Finding a Job
Now that your Job Search Plan is in place. You’ve created a solid, marketable brand; and you know what you do and don’t want in your next role. In your hand, you have a professional, succinct resume that highlights what sets you apart from the crowd. You’ve pinpointed the role you want, the companies that are appealing, and what you can reasonably expect in compensation. Now you’re ready to hit the pavement… or click the mouse.
Hiring has predominantly become a digital endeavor; but don’t underestimate the power of a good handshake, a face-to-face meeting, and small talk. Keep in mind, 75% of today’s jobs are filled through networking, referrals & connections; 10-15% are filled through online job postings; and approximately 10-15% are filled by executive job search firms & headhunters. This is why we recommend a three-pronged approach to find your next job.
Networking – the #1 resource for finding a job
Because some people are more comfortable behind a computer, while others prefer to make eye contact, both online and in-person networking can be effective if done right. The key to productive in-person networking is to look at it as socializing, rather than simply looking for a job. You have to be willing to help others first if you are going to rely on them to help you. Joining industry organizations is an excellent way to meet peers and potential employers with whom you already have something in common. Research local networking groups and regularly attend their events. It’s tempting to attend an event only once, making a rash decision about future meetings from this organization. However, be sure to give them more than one chance. If, after several events, this group is not the right fit for you, try something new. Making networking personal rather than just professional is another way to make great connections – having some fun along the way.
Online networking is also extremely valuable if handled correctly. Thanks to the great connector, LinkedIn, you can connect with anyone from your fifth-grade teacher to your current employer. However, the breadth of connections available can make it difficult to know where to start. We suggest beginning with a list of current and active contacts, former colleagues and bosses, and fellow college alumni. Make sure you are connected to them through LinkedIn as well. Use your list of target companies to identify potential contacts and by extension, prospective employers. Research those companies to find the hiring managers, HR directors, internal recruiters, department heads, and even the person who has the job you want.
Now that your connections are bursting at the seams, it’s time to leverage your LinkedIn network. There are those who actively participate on LinkedIn by posting their own unique content, sharing other’s content, participating in discussions, and making introductions. Then there are those who simply have an account they occasionally pop-into. Guess which one is growing their viable network and meeting their next employer? Use LinkedIn for what it was designed – connecting people who otherwise would have no contact. Invite colleagues of colleagues to join your network. As we stated above, find employees of the companies you want to join and take the first step to getting your name on their radar.
Order your copy of our book on how to use LinkedIn to find a job.
Job Boards, Job Postings, and Company Websites
Job boards like LinkedIn and company websites are the fastest way to see who’s hiring. LinkedIn is the premier place to look for a job. Its members span the globe, giving you 24-hour access to the latest job openings. Another benefit of using LinkedIn’s job board is its connectivity. You can simultaneously identify open jobs in your industry or role while getting instantaneous access to information about the organization through their Company Page and find any connections you may have to the organization.
Company websites also offer an up-to-the-minute listing of open positions. The size of a company is important here. It may be more challenging to connect with a person in a larger organization. Most job postings include a portal for resume submissions. On the other hand, these larger companies have robust Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) which carefully screen those submissions, quickly identifying and flagging viable candidates through their matching algorithms.
The unfortunate thing about the abundance of online job postings is that the applicant pool can be enormous. This creates a huge backlog of resumes for HR professionals and hiring managers. Typically, fewer than 10% of the online applications that you complete will ever get a response, so don’t get frustrated or disheartened if you aren’t hearing back from the company. It’s up to you to follow up every 7-10 days with the employer if you haven’t received an email follow-up or acknowledgment of your application being received.
Working with an executive job search firm
We wouldn’t be a successful Executive Search Firm if we didn’t sing our own praises, once in a while. The value of an executive recruiter or headhunter is undeniable. They have the inside track on open jobs that have not yet been made public; and their working- relationship with the hiring manager makes them privy to the specifics of the ideal candidate. Connect with reputable executive recruiters & headhunters on LinkedIn or in person. Make sure you discuss their exec search process and what you can expect from them. Like with any other relationship, communication is key when working with an executive recruiter. Following the executive job search firm will give you real-time access to any searches they may be working on. Ideally, you will want to build a list of 3-4 executive recruiting firms that you can rely on – some will be geographically focused, some will work in one industry, and others (like us) will focus on specific functions. Don’t forget! The job specs they post reveal a lot about the types of competencies and experience hiring managers are seeking. These will help you tailor your resume and add to your own LinkedIn profile.
Read our article on how an executive recruiter can help you find a job