[Note: In my last article I left you with a cliffhanger. I had originally thought that I was ready to publicly make a certain announcement.  But I just wasn’t.  Big things, however, are on the way. And just as with the previous article, these tips are only for you, so please don’t share this url publicly to lower your odds of losing out on one of the few Midlife Job Finders spots.]

The most difficult job search I ever experienced was resolved by one of the practices I’m about to teach you…

People like to help people.

In fact, you’d be surprised how much help you can get if you just ask.

That was one of the reasons I started JobMob back in 2006, that’s one of the reasons you find it hard to ignore questions when asked, and that’s why so many people volunteer.

Let’s see how you can use crowdsourcing, the art of sourcing work out to crowds of people, for your job search.

1) Get job search feedback

There are many places you can go to ask job search questions, but you want to go somewhere where people will actually respond and hopefully often, people in the know. Even if you’re a new visitor.

One good place is the social network Reddit.

Head over to Reddit Jobs to ask any job search question and people will respond. I will respond there too, sometimes.

Or, if you want feedback about your resume, work portfolio, personal website or any job search-related creation of yours, just ask for it on Reddit Design_Critiques.

Another option is to upload to YouTube a video of yourself being interviewed (e.g. by a friend) or of you giving your elevator pitch, and then sharing the clip to get feedback.

2) Compile job search research

Researching a list of companies to target?

Trying to decide which skills you should improve to meet industry demand?

Or maybe you’re just trying to gauge that same industry demand?

Go to where other professionals hang out on popular question & answers sites such as Quora, Yahoo Answers or Ask Metafilter.

But don’t just post ‘can someone help me?’ Be as specific as possible about what you want to know:

  • “What do you think will be the hottest skills this coming year in industry X?”
  • “Can you recommend a company in Y city/area that has had a lot of success hiring new grads who majored in Z?” (Or if that’s not you- “pros with more than 20 years’ experience?”)
  • Another tack is to get inspired by asking people to tell how they found their job in a specific industry.

3) Have job leads found for you

In 2002, I finally ended my tough, almost year-long job search by creating a contest. Here’s how CNNMoney reported my story in 2009:

Jacob Share, 33, started an email chain by sending his resume and job search objective to his family and friends. He asked them to send it on to others and offered a monetary prize in the amount of $150 to the person who led him to a job as a Web development manager.

“The process went quickly after I sent my initial mailing to almost everyone I knew,” he said. “It only took one friend’s forward beyond that initial mailing to get a referral that lead to the ultimate job offer.”

Today, you could do the same thing more quickly, and reach more people, by posting a bounty to your social network profiles with details of what kind of job you’re looking for.

But a contest is only one way to activate your online friends. Depending on how strong your network is, simply asking them for leads might be enough. Companies are also using crowdsourcing to find great candidates. If a friend sees such a hiring campaign and recognizes you as a match, that could be your ticket.

4) Gain work experience

Join one or more of the most popular freelance marketplaces for your industry, post an achievement-highlighting profile, and announce that your first 5 projects will be done at a very low rate – but at very high quality, of course – as you build your personal brand on those sites. Then wait for the audience of employers as they jump to hire you.

5) Help others first to create reciprocity

Be part of the crowd yourself and help others before asking for help yourself.

Just as good if not better- volunteer. This could be a formal volunteering arrangement with an organization that you do work for over the Internet, or you could simply make a pact with yourself to give back by dedicating some time every day to helping others who need your expertise, especially those who cannot afford it otherwise, such as by leaving comments and critiques on Reddit or responding to questions on Yahoo Answers.