In yesterday’s article, http://www.recareered.com/blog/2010/12/08/is-your-job-search-still-random/ I listed a number of methods and tactics that demonstrate most candidates use random job search methods. Learn even more ways to target your job search rather than just “throw stuff against the wall to see what sticks” …
There are many more indicators of random job search methods. Since there are so many more that I could discuss within the space of a single article, I thought it would be helpful to continue and list additional random job search methods. I also include alternatives to make your search more targeted and effective.
Recognizing Your Job Search Is Random – Are You Using Any Of These Methods In Your Job Search? Part 2
Review the following list of random job search methods and tactics and the ones mentioned yesterday in http://www.recareered.com/blog/2010/12/08/is-your-job-search-still-random/. Any of these sound familiar? How many are you using in your search?
- Depending on your network to provide for you: People have built entire careers in this way. Rather than search for specific jobs at specific companies, many candidates contact their close network and referrals would magically roll in. So, in a haphazard way, many built a career path.
This can work during strong job markets, featuring more jobs than candidates. It’s easy, doesn’t require much uncomfortable self-promotion, and you might even have a friend at your next employer. Because it’s so random, it rarely works well when jobs are scarce. In addition, it encourages you to stay in the same line of work and same industry, rather than grow – because candidates tend to have more contacts within their line of work and industry. Worst yet, it teaches lazy job search habits – to depend on others to present opportunities.
In today job market, don’t depend on your network – you’re probably going to have to hunt for your next job yourself. If your network is able to help you find a great next position, consider yourself lucky.
- Depending on recruiters to find you a job: Many depend on recruiters to do the searching for them – again this works best when there are candidate shortages and many jobs. The higher up the career ladder a candidate is, the more likely they will place most of their reliance on a recruiter. While a recruiter might find your next job, it’s much less likely in the current job environment. In a tight job market, fewer companies will pay a recruiter’s 25-30% fee, unless there are shortages of your specific talent (nurses, for example).
I’m not saying recruiters are a lousy job source, but I am suggesting that you can’t depend on them like you could during the days of low hanging fruit. Recruiters are one opportunity channel, but in a tough job market, the successful candidate works many opportunity channels.
- Not expanding your network: Network expansion can help today’s job seeker better target their job search, but it depends how you expand your network. Meeting people randomly at networking events is a comfortable and traditional way to network and job search, but it leads to a random job search.
During times of plentiful jobs, we were taught to meet people from as many different companies as possible, because we were taught to search randomly – in a random search, volume is the key.
Instead, specifically network with a purpose. A targeted approach focuses on meeting employees from companies on your target list. Meeting just one contact within a company may have been enough when jobs were plentiful, but today’s successful candidate meets many people from their target companies. It presents a powerful statement to a hiring manager if 4 or 5 (or more) employees and peers are saying “you’ve got to hire them – this candidate would be great!”
Network in a targeted way by attending specific events where you know employees from your target company will attend, because executives/managers from those are in group (or charity) leadership positions. Using Linkedin can be a great way to learn who to connect to, may help you connect, and can be a great way to research events.
- Not managing your personal brand: Many candidates bristle at managing their personal brand, because most brands they see advertised are commodity products – few candidates want to look at themselves as a commodity. Unless you manage your personal brand, it’s managed for you by others – and that’s rarely to your advantage. Most often the unmanaged personal brand gives the very impression that candidate wants to avoid – being viewed as a commodity. In a competitive job market, you’ll find a rough road if you’re viewed as a replicable commodity.
Instead, use the advantages of social media to craft and manage your own personal brand. Social networks, blogs, profiles can all help effectively manage your personal brand. I see candidates miss the mark – many will use social media or blogs to discuss their hobby, their personal diary or vehicle to rant. While that might be fun, it won’t employers/recruiters find you as the solution to their problems and it won’t describe your specific personal brand.
