Finding a job isn’t as hard as people convince themselves it is. It’s knowing HOW to build the strategy that uncovers the job that is the challenge. I spent the first 15 years of my career as a marketer and the last several as a professional recruiter placing marketers.
During my career as a marketer, I was laid off over 5 times! No, I don’t suck as a marketer, LOL. Marketing is always the first go to when a company is hurting financially (at least that’s what I keep telling myself).
It’s no surprise to me that I became a recruiter. As a job seeker, I learned fast how to find opportunities - during downturns, while competing against candidates with MBAs, during 911, and yes, even before the onset of social media networking sites like LinkedIn, Facebook.
Yep…it was just me, an Excel spreadsheet, my in person network and my cell phone. I learned back in 2001 that the squeaky wheel gets greased first, but only if it knows when and where to squeak. In other words, I figured out the art of job hunting before all the bells and whistles were invented that aide us today.
Now that I have over a decade of recruiting experience, I’ve learned the tricks-of-the-recruiting-trade. Many would pay hundreds if not thousands of dollars to learn and master what I know. If you’re willing to put in the right kind of sweat equity, you too can learn how.
To teach you everything I've learned through an article would turn the article into a book, so I’m going to focus on the first MUST Dos: Defining your target audience, building your hit list of target companies and creating a communication strategy with decision makers to stay top of mind. There is so much more to it than these two areas, so for those who are interested in hiring me to help, contact me directly to discuss further.
Step 1: Identify Your Target Audience.
Your target audience is 4-fold:
1. The job title(s) of the person you would report to.
2. The in-house recruiter.
3. People who could be influencers into the companies you want to work for. This could be an executive admin for the person who could be your boss, a person inside of the department you want to work in, or someone you personally know at the company. This list will fluctuate but you have to recognize its’ value in your search.
4. The outside Recruiter (that’s someone like me). This is recruiter at the recruiting agency that represents the company you might want to work for (also known as a “staffing” recruiter or “retained search” recruiter). Note: We won’t discuss this audience in this article.
Step 2: Define the Industries That Would Be Interested In YOU - NOT the Other Way Around.
Most people focus on the industries they WANT to work in verses the industries that want THEM. While it is entirely possible to go from one industry to another if your skill-set is in high demand, focus on the low hanging fruit first.
Here’s an example close to all of our hearts in Houston due to the downturn of the O&G industry in 2015: If you’ve been working in the O&G industry for the past 15 years, so look for software companies that sell into profitable areas of O&G or to professional services companies that market certain services into the profitable areas of O&G. The point is, think about the peripheral industries that could benefit from your knowledge you’ve learned in the industry that you’re in or have been in.
Step 3: Identify and Write Down the Title(s) of the Person You Would Report To.
Who would you report to? What is their title? Different companies use different titles. Use LinkedIn to research titles and write them down.
Step 4: Make Your Hit List of Target Companies - 10 to 50
This is part guessing, part science, part gut feeling – but make a list. Focus most of your activity around these companies, not applying to jobs that don't meet your requirements. If you want more guidance on how to do this, read Part 2 called " Job Hunting: How to Make a Hit List of Target Companies - Part 2 of 3.
Step 5: Build Your "Touch" Strategy
So you have your hit list of target companies. Now what? Most people only apply to companies IF they have an open position that matches their skill-set. WRONG approach. None of the companies on your hit list may have an open position that matches you. That’s OK! You’re objective now is to create a way to get them to notice you so that when natural attrition occurs, you are the first person the hiring manager or recruiter thinks of to reach out to.
The last thing you want to do is reach out to one of these companies and ask them if they’re hiring. You become the 98% and you want to be the 2%. In marketing, we know that it takes at least 6 to 7 “touch points” before a prospect considers buying your product or service. The same applies when job hunting. Don’t try and “go for the kill” on the first InMail or call. Build a touch strategy that occurs throughout 30 to 90 days with your target audience (listed above).
Ideas for Your Touch Strategy
First, make sure your LinkedIn Profile ROCKS. Write articles (called "posts" on LinkedIn and anyone can!), make sure your summary is well written, your photo looks great, your headline is memorable and your messaging is on point.
To follow the steps in an effective touch strategy, read my article on LinkedIn, " Job Hunting: How to Communicate with Potential Hiring Managers - Part 3 of 3."
The more companies on your target hit list, the higher your odds that you’ll get what we like to call in marketing, a “conversion.” In this case, a conversion would be one of your targets replying to you to let you know that they are about to start looking for a (Insert Your Title Here) and they want to know if you’d be interested in interviewing.
There is a lot more to job hunting and job search strategy, but if you apply the principles I've just shared to what you’re already doing, you’ll see a massive increase in quality inbound activity.
Want a Coach to help you build, manage and execute an effective Job Search Strategy? I can help! Contact me directly to discuss a customized solution based on your specific needs. Best of luck to all of you who are job hunting!