As the New Year begins, many of us take inventory of our lives and look for ways of improvement. Besides joining a gym or signing up for a language class, one area where some decide change is necessary is in their careers. In my book, The Job Search Process, I outline eight key points to land your dream job. Rather than cover the tried-and-true categories of resume writing or how to behave yourself in an interview, I focus on one overlooked area job seekers minimize: how to actually look for a job. So, for those looking for a new career in 2013, here is a guide to conducting your personal job search process.
It all starts with commitment. If you are currently employed, pledge a minimum of 10 hours per week to look for a new job. If you don’t have a job, your commitment should be spending 40 hours per week. Nothing will derail your job search faster than a lack of personal commitment to seeing your job search process through to completion.
Share with friends and family that you are on the job market. Consider making a declaration to yourself and then share it with others. For example if you are unemployed, it goes like this: “I am going to spend 40 hours each and every week following my job search process until I have a job that will take care of me and my family. There is tremendous power in using phrases such as “I am” and “I will.” By sharing your declaration with those closest to you, they will now feel included in your process and will be an even stronger support system for you.
A second benefit of telling people you are active in the new job market is that they can refer you to companies they know are hiring. Expand beyond your circle of friends and family. Tell everyone you know or meet that you are on a job search. Referrals are the No. 1 way to get a job, as 85 percent of jobs are never posted!
I am often shocked that the general population in the United States believes that every job available is posted on Monster or Career Builder, or listed in the classified section of their local newspaper. The opposite is actually the truth.
Separate yourself from the jobs with the greatest amount of competition. Instead, look for a job strategically, away from the masses. The No. 1 way to get a job is through referrals. Period. There is no quicker, more direct method to connect a person to his or her next job, than through someone who knows that the job exists. Remember, only 15 percent of all jobs are every listed, posted, or advertised.
One clever idea I saw from a job seeker is to make your own personal business card and give it to people you meet. It acts a mini-resume. This candidate had his name, the type of job he was looking for, his telephone number and email address. He made it very easy to pass his information along to people who were looking for someone with his skills and talents.
Use social media and get your message out to as many folks as possible. Popular outlets include LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Pintrest. If you don’t have a LinkedIn account, sign up for one immediately. LinkedIn is quickly becoming the favorite tool of recruiter’s and human resources professionals worldwide to locate candidates for the job openings they know of. Facebook is also a top tool recruiters use as well. Regarding LinkedIn, join groups that directly correlate to the industries or job’s you want to work in. Beyond making yourself known to recruiters, social media is a quick, and effective, method to let people in your extended network know that you are on the job market.
Place your resume on every major and industry specific job board. Employer’s cannot find you if they don’t know you exist. There are several major job boards such as Monster, Hot Jobs, and Career Builder that you should have your resume posted on. Hiring managers, recruiters, and HR professionals also look at niche job boards that are specific to a certain industry or skill set.
One of the most successful, yet rarely used methods, is to conduct a reverse search off of either employer’s you have worked at, or places you would like to work at. Contact companies that you want to work at, regardless of whether or not they have a job posted. Simply type in the company name and some key words about the business and a Internet search engine will create a list of competitors to the original company. Send out 100 resumes per week, every week, until you have a job. Set up a system to manage the flow of information you are both sending out and receiving back from prospective employers. For example, you can send out the resumes on Monday and call to follow up on them that Friday. This shows a sense of urgency on your part, as well as demonstrating solid follow-through skills.
There are several sources that you can use to locate companies in which to submit your resume. Those include job boards, responses to advertisements, industry groups and associations, public Internet forums, the Internet Yellow Pages, and other businesses on the Internet.
Finding the job you want — and will be happy at — takes effort and discipline. However, if you follow your personal job search process, you should be able to have interviews lined-up within a few weeks of starting the search.