Have you been down in the dumps trying to land a job in today’s economy? Still leafing through the newspapers and online job posts and not getting even a nibble? Maybe it’s time for you sit back, take a deep breath, relax and start over.
Eight Key Strategies
Here are eight strategies that will get the ball rolling in the proper direction. No gutter balls here. By the time you’re done following these strategies, you’ll be an expert striker.
- Leverage your network. Even distant business connections are often helpful in setting up introductions with those who can appreciate your potential contribution or passing along contact information if you request assistance making it easy for them to understand your proposition and focus. More jobs result from distant connections than from direct contacts owing to the exponential impact of referrals.
- Initiate conversations. Encourage referrals and recommendations to additional resources. Don’t restrict your conversations to only official positions or posted openings. Lead the dialog towards thoughts, ideas, guidance, and industry buzz — and let your contacts volunteer assistance. Always send a follow-up “thank you” message and at that time, summarize your interests and remind them how they might be able to help you to realize your objective.
- Network Purposefully! It’s okay to ask your networking contact if they are able to connect you with a specific person. In fact, it may be an easier request to fill than if they have to research the correct contact. Provide the phone number and e-mail and administrative assistant’s name and whatever additional information and insights you have to make it as simple as possible to help you.
- Don’t count on recruiters to find your new job for you. Unless you happen to fit their very narrow job specs, you are not what they need to complete their assignment or what their client (an employer) is paying them to deliver. Moreover, companies have cut their budgets and are outsourcing fewer projects to external recruiters.
- Target companies and then contact the appropriate hiring decision-maker directly. Direct contact and cold calling are very effective methods for getting initial attention that can then be developed into a relationship by building common experience, increasing shared interests and developing mutual trust.
- Make doubly sure that your résumé communicates a message focused to attract the attention of the employer market you want to reach. Don’t take yourself out of the running by offering a less than perfect document. Zero résumé and cover letter errors are tolerated AND your positioning as the first choice candidate, go-to expert for solutions has to be undeniably clear.
- Fill out fewer online applications. If there is an Internet posting that is a fit, identify the hiring manager and contact them directly. Do follow company guidelines and also submit your credentials according to the requested protocol. By reaching out directly, you demonstrate initiative and put your name in play. By following the rules, you show that you are cooperative.
- Mind your manners. Write and send “thank you” messages after networking contacts and formal and informal interviews. Always be courteous, polite, patient and cooperative.
When you land a job, remember to give back to others, grow your newer connections and resolve to strengthen your online identity to promote yourself as a passive candidate. Keep in touch with your new connections — you invested in creating this network. In the future, aim to be “Googled” and be discovered in an online search by future employers instead of proactively seeking your next challenge. It’s easy to pull and attract a new job lead than it is to pull and submit an application for consideration in a competitive pool.
© 2009 Debra Feldman
Debra Feldman is the JobWhiz™, a nationally-recognized expert who designs and personally implements swift, strategic and customized senior-level executive job-search campaigns, banishing barriers that prevent immediate success. Her gift for cold calling, executed with high energy and savvy panache, connects candidates directly to decision makers, not HR. Network Purposefully™ with the JobWhiz, and compress your job search into mere weeks, using groundbreaking techniques profiled in Forbes magazine. In addition to her private practice, writing featured columns and conducting exclusive workshops, Debra is a recommended resource to alumni of top-tier business schools. Contact Debra at www.jobwhiz.com to expedite your executive ascent.