If you want to find a job in today’s workplace you need an entirely new job search approach.
The trick to finding a job in today’s job market is as counter-intuitive as you can imagine.
Don’t look for a job. Instead, you should be creating your very own personal career job search plan of attack.
Are you or someone you love looking to find a new job, want to change jobs or careers or re-enter the workforce?
If you are and you are looking for a job based on the old passive job search strategies of looking for what’s being advertised, then you are likely having trouble.
The answer to the question “why?” reflects many, MANY deep fundamentally alarming trends associated with today’s job market and the lack of prospects out there that match each of our ideal dream jobs.
First off, even in the best of economies and job markets (which we’re no where close to these days) no more than 10-15% of all available jobs are ever advertised. Positions are being filled by people who know family and/or friends they can hire by looking through their own personal and professional rolodex of contacts to fill those job vacancies. Whether you call it nepotism and cronyism, the cold hard truth is most available jobs go to people who know people that are in a position to hire.
The old ways of job searching are dead. Plain and simply…and they are never coming back.
There are no set in stone guidelines anymore on how to conduct an EFFECTIVE job search, other than you have to be persistent, willing to embrace constant change, embrace taking calculated risks, explore all your options, and most urgently of all…
…do NOT equate who you are with the job title of the position(s) you’ve held in the past! most of the job seekers I coach continue to define who they are professionally by the title of their last job. That is so 20th century!
In order to achieve success in today’s global contract workplace, you CANNOT conduct a job search strategy with passive approaches like applying to jobs online or going through gatekeepers, i.e. recruiters, staffing agencies, or Human Resources departments. These strategies don’t work. These gatekeepers don’t care anything about you, your wants, needs or career aspirations.
In today’s “NEW NORMAL” the average American goes through 8-10 job changes BEFORE THEY REACH 35. People between positions may look for up to TWO YEARS, just to find a contract assignment that lasts a year or less.
Meanwhile, companies are sitting on huge piles of cash but are unwilling to hire full-time workers because of their uncertainty surrounding their future business prospects due to the constantly changing industry landscape they face through shifting Federal and state business regulations, global competition, technological advancements, and changes in the workforce.
Rather than searching for a job by defining yourself VERY narrowly within the confining straight jacket of a job title, you MUST learn how to sell yourself (you are a “PRODUCT” as cold as that sounds) bundled into your collective work experience, education, skills, volunteer work, community engagement, hobbies, interests, certifications, professional training, language proficiency, experience studying/traveling abroad.
In today’s job market you must convey that you are a set of “solutions” to the specific challenges facing specific industries and the organizations in those industries that you WANT to work at.
I teach a search methodology based on actively engaging no more (or less) than 18-32 organizations you want to work at AT ANY ONE TIME. Here’s why.
Research shows that 18-32 firms is the maximum number of organizations that a job seeker can effectively target at any given time during their job search.
But how do you pick your 18-32 firms to go after? Start by identifying a short list of 3-4 industries that you are interested in working in.
Next, find 6-8 organizations in each of these industries whose culture matches your values, beliefs, and possess the type of culture that are attractive to you and you want to work at.
Then, determine what you want to do within those organizations. I am NOT talking about you selecting a job title. Rather, define the role that you will create for yourself there that encompasses all of your core competencies that would unleash your full potential and enable you to be fully engaged there.
Then after you define a golden opportunity for you in these organizations, find the senior most person in the Department/division of that place that you would be reporting to in the desired role.
Next up…research, research, research!
Find out as much as you can about that individual’s background and experience. Research the organization, their key products and services, the management team, their key clients, recent competitor acquisitions, mergers, their intellectual property portfolio (patents, trademarks, copyrights) recent contracts they were awarded, their partners, vendors, suppliers, etc.
Sounds like a LOT of work, no? Why bother taking this approach?
Because few of the THOUSANDS of your potential competitors are doing this. They are still applying to jobs online and reaching out to Human Resources Departments or chasing down recruiters who never respond to them, don’t give them the complete picture, mislead them, and do not care if these job seekers find employment or not.Doing all of this research requires you to take a strategic approach to your job search networking, so you can build a social and professional network of leads that you keep track of on a job search tracking sheet.
Find the people in those 3-4 industries who you would be reporting to in a job that doesn’t exist that you would be IDEALLY suited to achieve success in, then you need to attend every trade association meeting, event, conference, panel, networking event that THESE PEOPLE GO TO.
At the same time you are doing your research, you will also need to expand your professional brand online using social media and become a subject matter expert in the fields you want to break into.You should be writing articles, case studies, white papers on all appropriate fields related to your industries of interest.
Once you know as much about these organizations and individuals as you can, you will need to determine (and tell them) how you WILL (not can!) provide a set of solutions to the business challenges they face. Specifically, you need to be able to show them how you are going to help them in THREE very specific ways:
1. Make them money;
2. Save them money; or
3. Improve their operations…to make them money/save them money.
It does not matter if you are in sales role or not, you have GOT to be able to show them tangibly and with examples from your past how you will achieve one or more of the above.
Write a call script targeted to address how you can provide a set of solutions to their top challenges, then pick up the phone and call the person you identified that you would be reporting to and sell yourself.
Your goal for every call is to schedule a face-to-face to have a deeper dive conversation with them.
The Holiday season is fast approaching. Many of your competitor job seekers will slow down or take the last six weeks of the year off.
Not you! The people you have identified that you want to target will have a lot of down time these next 2 months and will be much more willing (and able)
to meet with you over a cup of coffee to hear how you propose helping them and their organizations overcome their challenges.
Good luck! Remember to be successful you have to be contrarian, do what others AREN’T doing, be persistent, take risks, pursue the paths least traveled and create your own destiny!
Here’s to a great end of year. You can and WILL find your dream job IF…you take this unconventional approach.