There are four core methods of job search and I encourage job seekers to use all of them. When you are in search, looking for a job is your full-time job and you should plan to dedicate 35-40 hours per week to your search or a percentage of that it you are searching while employed. Here’s a quick rundown of the four methods of search.
Job Boards – When using the boards, you need to be as strategic as possible in your approach, because there is an enormous amount of information posted on the boards and employers receive multiple responses for each position they post. One of the best strategies for managing your presence on the job boards is to stick with niche boards that best match your professional level, industry, or job function rather than spending time on a board that claims to be all things to all people. This allows you to be a big fish in a smaller pond and potentially garner more immediate recognition from a hiring authority. For example, a senior-level executive is generally better-off creating a presence on a six-figure job site than on a general job board that posts jobs at all professional levels. Another way to optimize your time spent on the boards is to set up job alerts based on keywords and geographical preferences to streamline the amount of time spent on the boards and optimize the amount of relevant leads.
Recruiters – A recruiter can be a great ally during a search, but keep in mind that recruiters are generally only going to be interested in your candidacy if your skill set matches a position in their current job requisition portfolio. In addition, recruiters can only expose you to the positions from the companies that are willing to pay a recruiter to manage the search process. When you partner with a recruiter, you only get to see a small percentage of the available jobs in the market.
Cold Calling – People in search often find their jobs by cold calling on potential decision makers in companies. By creating a marketing letter that communicates your skills, accomplishments, and value-add, you can attempt to forge relationships with key people in the companies you would like to work for. The goal of the letter is to build a relationship with people in companies where no relationship existed before. If you can create and nurture a relationship before there is a need to fill a position, you are much more likely to be considered as a candidate when there is an opportunity because you are now part of the inner circle of contacts within the company. This method takes work and may not yield immediate results, but if these new relationships are nurtured over time, they can grow into opportunity with the company down the line.
Networking – Networking is the art of exchanging information continuously and graciously with members of your professional and social communities. People are more likely to share information with people they know and trust. Sharing information about job leads comes naturally in networking circles. Attempt to give more than you get and don’t keep tabs on your goodwill versus someone else’s and eventually you will find that you can almost always find a connection for whatever you need…whether it’s a recommendation for a great restaurant, advice on a project, or a tip on a job lead.
Yes, it’s a lot of work, but it is quite rewarding to help others and receive their help in return. Now it’s time to put these strategies to work. Best of luck in your search and beyond!