Finding New Employment

Whether you have been unexpectedly released of your responsibilities by a laying-off or firing, or are excitedly out to find your first job, the process of searching for and landing new employment can seem pretty daunting.  The steps I write about below are how I found my new jobs.  Unfortunately, I have needed to suddenly start searching not once, but twice in my adult life.  After both lay-offs, I found jobs within six weeks, and neither were posted on any job board.  I sincerely hope that my experiences summarized below can give you some encouragement and direction.
1. Pick Yourself Up  
First, if you were suddenly "let go" from your previous position, you must take time to emotionally deal with what happened.  This is because you want to make the best impression possible on your future employer and leave any emotional baggage out of your upcoming interview.  Having unresolved hurt feelings can affect your attitude and cause you to act a little less composed than you otherwise would.  Most importantly, talk to people and let them know you are searching for a new job.  You will likely be surprised by how much support you will get from friends and family.  If you are lucky, they may even know of job leads.
2. Clean Yourself Up
Second, spruce up your image.  It is not necessary to spend much money here, but you should do what you are able to have a more professional appearance.  If you are looking for a professional office-type job, your to-do list might include getting a haircut, having your business suit cleaned, and shining your shoes.  If a three-piece suit is not the standard attire in your desired field, at least have a clean, ironed dress shirt, pants, and clean shoes.  The common statement "Dress for the job you want" is definitely good advice to heed.
3. Do Your Homework
Third item to handle is homework.  Yes, you have homework to do.  It is this step that I felt myself working harder than I had worked before in any full-time job.  In this step, you should honestly assess your skills, including your ability to learn new skills, and think of the kinds of jobs you would like to do.  You can begin your search in online job boards, like  If you are a college graduate, your college's career counselors may offer free or low-priced assistance to alumni.  You can also seek the help of professional recruiters and temp agencies who attempt to match job seekers with relevant openings.  Some recruiters even offer free continuing professional education in certain professions.  And, of course, tell your friends and family, as mentioned in number one.
What worked for me was searching for "(job title/responsibility) near (address)" in Google to see businesses that were nearest me.  This search yields companies that could very possibly use your services, and who are nearest to you.  In Google, you can even click on a maps view and see possible employers by proximity to your location.  Look through the results and study the websites of the businesses where you could possibly fit in.  For each prospect, read all the information possible from their website.  You want to know as much as possible about them.  Your research should provide you with prospective businesses where you will likely fit in and a specific contact person to contact.  Also, just as importantly, this should help you rule out some businesses where you might not fit in.   Also, before meeting with your choices, you should be able to explain how you can contribute to their organization.
Once you have scouted a few appealing employers on the Internet, update your cover letter, resume, and references with items that pertain to each prospective employer.  There are many examples of resumes to be found online, so pick a format that would go well with your industry.  Depending on space and the position for which you are applying, include your three most relevant job positions and three to five bullet points listing your major responsibilities at each position.  If your experience is limited,  list your three most recent paid or volunteer positions and most relevant responsibilities.  
One important thing to remember is to ask the people you want to be your references before you list them as references.  Do NOT just list them without getting their permission.  A prospective employer will not be impressed with making a cold-call to one of your references.  Your reference may not appreciate it either.  
4. Hit the Bricks
Now is the time to take your list of top prospects, put on your newly pressed suit and a smile, gather your materials, and go make contact.  With all the efficiencies and conveniences the internet has to offer, people tend to respond better in person.  Your employer will be further impressed that you made the effort to hand-deliver your information to their location.  You may just leave the information with the receptionist, and that is okay.  Leaving your information for the prospective hiring manager enables you to make a warm call, as opposed to a cold call later.  Then, the person you make contact with will not be blind-sided by your making contact and may be more receptive to speaking with you.  If you are looking for a job in a different town or it is not possible to hand-deliver your information, at least mail your information rather than sending it by email.  Emails are all too easily discarded without much consideration.
A few days afterward, follow-up with a call to ensure they received your information and inquire about any position.  If they say no, use the opportunity to network with this person and at least ask if they know of anyone who could use your help.
5. Answer the Call
After going through the above steps three and four enough times, you will land on an employer who will ask you for an interview.  Now you put back on your spruced-up attire, your awesome smile, and go let them know why you will be an excellent fit for their organization.  Focus on what you can contribute to their cause.  Ask knowledgeable questions about their industry and their business.  You researched in step 3, so show what you learned and have good questions for the interviewers
6. Accept the Offer that is Right for You
The heading pretty much ways it all.  Accept the job that fits you and your lifestyle the best.  Take into consideration wages you will receive, the hours you will work and in what conditions, travel, and anything else pertinent to your new job.
This way of finding a new job combines some old-fashioned ways of meeting people with modern search methods.   You can do multiple steps at once, like researching prospects while your suit is at the cleaners, or researching new prospects while delivering your information to your current list.  Not to say it does not work, but resumes sent to email inboxes are easily discarded.  Having a physical letter and resume in hand that was delivered by you shows you have initiative, which can get you ahead of other applicants.  I will close with the saying "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again!"  You only need one prospect to work out!  Best of luck!