Advertise Yourself to Get a Job

Sometimes you need to make your own luck. Don't wait for a job to be advertised. Why not place an advertisement for a job yourself? There are several strategies open to you. You could aim to reach the maximum number of people within a given geographical area, in the hope that some of your readers will be in a position to consider offering you a job, or you could target your advertising to reach a more specific group of people over a wider geographical area.

Much depends on the type of work you are hoping to obtain. If you have fairly general skills and are unwilling to leave your local area it may be best to produce a general advertisement for publication in a local newspaper. Most areas have at least one regular 'bought' newspaper as well as a number of freesheets. An ad in the freesheet may be cheaper but is it read by potential employers? Is the local evening paper, published in town each evening, better for your needs than the weekly 'countrywide' paper? If so, is one particular evening better for your kind of advertisement than another? Only you can decide which is best for your purposes. Phone each one to discover the size of their readership, the distribution area and the cost of advertising. From this information you should be able to gain an image of each newspaper's average reader. Which is most likely to offer you the type of work you seek?

Before dashing to the phone, however, remember that this strategy has a couple of weaknesses. Your ad will be read by a large number of people who cannot help you and the life of your advertisement will be limited. Today's newspaper is tomorrow's chip wrapper!

Magazines tend to be kept longer, and they are passed around much more. In effect, although sales are often fewer, readership can be greater. Take a look in any newsagents and you will be surprised at the number of magazines on offer, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. For every magazine you see on the shelves there are at least another three titles in circulation which you have probably never heard of. At the last count there were almost 10 000 periodicals published regularly in the UK. Many are trade publications written for those with interests in specific business activities so there is a magazine for almost every kind of business and occupation, from architects to zookeepers. Most carry advertisements - you can reach a much more specific type of reader by placing an advertisement in the right magazine.

Lists of magazine titles, advertising rates and contact addresses are published each month in British Rate and Data. It may be available in your public library. Willings Press Guide is an annual publication which may also be useful. It can be found in the reference section of most public libraries.

When you prepare your advertisement keep it clear and simple. Use full words rather than abbreviations. State your age, qualifications and past experience. Mention the type of work you seek, and give an indication of when you would be available to start. Finally, don't forget to include a contact address or telephone number. If you are worried about security, or if you wish to remain anonymous, you can arrange with the magazine to have a box number.

If you are unwilling to place an advertisement in the press, there are other options. You could design a simple advertisement on a plain sheet of A4 paper, photocopy it and use it to leaflet all the firms on a nearby industrial estate. Alternatively, you could drop it through the letterboxes of all the local companies who employ people with skills such as yours. Yellow Pages is a good starting point for deciding which companies should be on your list of targets. Finally, you could think about preparing a general letter of application and a CV on a PC and e-mailing them to relevant companies via the Internet.