There are 3 parts of a successful job search and if you have been struggling in the search, you may not be using all 3 parts.
Part 1 - Reactive
Most job seekers are very familiar with the reactive job search which is replying to ads when they appear. Although this is a part of the job search, too many job seekers are limiting their approach to replying to ads and have not found it to be very fruitful.
Even for those who are using this approach, they may be missing out on some of the strategies available to them to be more successful.
Part 2 – Passive
In job search terms, the Passive approach includes posting your resume on job boards, having a LinkedIn profile, and working with external recruiters (aka search firms or headhunters); you take an action and then wait for someone to “bite”.
Even for those who are using the Passive approach, they may be missing out on some of the strategies available to them to be more successful.
Part 3 - Proactive
The 3rd approach to the job search is the Proactive approach and is both the most underutilized approach and the most successful approach.
You may be asking, “If it is the most successful approach then why is it the most underutilized approach?” That is a good question and sadly too easy to answer. It is because too many job seekers do not know about it, because those who do know about it do not know how to do it well, and because some (fortunately few) jobseekers are not willing to put in the work to get a job they WANT, they are looking for the easy way.
The Proactive job search is what puts you back in control. Unlike the Reactive and Passive job search approaches where you have to wait upon others, the Proactive job search approach gives you specific actions you can take to get the job.
Earlier, for the Passive approach, I used the analogy of fishing. The Proactive Approach would be more like fly fishing, where you have actions you take on a regular basis and those actions increase your chances of landing the job.
Read this entire article and then ask yourself what would keep you from using this approach knowing it is the most successful, could get you employed in a job you want, now that you know how to do it well.
The Proactive job search approach includes being active on LinkedIn (different than just having a profile), working your target company list, and networking. Do not let the word networking scare you. I am an introvert and do not love networking. Later in this article I will give you strategies and resources that will make the action of networking less daunting.
Being Active on LinkedIn
As mentioned earlier, being active on LinkedIn is different than just having a profile. First you want to be sure any updates you make to your profile are sent to members of your network. Locate & click “Privacy & Settings” and on the Profile tab, click “Turn on/off your activity broadcasts”. Be sure the checkbox for “let people know when you change your profile” is checked.
Then you want to find industry LinkedIn groups to join. The Search feature of LinkedIn has a Groups option; using it, type in the name of your industry. Next to each group on the resulting list, there will be a “Join” button.
Another way to find Groups, is to look at the profiles of people in your industry and see what groups they have joined.
You will have the chance to adjust your Groups settings for how frequently you receive updates from the Groups and whether other group members can send you In-Mail (LinkedIn’s e-mail function). While in an active search I recommend you set the updates to daily and allow group members the option to In-mail you.
You will receive those daily updates in your e-mail. Now the action part: actually read the updates. When there is an article or discussion that you like, then Like the article (click Like). The person who posted it will get a message that you (by name) Liked their article or posting. A thumb nail of your picture will appear next to the article as well. That brings awareness of you and builds interest in you.
You can also Comment on an article or discussion that has been started by others. People in the Group will read what you have posted and get an impression of you. Therefore, do not be a negative nelly and do not use this forum to express your personal and political beliefs. This is the time to establish yourself as a Subject Matter Expert (SME) in your industry.
In addition to Liking and commenting on the discussion postings of others, you can post your own discussion or post a link to an article you read elsewhere and invite conversation. The more relevant to the Groups specialty, the more interest you will generate. This really sets you up as a SME.
Add to your profile under Courses any industry relevant training you have taken.
There is a way within LinkedIn to see how this approach is working for you. On the right side of the View version of your profile, there is a count of the times your profile has been viewed. The number of views and the number of days will change. This count is also a hyperlink (clicking it will take you to another page) where you can view who has viewed your profile. Occasionally instead of the person’s name appearing in the list of people who have viewed your profile, you may see that they just list their industry or that they are a “LinkedIn Member”. Many recruiters will hide what company they are from.
To the right of the list of names of the people who have viewed your profile, you will also see a graph which indicates how you are trending (are more people viewing your profile than before?). It is a good thing when your profile is trending up or stays high.
Another way to determine if you are attracting the right attention is to look on the right of your Profile view at the “People Also Viewed” section. This is not the list of the people who viewed you. Instead it is the list of people’s whose profiles the person who viewed your profile also viewed. You may recognize some of the names and can immediately figure out who might be looking at both profiles. In other cases you might not know the person. If they are in the same career or industry, it may be that you are attracting the interest of recruiters or hiring managers. Use this list to check out the competition’s LinkedIn profile and see if they have skills that you have but haven’t listed yet or something else on their profile that you want to add as well.
Working Your Target Company List
You want to have a list of between 5 and 10 companies that you would give your left arm to work for. Having this list does not mean you would not be willing to take a job with another company. This is the list you are proactively going to network into. Having more than 10 just dilutes your efforts and you will not get the results you want; you want a more laser like approach.
In creating the target company list, do not list just the big companies in your area. There are many small and mid- sized companies who are looking for people with your talents.
If your area has a business paper, read it on a regular basis. It is a great resource for knowing what is going on in your area business wise. In Atlanta we are blessed to have the Atlanta Business Chronicle (ABC). The Business Journals, of which the ABC is a member, produces annually a Book of Lists which lists companies in the specific geographic area sorted into different categories. This is an invaluable resource for understanding what companies are in the area and identifying target companies. A copy of the Book of Lists can usually be found in the reference section of your local library. The Atlanta Business Chronicle has offered a special job seeker rate which includes a copy of the Book of Lists. To find out more, just send me your e-mail address requesting the subscription details.
