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We’ve all been in a situation where we’ve had lots of time to get something done and we procrastinated, squandering the time we had and then we scramble to make up for lost time. If you are serious about finding a new job, you need to treat each day as if it was your last day employed. And if you are already out of work then count your blessings and start your job search.
Job Search Lists
Individually, your job search lists may be helpful, but collectively, your job search lists (recruiters, target companies, social networks, etc.) are powerful tools for your job search.
I strongly believe that with job search, “more is more”. Many job search specialists will tell you otherwise (everyone can have an opinion), but like any product on the market, if no one knows it exists no one will buy it. The more people who know you are looking for a job, the better your chance of finding one.
A recruiter’s job is to find the best candidate for the job. Typically (unless they are on retainer), they do not get paid unless the company hires one of their candidates. Most recruiters will work with you to either help find a match between your skills and their job requisitions or in some cases convince a company to create a job based on your skills.
At the end of the day, they are being paid by the hiring company and there is a delicate balance between closing the deal and helping you maximize your compensation. There are a few rules of the road you should consider:
- You should not have to pay a Recruiter to help you find a job.
- Look for recruiters in the state/region where you want to work. While many recruiters are national or international, most tend to recruit in their local market.
- Look for recruiters who specialize in your industry/field. They have the best chance of marketing your skills and finding a job for you.
- Don’t let a Recruiter pressure you into taking a job you do not want.
You likely have a list (even if it’s just in your head) of companies where you would love to work. If you don’t, make one. This involves a little research, but in the end, it will help you narrow the choices while improving your chances of finding a job. There are lots of advantages to creating a target list, not the least of which is maximizing your time. Most hiring managers will ask why you want to work at their company. If you’ve made your list, you already know the answer. Items to consider:
- Select companies in your industry.
- Include companies that have locations in the region where you want to work.
- Leverage existing lists (Best Companies to Work for, Most Admired Companies, Fortune 500, etc.). Much of the research has been done for you.
- Talk to people in your Network about the companies where they work. They will have inside knowledge about the corporate culture, compensation, and career opportunities
- Research all of your picks. You can find salary trends, employee ratings, better business bureau comments, financial strength, etc.
The value of your network cannot be overstated. Your network will provide leads, references, and many times, actual job leads. There are many networking tools out there, but my favorite is LinkedIn. It will help you identify and keep track of your network. It will also help people identify you as part of their network. If you are not already a member (basic membership is free), you should join now. Regardless of the tool you use, you should consider the following:
- Include friends, family, current and former coworkers, teachers/professors, etc.
- Let everyone in your network know you are looking for a job (more is more).
- Leverage your network to get interviews at your target companies.
- Leverage your network to put in a “good word” when you are interviewing at their company.
- Your network is your best source for references – use them.
- Remember to reciprocate (don’t ask others to do what you would not do yourself).
- “Anti-networking” – check your social network sites to ensure there is nothing that will come back to haunt you.
Job Search Boards
On the surface, it feels as if there are millions of job search boards. Of course, there aren’t, but there are quite a few. You could easily get sucked into spending all of your time searching and applying for jobs you find on job search sites. That would not be a good use of your time. Pick a few sites that are highly rated and meet your needs. Balance the time you spend on job search boards against other resources (recruiters, your target companies, and your network). Some job search boards are very useful and current while others have many outdated &/or non-existent jobs. It’s not always easy to tell which sites are the worst, but there is a level of consistency in terms of the top rated boards. Best to consider:
- Look for articles that rank the top job boards
- Use job boards that focus on your industry/field and location
- Use “saved searches” to alert you of matching jobs
- You should not have to pay for a job search board
General “Rules of the Road”
- Look for jobs at or above your level (and salary). If you aim low, you will most likely wind up with a boring job with less pay.
- Remember to allocate your time across all sources (recruiters, companies, job search boards and your network).
- Use my “one a day” rule – submit one resume or contact one Recruiter every day (so little time, so many job applications)
- Today is the first day of the rest of your job search – don’t squander it!