The best places to look for a job is your network – that’s how roughly 70% of all jobs get filled (according the US Bureau of Labor Statistics). And studies have also shown it’s usually the friend of a friend who are your best sources for job opportunities. So not your closest associations, but rather those that are one spot removed from them.
What I recommend is that clients engage in a three-pronged job search.
- Job Boards: First, yes, keep checking job boards – Indeed and LinkedIn are a good start, but you may also have ones through your association memberships, local communities or state, and through larger companies that have their own job postings. Research who those are for you and keep a close eye on those opportunities.
- Network: Second is your network as I mentioned previously, put feelers out to your friends if they have any contacts they could put you in touch with (remember, it’s THEIR friends you want to tap into).
- Targeting: And then the third is to identify 10-20 companies you would like to work for. Start with ones you have some relationship with in the past because of their products/services or people or have just admired from a distance. A secondary source could be new companies you research or learn about from your network or job boards. Once you identify those, contact their potential hiring manager(s) (key people) and recruiters or HR team. Form relationships with them with some brief communications you perform over time. Ask if you can talk to them on the phone about jobs they have coming up or foresee a need for in the future. Check-in with them every few months. In other words, stay on their radar and when something opens you will have a leg up in the hiring process. I have seen the in past where they don’t even open up a job publicly and simply call you.
All three of these approaches require a resume – they will all ask you to send one at a first introduction. But don’t leave it at that, you should follow up with them. Have them go over your resume and tell you where you can make it stronger for them. Every recruiter will have a different way in which they want that information conveyed but they will be impressed if you follow through with their suggestions. Think of it as a test of your resilience and determination. It’s one thing for you to talk about those things, quite another when you demonstrate them.
A resume that looks polished, confident, and determined will create a positive impression and they will assign those attributes to you personally. They will see you as the exceptional, remarkable, and noteworthy candidate – not just the one applying for a job. Even if you don’t meet all the qualifications of every job, they will want to give you a shot because you have impressed them with intangibles they can’t teach.
As I so often tell clients, when employers see a connection between you and what’s on your resume – those attributes and others – they will begin to build TRUST that you are the real deal. And trust is the ultimate factor employers want when they hire someone. They don’t want to HOPE you will be great, they want to KNOW you will be great.
Finally – why is all of this so important? Because MOST job seekers won’t do these three things. If you are the exception and do them, you will have a strategic advantage over your competition. Employers want demonstrated go-getters and this level of job search shows is go-getter level.