As a Career Coach, I’m seeing that many professionals make the mistake of posting their resume on a job board, or handing their resume to a recruiter, and then just sitting back and waiting for the phone to ring. In today’s tough job market, you need to be much more strategic in making a career change. My career coaching clients have had great success including doubling their opportunities and cutting their search time in half by following my three simple job hunting rules…
1. Think Up, Down and Sideways.
The biggest mistake job hunting professionals make is looking for a position with the exact same title they had in their last job. Instead, consider looking at smaller companies and going one-level up, as well as larger companies and going one-level down.
Since many companies don’t require you to have industry experience, only expertise in a specific job function, you can double your opportunities by applying for jobs in different industries.
For example, if you’ve been working in advertising agencies, then also include businesses that have in-house advertising, marketing, or communications departments. Or, if you’ve been in sales, finance, engineering, or administration in a certain industry (such as health care, high tech, or construction), start applying for those same jobs in other industries.
Also, it’s not mandatory that you meet 100-percent of the requirements in the job description. Attitude and confidence are also key factors! A good rule of thumb is to have at least 75-percent of the skills and experience required, and express in your cover letter and interviews that you’re a quick learner, flexible, and passionate about the position and the company.
2. Create a strategic job search plan.
You want to fish where the fish are, so find out where your potential employers by reading job boards (CareerJournal.com, theLadders.com, etc.), as well as industry publications, business journals, and company websites. You’ll be able to learn which industries are hiring, which companies are hiring, and where the hot jobs are!
Company websites. Create a list of companies where you would like to work.
Visit their website weekly for on-line job postings, and announcements for departments expanding.
On-line job boards. Some job search sites are notorious for listing outdated jobs, or jobs with no contact information. Why waste your time?
Instead, make a list of job search sites that offer high quality jobs. Conduct a search on Google or Yahoo for the job role and the city you want (example: software engineer, Portland). Review all the sites listed on the top three or four pages, and bookmark only those sites that list promising job opportunities.
You’ll find that each site varies in the quality of positions listed (lower-level to senior-level, as well as salary ranges), plus the type of industries, or vertical sectors, listed. Some sites may also do a better job than others updating their lists, or publicizing openings in your city.
Focus your attention only on those sites. Once you’ve created a list of your top job search sites, make a commitment to review those sites weekly.
3. Work your NetWORK.
Make it a priority to get connected, and stay connected, to people who could hire you, or introduce you to others who could potentially hire you. Get re-connected with past employers, customers, and colleagues. Meet new contacts by attending industry conferences, trade shows, business networking events, and association meetings that target the industry (high tech, health care, etc.), or the job role (marketing, finance, management, etc.) you want. Try to attend a couple of events each week.
Finally, never give the impression that you’re hungry for a job. Instead, you want to be seen as someone who’s resourceful, knowledgeable, and has a wide network. Send out personalized notes and e-mails with links to reports, case studies, press releases, videos, and websites that you think may interest them. Invite them to business networking events, and introduce them to other movers and shakers. Influencers are drawn to those who are resourceful.
The goal is to create a pull relationship with your network so that they are drawn towards you (not running away from you!)
When you’re searching for a new job, remember to stay focused in what you want, stay positive, and believe in yourself. It takes persistence and patience – but you WILL find those companies who jump at the opportunity to hire you!! 🙂