To Get A Job: Don't Stand In Line

Whether you have a disability or not, it pays to understand how hiring works, so that you can apply some of the basics to your situation.

Let's start with the standard, old-fashion way of getting a job. You look through the classified ads, either on line or in a local newspaper. Even more classic: You do this because you are unemployed.

Oops. You've made two mistakes. First: hundreds or thousands of others saw the same classified ads you did and you're just going to end up standing in line. You'll get a job eventually this way – except sometimes you won't. The line is so long, you'll just give up.

Second: You're unemployed. When you're unemployed, you just look like a slouch. Almost nobody hires the unemployed.

What you do is get a job – any job. Work for your mother if you have to. At least you can say in an interview, “I'm working, and I want something better.” That's a lot better than “I drool on a television remote all day.” Or “I haven't worked in a year.”

A proactive job hunt is all about doing whatever you can do to avoid standing in line for a job. The basic tool for this is called networking.

Networkingstarts with the idea that almost everyone has 10 minutes to spare for someone else. If you have to start cold, do so, but you probably don't. You probably know someone in the field you would like to pursue. Give them a call. Set up a 10 minute chat – or more. Get some basic advice or some leads. Follow them up and send a thank you back to your source that tells them you have followed through on what they suggested.

What you are establishing is a chain of trust and responsibility. If someone suggests a book that might help and you say, “Great. I'd love to read that,” then do exactly that and send a thank you note reminding that person of the help they provided for you. Don't say you'll do something if you have no intention of doing it.

Networking is also about finding leads, so keep the chain going. Always ask who else you can talk to for help or for job leads.

Pretty soon, instead of being an outsider, you are in the loop. You are establishing your sincere interest in the field you are pursuing.

Now one of those networking connections might call you and tip you off to a job lead in your field. And that's only half the fun. The second part of the equation is that during the job interview, you can list all the networking when the interviewer asks “How do I know you are sincerely interest in this position?”

OK, proactive networking is one way to avoid standing in line for a job. Now, here's an important hint: If at all possible, avoid the human resources staff like the plague.

OK, that was overstated. But this is what human resources personnel do: They screen out unqualified workers. They then hire the person the department managers tell them they want on their staff.

That's right: Human resources personnel don't do the hiring. They may push the paperwork around, but the decision is made at the managerial level. The managers are the people you want to meet, not the human resources folks.

There is a clear exception to this rule, which is at temporary work agencies. Those are human resources experts, as well, and they are the ones who are on your side, because if you get paid, they get paid.

Temporary agencies, like Kelly Services, are one to avoid standing in line with thousands of others looking for the same job.Temporary agencies might also have a line – but it will move along a lot faster than the line made up of people searching public advertisements for jobs. And, yes, temporary services do screen out unqualified workers as part of their promise to employers, but they still want you to work and, again, you can at least go to an interview and say, “I'm working,” which is a big help.

In general, there are two types of work agencies. Temporary agencies work most often – but not exclusively – with entry-level positions. Headhunters, the other type, work most often – but not exclusively – with managerial- or executive-level positions.

That said, there's a simple reason that persons with a disability might use a temporary work service, which is that temporary staffing agencies should be up to speed on employment issues related to the Americans With Disabilities Act.

In a perfect world, every employment would be fully versed and compliant with that law, but it may be a safe generalization to say the larger companies with paid human resources staffs know the law well, while smaller companies without a department dedicated to hiring might not.


Alesia Hsiao is a professional writer who specializes in business topics. She has written for numerous sites on the web and is known for providing her readers with valuable guest posting services  content.

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