- Branding yourself as a generalist: Before ATSs, before hundreds (or thousands) of competitors for each job, before the internet dominated job search, branding yourself as a generalist made sense for candidates seeking senior positions. But this strategy hasn’t worked well for the past 10 years – it’s even more apparent during a recession. When hiring managers can micro-target skill sets (especially when candidates are plentiful) … why wouldn’t a manager look for specific skills first, choose specific skilled candidates to interview and finally choose the candidate with the best fit and general skills? This means that hiring managers screen for specific skills first. This explained in more detail in “Who Needs Generalists Anymore?” at http://www.recareered.com/blog/2010/09/17/who-needs-generalists-anymore-2/.
- Ignoring your resume’s 4 audiences: Most candidates write their resume for the hiring manager but don’t realize that there are 4 separate audiences for your resume. Each audience influences or blocks a candidate’s consideration, starting with determining which resumes are even read by humans. When a company gets hundreds or thousands of applicants, they can’t staff to read every resume – typically only the top 2-3% are read. Also, another audience helps determine fit and which finalist gets the job. If you don’t know who these audiences are, you can learn more by reading “l Your Resume’s 4 Audiences” http://www.recareered.com/blog/2010/05/01/your-resumes-4-audiences-best-of-recareered/.
- Ignoring the interview selection process: Many candidates don’t see that companies use a different decision process to decide who interview, than they use to decide who to hire. Many of these same candidates get upset when they feel their resume hasn’t been read, but don’t recognize the process that most companies and recruiters use to pre-screen resumes so they have to only read small percentage.
A targeted job seeker realizes the right keywords and effective use of resume real state are critical to increasing interview selection chances. Candidates who use virtually the same resume and a cover letter don’t understand the selection process.
- Using snail mail: Traditional job seekers often are fans of snail mail as a way to stand out. Snail mail can be effective in very small companies. But for mid-sized or larger companies that use a recruiter or an HR person, paper resumes or marketing letters are a waste of time, stamps and perfectly good trees. Few hiring managers want to do the initial resume review, preferring (or being required) to have the HR department serve as a pre-screen. In addition, for any job having to do with technology, a paper resume is death – it gives the impression of someone uncomfortable with technology.
- Doing what everyone else does: Job search is uncomfortable, so candidates tend to seek out safety – and doing what others do can feel safe. It’s uncomfortable to be different and uncomfortable to try new things, especially in the midst of a task as uncomfortable as searching for a job. But using the same tactics as everyone else works against the job seeker. Some of the greatest candidate success stories come from candidates who approached their search in a very different way from other candidates.
This should make inherent sense – how can you stand out when you simultaneously try to do the same thing as everyone else? To learn more about some great tactics you can use to differentiate yourself from your competition, read “Breaking The Job Search Rules Better Than Anyone Else” http://www.recareered.com/blog/2010/04/20/breaking-the-job-search-rules-better-than-anyone-else/.
- Being too brief/Being too detailed: So many resumes are too brief (a single page) or too detailed (4 pages or more of text), and both extremes have poor chances of success. Neither method takes the reader’s needs or decision process into account – it’s not surprising that neither method is very successful. Rookies can get away with a single page resume, but if a candidate has more than a few years of experience or more than one job, a single page resume undersells the candidate. However, a 4+ page resume hides relevant details in the middle of a whole big bowl of irrelevant details, so they seldom work well.
What’s important is choosing the right detail, that shows what the hiring manager really cares about (WIFT). This is impossible to guess at without significant research time invested before a resume is sent, to understand the hiring manger’s goals, roadblocks, and problems. Just as choosing the right detail is crucial, so is emphasising the right detail. The right emphasis won’t happen in a 4 page resume, because there’s just too much stuff to distract the reader.
Over the past 2 days, I’ve listed 19 random job search methods, shown why they don’t work today, and offered alternatives.
Readers (Employers and recruiters also) – what have I missed? Any other random job search methods you can add?-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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