Monday, December 23, 2013

Increase Your Chances in the New Year

It seems you can’t have the New Year without New Year’s Resolutions, they just go together. Among the resolutions people make and pledge to do is to find a new job. And like most resolutions the discipline to stay true to their stated goal fades sometime in the weeks and months that follow. But if, indeed, you do seek to find a new job opportunity, just like anything you aim to achieve, intent alone will not get the job done, it requires sustained and focused effort. If perhaps you are already looking or soon considering putting some energy behind this kind of effort, what’s your plan and how will you turn your resolution into a reality?

Anyone who reads this blog knows I strongly suggest you not restrict your efforts or pin your hopes primarily to online-advertised jobs. Think about it, when a company posts a job on either their company website or other Internet-based resources, by the time you see it and answer there are already a lot of other people who are also interested in applying for the same job. Likely by the time you’ve sent your resume, you are situated somewhere in the middle of the pile of resumes. Then comes the process of qualification and elimination and when the dust settles, you might just get an opportunity to meet and demonstrate why you should be selected over others. However, I contend that by the time you’ve sent your resume the process is already well under way and you’re behind the curve trying to catch up. Ideally, if you could you’d like to be there and involved right from the start, wouldn’t you? But that isn’t possible, or is it?
I recently spoke with a person who is frustrated about this very scenario, feeling as if they are always last to know and late to get involved. Many times they learn within days of reacting and applying, that a selection has already been made. Consider, if you will, that if you reverse engineer the hiring and interviewing process, the time (days) it takes to receive and screen resumes, then schedule and conduct interviews, schedule and conduct second-round interviews, etc… we’re talking a couple of weeks, so you do recognize how far you lag in your involvement by the time you’re contacted or considered? Please don’t misunderstand; I’m not trying to step on your optimism. My book outlines a combination of other activities you should be doing in addition to responding online, but here is a relatively simple additional thing you could, and should be doing.
Even a blind squirrel finds a nut, occasionally
Of course, you should continue to react to jobs you see posted and have an interest in, but the mistake is limiting your activities primarily to this method only. You can leave your fate to luck or a phenomenon of good timing, but is this the best you can do?
If you want to get out front and ahead of the curve, you can’t be only reactive. Consider what happens in companies that want to hire a new employee. First they look internally, asking for employee referrals. Next HR checks their own internal database and after looking internally, then they will look externally and post the job. Of course, you don’t have a crystal ball to anticipate who will be hiring or when, although you can create better odds for yourself, thence create your own luck. If you want to assemble a list or, whenever a company you’d like to work for crosses your mind, construct a short introduction letter stating that you’d like to be considered if there might be a future opportunity, and send it with your resume by email. Indeed, you will not hear from many of the companies you contact, and how many companies to which you are currently applying, also replying to you? Yep, it requires more effort than the activities with which you may already be engaged, but if that’s all you’re doing, how’s that working for you?
Reactive Internet activity is important, but incorporating additional measures increases your odds and I imagine most people would like to increase their chances of success. As you contemplate the New Year and how you might want to enhance and influence your good fortune in 2014, make the commitment to a higher level of effort that most others are not doing.
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