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Job search without a staffing agency

Q: I am currently a technical professional in search of full-time job opportunities. I have been working with start-ups and non-profit organizations. While I have garnered some level of experience, I feel confined and overlooked in the labor market. I am looking more seriously at opportunities within a company that respect their employees. I am curious how can I pursue a job search without using a professional staffing agency.

A: Since we are in first quarter of 2014, you are in a desirable situation. I often see an increase in hiring in first quarter of every year. Although you don't mention what type of technical expertise you have, however, technical professionals, for the most part, are in demand.

Not all professionals land new roles through staffing organizations. Many professionals land role because of their professional and personal network.

A few tips:
- Get on LinkedIn and join groups related to your profession. Also join groups affiliated with any colleges or universities which you have attended. There may even be geographic groups that make sense. There may be professional groups within your town or in Boston that may be of interest.

- Dust off your resume and make sure it is current and easy to read. Ensure that your LI address is on your resume and it is free of typos.

- Begin networking with people in your target industry. If you are exploring biotech, start connecting (both on LinkedIn and in person) with those in biotech.

- Attend networking events and industry events in your fields of interest.

- Make sure that you are prepared with a 1-2 minute elevator pitch. Your elevator pitch should include a bit about your professional background and also your ideal next step in your career.

- If you are concerned about how an employer respects their employees, you should ask questions about the culture. Some suggested questions include:
1. Can you tell me how employees would describe ABC, Inc. as a place to work?
2. What are the positives about your work culture? And what about the negatives?
3. What is your employee turnover?

Good luck in your search. In my opinion, a strong professional network is the best insurance against unemployment.

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