Having the list of target companies is just the start. You want to add the list of companies to your Networking Guide and give it to people in your network who have offered to help you with your job search. For more on the Networking Guide read this article:
Research your target companies and networking into them. You have a 50 times greater chance of getting a job in a company with an employee contact. Go into LinkedIn and using the advanced search for People, type the company name into the company field. I suggest leaving the drop box under the company field to “Current or Past” initially because the person you know the best may have just left the company. Use the widest search first and then as needed add criteria such as “Current” and postal code.
Review the profiles of the people you’d like to meet and see what groups they belong to. Do any of the groups have in person meetings as well? If so, note those for Networking. Consider Joining the industry groups that they belong to, especially if many of the people at that company belong to the same groups, so you can do what I term “come along side” of them i.e. meet them in the group discussions.
Within LinkedIn, search and “Follow” your target companies so you know what they are posting about themselves. Aside from LinkedIn, set Google Alerts to receive news about the companies as they are mentioned anywhere on-line.
The number one way to find a job and the best way to find what is termed “the hidden job market” is through networking.
Years ago we didn’t have to “network” because we knew everyone in town and they knew us. Today we can drive up to our house, push the remote to open the garage door, and never even see our neighbors. In order to know more than just the people in our immediate lives we now have to be intentional about networking. It is a life skill and, in my opinion, should be taught in school.
Job Networking groups are not a target rich environment to find a job. I believe in job networking groups; I’m a professional affiliate of Crossroads Career Services and I speak at many of the metro Atlanta groups. They are a great place to get job search tips and to get emotional and spiritual support – all necessary for the job search.
For job leads though going to a job networking group is like going to a married group to find a date. Someone there might know a single person but it makes more sense to go to a single group instead. Therefore I highly recommend networking at industry groups where employed people network and you can likely meet your future hiring manager and future peers. With attending industry events, you also get to stay up on your industry.
To find industry networking groups or associations, search the internet for the name of your industry and the word “association”.
There are numerous books written to develop the skill of networking that cannot be summarized in one article. The following are some basics though about networking that will make it easier for you to do. You may never love to do it but it is a life skill and we all have to be better at it.
To be prepared to network you must be able to very concisely answer the question “who are you and what do you do?” Do not say you are in a job search or that you are unemployed. Give your name, your job title, something about you that is unique (i.e. your personal brand – more on that in a future article) and then ask about them. The shortness of this introduction is why it is often called an elevator pitch. Do not get historical “well I used to do
In addition to industry networking groups, there are other places to network. Common interests groups are good places to network. For example let’s say you are into motorcycles. Other people with motorcycles instantly take to you because of that common interest. The same is true with other common interests. You never know who knows someone; the main point is to increase the number of people who know you and deepen those relationships so that they are invested in you and want to see you succeed.
There are four levels of knowing someone professionally: Meet, Know, Like and Trust. Imagine if you will that I have the home phone number to the CEO of the fastest growing company in town. I would not give that phone number to everyone I meet. I have to trust them before I’d give the CEO’s phone number to someone. People have to trust you before they open up their prized connections to you.
Like any life skill, we have to learn to do it, practice it, and do it. First set a goal. Even if there are a hundred people at an event, I feel successful if I meet five people and then make a point later to deepen the connection with at least three of them. Set a goal and reward yourself for completing your goal.
Remember to reach out to people already in your life with whom you have lost contact. Start every meeting by finding out what is new with them.
There are three books I highly recommend on the topic of networking. One of the three I recommend for both men and women and then the others are gender specific. This is the only topic I have gender specific recommendations for.
The book for both genders is “The Heart and Art of Netweaving” by Robert (Bob) Littell. This book reminds us that networking is not all about us. For introverts, that is great news as we do not mind listening to others talk about themselves, we prefer it to having the spotlight on us.
For men I recommend the book by Harvey MacKay “Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty” and for women I recommend the book by Susan RoAne “How to Work a Room” or her new book “Face to Face”.
There are three approaches to the job search. All should be used but time should be spent proportional to their success rates.
Considering that only a portion of all of the available jobs are found on-line, only a little amount of time each week should be spent in the Reactive approach to the job search. Since the Passive approach requires little effort, set a schedule to re-post your resume every three weeks and reconnecting with recruiters.
Then to yield better results, spend the majority of your time leveraging the most successful approach – the Proactive approach. You will get better at it the more you do it.
E-mail Judi@RightChanges.biz with the subject line “Approaches” to receive an Excel spreadsheet that will help you organize the three approaches.
The next article will be “The one question a job seeker should ALWAYS ask after an interview yet many don’t”. I welcome your suggestions for future job search topics.
Judi Adams is the Affordable and Successful Job Search Coach, author of an Amazon hottest new release “Found a Job Yet? And Other Questions NOT to Ask!”, and keynote speaker. Judi is also the creator of the YouTube video series “The Five Deadly Sins of the Job Search” that can be found on YouTube.com using FoundaJobYet in the search field. Her blog RightChangesJobSearchCoach.blogspot.com has been read world-wide since 2009. Judi’s clients have had phenomenal success finding jobs they want by following the steps she outlines for them. For more information on RightChanges’ 2013 special for the initial hour of coaching, the new “advantage program for students”, and RightChanges other services, go to www.RightChanges.biz.