“What’s my occupation?” the innocent little jury duty card asks me. I want to put down “professional job hunter,” because that’s what it feels like. Instead, I just leave it blank, not wanting to put “part-time intern at two companies for no pay, thanks Recession 2K9!” At least I know it feels that way these days, for so many of us who have yet to see the proclaimed up-tick in the economy. Many of us are constantly searching for a better opportunity, and Monster.com and CareerBuilder.com are less than helpful. Instead of getting e-mails telling you why you, a communications professional in Brooklyn, should be a software engineer in Stamford, Conn., start somewhere better tailored to your field. For those of you who are new to New York and/or the job search, you’re likely going to be looking for something in the categories below, which can be huge draws for people new to NYC. All of the following are updated fairly regularly and are great places to start:
NYFA.org: The New York Foundation for the Arts website has a classifieds section for jobs, which includes everything from studio artists to arts program administrative directors. Should you get an interview and meet with prospective employers, they suggest that you immediately write thank you notes — preferably hand-written and sent snail mail after any meetings or interviews. That’s actually a pretty good life lesson to follow anyway (Thanks, Mom!).
Sample job listing: Program Director, Groundswell Community Mural Project- Brooklyn, Full-Time
Other sites to try: Mandy.com for film, TV, and general arts jobs. Starpolish.com, (via Velvetrope.com), which doesn’t have job listings but has contact information for many agencies, art houses, galleries, and companies, so let the cold-calls begin!
Sample job listing: Female Exhibitor (hmm…), LBYL Films, Brooklyn, must be willing to travel, duration about one month
Journalismjobs.com: This site allows you to search in different areas such as online media, radio, trade publications and finance, in addition to the standard journalism frontrunners. Journalismjobs.com was once a mighty listing of scores of small-town papers, TV and radio stations (and even a few heavy hitters) looking for fresh young talent. The site has shriveled in its utility alongside the overall journalism industry, but it is useful as a gathering ground for those still optimistic about the journalism job market.
Sample job listing: Writer-Blogger, The Empire political news blog, New York, Full-time
Mediabistro.com: An aggregate media site that includes jobs in publishing, TV, media, PR, music, and more. A great go-to that is user-friendly, well organized, and updated daily.
Sample job listing: Music Publicist, Shore Fire Media, Brooklyn, Full-Time
Gorkana e-mail list: you have to submit your resume to prove you’re actually in the journalism world, but thereafter you’ll receive a lengthy weekly e-mail of job openings. These tend to get repetitive, but it really covers every aspect of publishing, from administrative assistants to Senior Editors.
There are many listings for educational publishing (both academic and children’s literature) and media jobs in the Media section, so those interested in education may want to scan these resources as well.
HigherEdJobs.com: Searchable by type, location, and category.
Sample job listing: Director of Study Abroad and International Partnerships, Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, Full-Time
Eater.com: Go to the tab all the way on the right to find the jobs section. Some great opportunities abound for wait staff, line, sous and head chefs, managers and bartenders.
Sample job listing: Sous Chef, ‘Inoteca e liquori, New York, Full-Time
Goodfoodjobs.com, which conveniently tells you with a “new” marker which listings are new and has a great interface, plus interesting, off-the-beaten path job opps.
Sample job listing: -Farmer’s Market Consultant, The Brooklyn Alliance for Healthier Places, Brooklyn, Part-Time
Idealist.org: A simple layout with many not-for-profit company listings, searchable with myriad filters. There is a fair amount of crossover with education, the arts, and media interest jobs.
Sample job listing: Assistant to the CFO, Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center, Brooklyn, Full-Time
Indeed.com: This relative newcomer delivers the best search of what’s out there that I’ve seen in my 11 months of job hunting, with postings that Mediabistro didn’t offer, so it’s a great place to double check. A drawback is that you need to have an idea of the job title you want in order to optimize the search. Let’s throw some love to any financiers out there with our sample.
Sample job listing: Financial Analyst, Metropolitan Jewish Health System, Brooklyn, Full-Time
NYCityWorks.com: Only runs NYC-area listings and a drop-down menu of different fields, plus a showing of jobs not offered anywhere else mainstream, make this a rare find and something to check in on for local businesses and freelance opportunities.
Sample job listing: Beer Sales Representative, S.K.I. Beer Corporation, Brooklyn, Full-Time
TIPS BEYOND JUST CLICKING AROUND
Even with all these sites at your disposal, the absolute best way to get a job is to network. Since companies advertise open positions internally first, and those within the company can alert their friends, roommates, and family members of the opening, the general public generally gets the leftover postings.
Crowd source your friends
Knowing someone is a great way to have their colleagues or friends look at your resume — so ask your friends, parents, parents’ friends, friends’ parents, your neighbor, anyone you think might help you. It’s humbling and potentially awkward, to be sure, but it’s essential. You have to get a toe in the door before you can get a foot in the door, and crowd-sourcing your family and friend connections is a tried and true method.
Write it down
A good way to reach everyone in this digital age is to compose a letter — partly humorous so it isn’t immediately deleted — detailing your ideal job, passions, experience, etc., in an easy-to-read format. Send it to everyone from your crowd sourcing that is relevant to your search, college friends, and, if you feel comfortable enough, former co-workers or superiors. Attach your resume and ask that they forward it to anyone who might be able to help you, be that a chat on the phone or an informational interview, or just asking around. It’s a small thing that could lead to your new, fulfilling (and paying!) job.
Hail your alma mater
Check with your college’s job center. You may have access to an alumni directory or networking tools, especially if you’re a young alum. Ask if there is someone in your area and field that might be willing to talk to you. Along the same lines, if your alma mater hosts a networking night, go! It usually means free food or booze of some kind, and you could meet someone in your prospective industry.
Create a LinkedIn profile. Join your high school and college alumni groups on LinkedIn, as well as any other groups (former employers or organizations you were involved in) that you feel comfortable joining. Some groups even have alumni-specific jobs posted only on LinkedIn. Even if it’s Facebook’s more secretive and professional older brother, essentially LinkedIn is best as a stalking tool. Through “following” companies you’d want to work for, you can see who has left which position and when, even if you aren’t friends with that employee. Seeing which friends have switched industries or been promoted can allow you to better pry them for information. I also find it helpful to investigate the people with whom I’ll be interviewing, in order to gain some insight into their past careers, personal interests, or even what they look like so I know who to expect coming out of that hiring office.
GOYA (Get Off Your Ass!)
It’s always good to be constantly submitting resumes and cover letters online, but if you have the chance to go to a networking event, meet-up, or even social events where you know people from your desired industry will be, meeting people in person is always better. They may remember you as they scan through names and will note that you were making the effort to get out there and pound the pavement – or may pass your information along.
For those of you who have been through this before, what site have you had the most success with and why? Which would you recommend to newbies as most worthy of their time?