How to Find Work

Find Work

Dread the process?

Good news. I worked as a recruiter for several years and heard many techniques for finding work. What I have found is many individuals who are skilled in their trade are not always skilled in selling their services. I hope you find this information helpful. If you know someone who works one of these jobs, please forward this article to them.

Tip #1 – Artist / Painter –

Being creative doesn't always lead to being wealthy. You may find having to concern yourself with money distracts you from your creative "juices". This is true of many artists I know. So, how do other starving artist survive financially? One artist I know in Portland, ME started his career by painting landscapes and displaying them at local art shows. He made a few dollars, but the shows were seasonal and cash flow unpredictable. He considers painting commercially "a waste of his talent" and found an alternative way to share his art while making a living. He painted a mural, for free, at a local Italian Restaurant. I say for "free" but the true arrangement is the owner of the restaurant agreed to display a photograph of various projects the artist has completed and provided a business card slot for the artist to market his work. The artist will receives 1-2 calls a week from out of town patrons who appreciated his work and ask if he would consider painting a mural for their residence. He has become quite well known in local social circles as someone who can enhance the character of a home with his art work. He also has established contact with several real estate brokers who, when listing a home, will often suggest to a seller that a fresh coat of paint will help increase the value of their home and help move it quicker in the market.

Tip #2 – Carpenter –

I need to start by outlining the obvious - a busy carpenter has a better chance of finding work than one who waits for work at home. What do I mean by this? I know a finish carpenter who will spend every Friday driving through different neighborhoods looking for a porch or a set of steps that are all but falling off the side of a home. He will knock on the door and let them know he will repair their steps for the cost of the materials plus $40. What, only $40? Yes. Being a skilled carpenter this project might take him only 2-3 hours to complete. If the homeowner is interested, he will go with the homeowner to Home Depot, show the homeowner the materials they are going to need, and the homeowner pays for the materials. The carpenter follows the homeowner back to the home and completes the project. The carpenter asks if he can put a sign next to the steps for the next 10 days stating "quality home repairs – call phone#". Most homeowners are glad to allow him to do so, considering the terrific service they just received. Repairing 8-10 small steps per month, the carpenter will post 6-8 signs per month, and will receive 6-10 calls per week asking if he can stop by to provide a quote. He will quote these projects at his regular rate. The projects he has gained included kitchen remodeling, a few bedroom additions, several decks, and even a custom display room for a car collector. He uses these small Friday jobs as a lead generation source and an opportunity to talk with potential customers.


Tip #3 – Landscaper –

I know a local landscaper who mows the lawn of a prominent real estate agent for "free". Again, the word "free" comes with a twist. The arrangement is he waives his weekly fee as long as the agent gives his business cards to new home buyers from out-of-town. In the United States, the average homeowner will move every 7 years. This means, 1 in 7 homes in any given neighborhood (statistically) will be sold to a new homeowner by next season. Many out-of-town buyers do not bring their old lawnmowers with them. They will either buy a new one, or will ask a local person who they would recommend. The landscaper will barter 2 hours of lawn mowing services for lead generation. He looks at his time mowing the realtors lawn as a cost of marketing. Another note: Many landscapers are good listeners. Like a hairdresser, landscapers are a dumping ground for neighborhood gossip. If a client mentions they are moving to a new location, the landscaper will hear about the move months before the homeowner is listing his home on the market. Guess which real estate agent he recommends using?

Job Search

Tip #4 – Recruiter –

The most talented recruiters maintain contact with those they have placed. By listening daily to their contacts, a recruiter will have a keen insight to which companies are hiring, which are laying-off, who is enjoying their job, and who isn't. A recruiter works much like a real estate agent. They will place a contact several times during their career and make a commission on each transaction, much like a real estate broker will sell a home multiple times during their career. I know a local recruiter who will meet with a variety of sales reps from manufacturing, service industries, retail sector, and even the reporter of our small town newspaper. Who are we kidding? Reporters are sales reps too. The interviews they conduct are passed as a lead source to a buddy in their advertising department looking to leverage the papers newfound "relationship". Business reporters are knowledgable of a local economy and are a great resource for an advertising team. A recruiter, by constantly asking individuals how they like their job, often hears about successful companies that are in their early stages of growth. If you are looking for a new job, there is no better access source to upcoming openings than ask a hairdresser, local reporter, librarian, postal worker, or commercial real estate agent. They all work with the public daily and have a good pulse on the local economy.

Tip #5 – Secretary –

Talented secretaries can find themselves in a dead end job at low pay. I know one individual who is extremely talented with Microsoft Office and, on her own time, has offered computer training for "free" on Saturday mornings to single moms. There is that work "free" again, so what is the catch this time? She keeps in touch with those she has trained. She is perceived to be an expert with the MS Office tools by those she has trained and one day a student introduced her to the President of a local company she recently started working for. This led to a new job opportunity for the secretary with a significant raise by someone who recognized her value and appreciated the quality of her work. This secretary had spent 3 hours every Saturday for 2 months offering training to help others succeed. Did she devote 24 hours of training with the sole purpose of finding a new job? In the end, was her time a good investment?


Each of the examples I have outlined discusses the value of networking and being a good listener. Too many individuals assume the job market is bleak. Rather than find work, they wait for it. Each of the individuals I have mentioned leveraged their contacts to find opportunities not advertised in a help wanted section of a newspaper. Some would argue they developed their own destiny. What do you think?

Share Your Experience

I hope this article has been helpful. Please leave comments for future readers and feel free to email a copy of this article to a friend or family member who might find work in one of the fields mentioned.

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