (like those for softball, volleyball, or bowling) all offer opportunities to meet professional employed people who have the same interests as you. The more active you are in these groups, the more your presence becomes known. Even if you simply volunteer for some small task, like taking attendance every week, that’s yet another opportunity to get in front of people and start a conversation.

  5. Political Hangouts
  6. No, you don’t have to run for office, but with elections coming up in 18 months you could join a local or national candidate’s campaign (provided you can find a candidate you like). Or stump for a proposition that’s near and dear to your heart. Join a caucus. Start a neighborhood crime watch. Organize a charitable food drive (like collecting canned food for a homeless shelter). Hey, if you’re going to be out of work you might as well put your time toward philanthropic good use. Besides, you will undoubtedly meet other kind-hearted people who are impressed by your compassion and organizational skills. And they just might be hiring, or know someone who is.

  7. Coffee Shops and Bookstores
  8. Besides the fact that you can get a good cup of coffee or skim the latest best sellers for free, coffee shops and bookstores are where professionals love to hang out. The best times to run into these people are in the morning before work, or at lunchtime, when people dash in to buy books (yes, there are people who still buy books, and most of them have jobs because books are expensive). So how do you work the room? Start by perusing the message board and then strike up a conversation with someone about it. I know a guy who landed a job interview when he asked someone if they knew anything about one of the carpool messages posted. Turns out she didn’t but they started talking and he found out her company was hiring. She had him call her office and within a week he had an interview.

Finding a job is definitely NOT easy right now, but it’s not impossible, either. You just have to be imaginative in your search, and above all patient. Remember, good things come to those who wait…and wait…and wait (but eventually you’ll get there).

Do you know of another creative place (or a way) to look for a job? Have you had success finding a job in an unconventional way? Share your story with us. We’d love to hear it!

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