Strategies for Job Search and Networking

Although the job market is improving from its bottom in 2009, there are still many challenges faced by those seeking a new opportunity.  In this article, we will attempt to outline the various options available to the job seeker.  By using a combination of these options, the odds of landing a new and better job will increase substantially.

Only about 25% of all jobs out there are being advertised.  The rest of them are being filled through internal promotion or employee referrals via networking.  The 3 doors you can open in your job search are as follows:

The job search process is composed of 2 different components.  They are firstly the “Vision” and secondly the “Action.”  It is important to address each of these by making a list of the parts contained within each of them.  Begin by creating your “Vision” by using this outline and making a list of the following:

From the above list, you can prepare your branding statement or what is sometimes known as the 30 second commercial.  By using the above criteria, you need to create a compelling story of your accomplishments.  Practice this so that you know it well but try to make sure that it does not sound rehearsed.  Use your own words and keep it in mind because it will be an important reference point when you are face to face with potential networking contacts or in the actual job interview.

The next step will be your “Action Plan” which will establish the direction of your job search.  It is very important to have a plan because remember without one, all roads can lead to nowhere.  The downfall of most people in their job search is to have a haphazard approach akin to throwing spaghetti at a wall and hoping some of it sticks.  Moving forward without a plan rarely works.  Each plan should contain the following 3 components:

Now you are ready to make your next move.  You can begin to utilize Job Boards, Recruiters and your Networking contacts.  Several good Job Boards to target are CareerBuilder, HotJobs, and Monster. Many Recruiters will list positions on these sites.  Recruiters fall into 2 categories which are the Headhunter and the Retained Firm.  A Headhunter will be paid when the position is filled and the Retained Firm is under contract with an organization to fill all their open positions.  They will usually present between 3-7 candidates to the prospective employer.

Your networking contacts will fall into 2 categories which are Informal and Targeted.  It is possible for a contact to be both.  Essentially, the Informal contact is a person that you may just know as an acquaintance from which you are asking for feedback.  They may work in the industry or company you are targeting.  Ask them for their feedback on where you might potentially fit into the organization.  Do not ask them point blank if the company is hiring.  Keep it as a soft sell and casual conversation.  What you are looking for is for them to suggest another contact for you to reach out to that falls into the category of the Targeted networking contact.  This will be the person that is more closely connected to those in the hiring circle.  It may be an HR contact or a hiring manager at the firm.  Continue to pursue this strategy in all your personal interactions and you will find it will start to yield positive results.    Other areas open to fostering networking opportunities are groups such as the Chamber of Commerce for your community, industry clubs, alumni organizations or other formerly advertised networking events.  Most of your energy should be spent in this type of tactical networking since this is the door where 75% of all candidates who are hired are entering.

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