THE JOB SEARCH
You’ve got your resume, and you know how to write a cover letter. What’s next, you ask? Well, the simple answer would be: mail out your documents and hope for an interview. However, finding a job can often be the biggest obstacle on the path to employment. What do you do if you need an internship or a job now, but can’t find anything? What do you do if you can’t find a job that you feel comfortable working? Here are a few job hunting tips:
Craigslist might seem shady but the truth is that employers do use the network to advertise their jobs. With a little patience, dedication, and a decent idea of what kind of job you’re looking for, chances are you’ll have some luck on Craigslist. If you’re looking for a job near home, type in the name of your city in the “jobs” search engine. If you’re looking for a part-time job, or an internship, use the search bar to filter your results accordingly. You can also do a search on the job engine using keywords. College students may type “college” or “university” into the search engine, and receive results where employers state that they are happy to hire college students for the position.
The search bar will also filter results to display jobs that allow (or require) telecommuting. Telecommuting basically means working from home. For Muslim women who are not comfortable with the idea of working outside of the home, telecommuting jobs can be a godsend. While they can be isolating, and require a great deal of independent work, they do not have the hassle of long hours spent in traffic, and suit people who prefer to work on their own. Telecommuting jobs have another benefit – you don’t need to wear pants to work.
WISE JOB DIRECTORY
The WISE Job Directory is a part of a website called WISE Muslim Women, where WISE stands for Women’s Islamic Initiative in Spirituality and Equality. The WISE Job Directory lists jobs, internship opportunities and fellowships available to women around the world. Despite being a site for Muslim women, WISE does not evaluate the positions it lists, so you will have to screen each job on your own. However, the opportunities listed are often intriguing and may be of interest to many Muslim women. Currently, the American Society for Muslim Advancement is searching for a Development Intern to work on fundraising and special events. There are also jobs in other parts of the world for Muslim sisters who are not living in the United States.
Networking – or schmoozing – can be a great way to find a position, but not all of us take advantage of it. There’s a stigma against using your connections to get hired, a stigma that suggests a job earned through networking is a job isn’t a job earned at all. If you’re hesitant about finding a job through relatives, friends, professors, classmates, co-workers, or anyone else you know, remember this: if you apply for a job at your cousin’s friend’s company, you are using your cousin as a preliminary referral, but your cousin doesn’t give you much of an advantage over other potential employees applying to your cousin’s friend’s company. You are what will give you an advantage. Connections may help you plod through a confusing job market to an available position, but they will not get you a job. It is your responsibility to build a meaningful connection with a potential employer. Email your contact (like your cousin’s friend) and briefly (in a few sentences) tell them about yourself and who referred you. Ask them if they are hiring, or if they know anyone else who is hiring in their company. Also ask if there would be a convenient time to call to talk about the matter further. If you do call, be clear and succinct. Your conversation should focus on your contact’s needs, and how you can meet them. If you get an email response or a chance to talk over the phone, remember to be gracious. Your contact has taken time out of their schedule to speak with a potential employee because of a mutual friend/relative/etc. You are not entitled to a job from them.
If your contact tells you that there is no position available, thank them, and leave the conversation there. Do not badger them for further contacts, or information.
Networking isn’t difficult, but it only works when you think of it as an opportunity to show potential employers what you have to give to them – not what you are going to get just because you know someone.
Last, but hardly least, reach out. Is there a job you’ve always wanted? Have you stared longingly at a shop window, hoping for a HELP WANTED sign? Do you stalk your favorite blog every day, hoping against hope that the blog editor will psychically sense your desperation and offer you a writing position out of the blue? If that’s you – oh, wait, no. That’s me. But hopefully some of you can relate – and if you can, don’t be afraid to reach out. Email or call someone from that business, shop or website. Ask them if they have any positions open. You’ll never know until you ask. While you may not always get lucky, there is always a chance that what you’ve always wanted is just waiting to be taken.
Keep an eye out for the next article of this series: The Interview.