So what do you do, you personally, when you search for a job? Most people wake up one day and they start reading online job postings at whatever website shows the most listings, as though that is going to matter. They spend time staring into their monitors or screens like Goldilocks looking for the one(s) that are just right for them and send resumes in the hopes of being noticed, contacted and told, “…you’re just what we’ve been looking for!” Hmm, how often does that happen?
What about networking? Some people are big believers in networking and, indeed, it is a good way to go about a job search activity, but the whole trick to networking is that you already have a network of people with whom to interact, which means you were already a networking sort of person. The entire concept is based on referrals from already established relationships. I am not ridiculing these aforementioned activities; those methods should be a part of your overall effort but should not constitute the majority of your efforts. Looking for the easiest way to find a job is never the most effective way.
The manner by which I choose to conduct my work as a headhunter requires that anyone with whom I work also invests some effort into the task; I am not a magician, I don’t pull rabbits from hats and I do not lay jobs at the feet of those seeking my help. Nope, if they want my help they’re going to contribute some sweat equity for a good conclusion; I don’t work for them, but I’ll work hard with them. Among the initial questions I ask anyone I might represent is, “If there is a list in your mind, whether it is 3, 5, 10 or 50 companies, if you heard they were looking for someone like you and you would want to know about it - what companies would be on that list?” This represents your plan A list. Next, ask yourself what other competitors or similar companies there are that aren’t on your A list, but you would secondarily consider working for? This is your plan B list.
Formulating your A and B lists should require some thought unless you are working with someone like me. You otherwise need to then conduct some due diligence on your own behalf and look up each company on your list, looking for a point of contact that most closely resembles who would hypothetically be your boss; HR folks are nice people but not your first choice because they’ll tell you to send your resume and, if that’s the case, how would that differ much from reacting to online job postings, against which I am suggesting? Incidentally, if this sounds like it involves some work indeed it does, but most of the info is found online; way back in the day you had to go to the library to find often out of date information with which to work – so don’t complain.
Now that you have your preferred and secondary hit lists, formulate your plan. Initially contact, then schedule, a planned follow-up however you choose to do it and, also, when to follow up if you don’t reach them the first time. For example, resolve to commit yourself to a predetermined amount of time each day or week for your effort, have a combination of new calls along with some follow-up calls and so on. In between all of this, of course, watch the job boards and react but, I recommend even if you see an advert, attempt to make direct contact whenever you are able. It is always more effective when you are actually communicating directly with someone. Even a modest list should have you occupied with constructive activity for a number of weeks and even then you’ll add companies and make adjustments where necessary but real results require more than keystrokes and sitting around at home. Your online research beforehand is critical and is only powerful if you also combine the efforts of both seeking and actually talking to people with whom you’ve never previously spoken. Whenever possible, burn some shoe leather; get out there and shake some hands.
I am always fascinated as to how a job represents the means by which we survive in society, pay our bills, buy our food, clothe ourselves and, yet, so many people think this important function can somehow be done with minimal personal investment of their time and effort. I suggest you do not rely on a strategy of wishing and hoping, playing what amounts to not much more than engaging in an online lottery game to find a job. Unless you want to rely on sheer luck, stand in the mirror and ask yourself if your efforts are truly representative of you as a person; as a professional.
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