This is not a recipe. It is a collection of steps/actions that have been derived from many years of experience as both a recruiter and a job seeker, and as such provides a source of ideas that you may wish to build into your job search. Remember that above all, you need to create an approach that suits your own aspirations and circumstances.
You Do Not Have a Job Search Problem – you have a business problem!!
Have a business mindset, the skills and approach required to secure an employment contract are very similar, if not the same, as securing a contract with a customer.
Therefore take a business approach – apply the principles of business development (strategic selling) and negotiation to your job search (using the same set of skills you use or you see others use at work). This will provide you with more confidence and keep you on familiar ground.
Define Your Offering
Create a job specification by writing down the tangible /intangible things that are important to you in selecting your next role, things you want and things you do not want in your next role e.g. location, the commute, job title, challenge, career opportunity, culture of the organisation, training and development, salary and other benefits.
Writing this down gives you the power to say NO as well as yes and defines where you should look and who to target. It will make you sound clear in your thinking and you will impress as someone who knows what they want and as someone who is not prepared just to accept anything. Essentially each step in the recruitment process is akin to negotiation.
You must be clear in your mind what you will yes or no to…never go into an interview without the ability to say no.
Get Your Network in Order
80% of opportunities do not make it to the open market (job boards, recruiters etc.).
We believe, as a career management tool, there is no single activity more important than building and enhancing your professional network. You have more connections than you think. Start with immediate family and work your way out from there. Colleagues, or former colleagues, friends, professionals from whom you buy products and/or services, industry contacts, university and school classmates, etc.
If you have a LinkedIn account make sure it is up to date and conveys the right information – you may want to show that you are interested in opportunities.
Use your network to:
- Identify organisations that suit your job goal
- Find out who makes the recruitment decisions within those organisations
- Find out what’s happening in the industry sector you are interested in.
Stay on Message
You need to be clear in communicating your job goal. This is best done by letting your contacts know the specific role you are seeking – ideally a job title that exists in the business they are in or that you know they are familiar with e.g. “I am looking for a Project Engineering role in the Oil and Gas sector.”
Once they have this information they are more likely to think quickly and creatively about how they can best help you in your desired role.
Do the Research
Develop a list of target companies where your skills and experience are the best match, or are the places you really would like to work. Then find ways to approach senior managers who control business plans, strategies budgets, i.e. those who are first to identify the need for new people to meet changing business needs.
Take a Hard Look at Your Resume
Very few resumes are as good as many of us think they are. It is important to focus on your achievements and skills. These are the indicators of your capability to perform. How and why you delivered these achievements are best conveyed in interviews and discussions, otherwise too much detail will blur your offering.
Employers look for candidates who have the capability to do what they need doing.
Be Realistic About What You Apply For
When starting a new search, many times people think “it’s totally a numbers game. The more resumes I send out, the better my chances”. While there is some truth to this, it’s still about finding the right match. Our advice here is simple: If you have a 80% match between job on offer and your job specification, then then apply for the position.
If possible always phone before you write to determine if the job matches your specification, ascertain the key criteria for the role and start building a relationship with the employer/recruiter.
Keep efficient records
When looking for employment ensure you keep efficient records of the roles you have applied for. Keep the job advertisement, your application and any notes or details relating to the role and the names of people who you have spoken to in relation to the role.