Funny what people do in a job search. My strategy and tactics where like yours, probably:
- Get my resume done (critical, since you have to have a resume before you can apply for postings)
- Find openings on job boards and through company websites
- Apply for job openings. All day long.
- Wait for the recruiter or hiring manager to get back with me.
- Keep waiting, keep applying.
I’m guessing this is what MOST job seekers are doing. Can I tell you a secret? THIS DOESN’T WORK AS GOOD AS YOU MIGHT THINK!
In your job search you HAVE TO be different. Why? Because that one posting might get hundreds and hundreds of applications. When you apply online you are one of hundreds… what is really going to set you apart?
I learned that you must network your way into a company. If you can find the hiring manager, that’s great. If you can figure out how to develop relationships with people in the company, do “informational interviews,” determine their problems, and help them understand why you are the person to solve them, OUTSIDE of the interview process, that’s what you need to do.
You must have a different job search. Because doing a job search the same way everyone else does it is a frustrating experience. Do yours differently.
Here’s a great blog post by networking expert Thom Singer: Two Quick Starbucks Stories. In the first story Thom shares what former coworkers did for him, out of the blue, “just because.” Imagine what Thom thought of them after they did this very thoughtful thing. This is the type of relationship building you should do in your job search, as it puts you on people’s mind in a way that many people aren’t. I’m not saying you should buy everyone coffee and deliver it to them, or that you should do this at your target companies or with interviewers (might look like a schmoozer). But what can you do to be more thoughtful and nurture relationships you already have?
The second story is about the Starbucks employee who gave Thom’s daughter free hot chocolate as she was selling girl scout cookies. The employee had the power to give, at the cost of less than $2, which made a huge, significant impact on this little girl. Thom says it made a difference for her the entire day, and I’m sure she talked it up not just to her cookie customers that day but to her friends in school, and to her fellow girl scouts. But I bet she remembers that for a long, long time. Starbucks just extended their brand into a little girl’s mind, which I think is really cool.
Both stories are about doing the right thing, being more thoughtful, and even perhaps breaking some rules (or at least, protocol).
These are the things you must think about doing in your job search. No, it’s not as rewarding at the end of the day as, say, applying to a dozen jobs online. But you are impacting decision makers and influencers in a way that you otherwise won’t be doing. Think about having a different job search, and you’ll have lasting results (even beyond landing the job).