|Conducting an Effective Job Search|
Putting Your Job Search in High Gear
Once you have a resume and cover letter, you want to share these documents as widely as possible. Techniques include the following:
Locating Job Listings
Job listings on the Internet are extensive. There are hundreds of job board sites, some of which list jobs in many categories or fields and some are specialized in only one area. For example, medreps.com exclusively lists jobs for pharmaceutical and medical sales positions, but careerbuilder.com lists jobs in almost every occupational category. Right now, two of the best sites are indeed.com and simplyhired.com. Both are aggregate sites that compile listings from many other job boards, and in so doing, have extensive listings.
However, know that job board sites charge employers to post jobs, and for that reason, along with a company deciding it doesn't want that much publicity (or mail) about a job posting, not every company chooses to post to these boards. Instead, they may simply post a job opening on their own corporate website. Therefore, on a regular basis, you should search the corporate sites of organizations that interest you. Linkup.com (different than LinkedIn.com) is a site that scans company websites and compiles their job postings. Like the aggregate job boards, indeed.com and simplyhired.com, this can be a useful, time-saving tool for you.
There are also job listings on the websites of professional and trade organizations. So, if you are interested in a job in the insurance industry, for example, look at the website of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (naifa.org).
You can, and should, also look at Craig's List (craigslist.org) and Twitter. Craig's list is hit-or-miss. If you check it a few times and don't see the kind/quality of jobs you are looking for, chances are this will not be a worthwhile site for your job search. Twitter, however, may be more promising. Companies are using Twitter to broadcast job openings. You can also use Twitter to “follow” recruiters, companies, and people in your field. Try search.twitter.com, or twitjobsearch.com but you will need to check it every day because content, job related, and otherwise, is not static on Twitter and is quickly lost. You can use socialoomph.com to help you keep up with searching Twitter every day, but the set up is a bit involved.Facebook can be another tool, but privacy concerns loom big. If you “like” a company, you may receive some useful company news, even about job openings, but make sure you appreciate who can see your posts or your page. Chances are you would not want a potential employer to view your page or posts, so opening up a Facebook line of communication could be problematic unless you are fastidious in keeping your Facebook page entirely professional.
Targeted Job Search
Did you know that many great jobs are never advertised? They are never on a recruiter's desk and never posted on the Internet. That is because those great jobs get filled before any of that needs to happen. They are snatched up quickly by people who made the right connections ahead of everyone else. Therefore, my advice to you is that you need to be one of those people who make the right connections ahead of the pack.
The strategies I am advocating are frequently referred to as networking and targeted introductions. Career experts agree that these are the most successful job search strategies with 60-70% of the job-seeking population finding employment using these methods.
The premise of networking is that you know someone who knows someone who can introduce you to many of the employers you would like to meet. As such, networking involves telling many people you are in the job market and looking for leads. Begin your networking strategy by perusing your electronic social media contacts on LinkedIn and/or Facebook. In addition, write down the names of all your other acquaintances. Include relatives, friends, neighbors, your hairstylist, people at your gym, professors, physicians, dentists, fellow commuters, and colleagues (only those that you can really trust). Make this list as large as possible. We will call these people your primary contacts. After you have created your list, call, visit, or send an electronic communication to each of your primary contacts. Tell them about your job search and ask for leads.
Example of what you can say to your primary contacts:
"John, I was wondering if you could help me out. I'm looking for a job in corporate training and I' m targeting companies in the financial services industry. Do you happen to know anyone who does corporate training?…What about anyone who works in the financial services industry?"
As your primary contacts provide names of others, contact these new folks who become additional (secondary) contacts.
At a certain point, depending on the situation and on your personal style, you will switch from calling people to sending your cover letter and resume, which makes it a more formal job search inquiry. Imperative to this whole process is keeping good records of who you have contacted and when. Doing so will enable you to evaluate if you are reaching out to enough people (volume is important) as well as tracking your activity for follow-up with employers.
The approach called targeted introductions is closely related to networking but gives you the opportunity to contact companies you are interested in working for, even if there are no advertised job openings and even if you can't identify a single insider. It starts with developing a "hit list" of employers to target. You then send your resume and very compelling cover letter directly to them and follow-up with a telephone call.
There are several resources you should explore to help you develop your "hit list" of potential employers. I like the not-for-profit site, dmoz.org. You can think of dmoz.org as a directory of the Internet. It organizes a tremendous volume of commercial websites into tiered categories, which you can use to hone in on the type of employers you seek. As an example, if you were looking for a job in pharmaceutical manufacturing, you would start on the first page of dmoz.org and select the category "health," since that is the closest matching category provided on that first page. Then you would select "medicine" as the best subcategory of the choices next presented. Then "pharmacology", then "pharmaceutical companies", and finally, "manufacturing." If you do that, you will land on a page that provides company names and website links to over 250 different pharmaceutical companies that do manufacturing! It can sometimes take a little trial and error to find what you are looking for, but you could certainly hit pay dirt here.
Also, reference librarians can be very helpful in finding employer information. They are most able to assist you if
you can be specific about your needs. Do so by saying something like this, "I am looking to develop a list of
employers in the advertising industry within the metro New York area." Reference librarians will direct you to
business directories, which are useful for this type of research. Most use the North American Industry Classification
System (NAICS) system, which assigns a code based on the business' chief industry. Therefore, all companies within
an industry will have the same NAICS code. This makes it easier to cross-reference other directories. Check out:
Finally, other good resources for identifying companies or organizations to target include trade publications specific to your field, and for Long Island job seekers, The Book of Lists and a few other directory-type publications created by The Long Island Business News, www.libn.com. Your local library will have those publications.
The list you develop should include addresses and (ideally) the names of the best people to send your resume to within those organizations. It will also be helpful to collect some information about these businesses. Such information can be used to customize a cover letter or help prepare you for an interview.
The targeted introduction strategy has the great benefit of allowing your resume to arrive solo, not in a pile with dozens or hundreds of others, which is what always happens in response to an advertised job opening. Though your resume and cover letter will sometimes arrive when there is no opening, sometimes there will indeed be one. When that happens, you become the front-runner. Additionally, even if there are no current openings, your quality resume and cover letter will surely be saved for future reference. Sounds great? Well, there is one catch. The catch is that targeted mailings can be a lot of work and you will need to invest some serious time and energy.
LinkedIn Profiles have now become essential in the professional world and should be considered mandatory in a job search. The core of LinkedIn is that it has created an enormous web of interconnected people who have shared information about their professional backgrounds. A little bit like an online résumé a little bit like a database of job information, LinkedIn is really something quite amazing! Use it to your advantage to stay connected in your field, learn about companies or organizations, find out who the insiders at those companies are, and get introduced to people who can help you advance your career. Joining one or more industry/professional groups on LinkedIn can assist you in doing many of the things I just listed, including building your visibility. In addition, if you have ever lost contact with a former colleague or supervisor and now wish you hadn't (perhaps you need a recommendation?), you have a good shot at finding those old contacts using LinkedIn. You can also use the site to directly search for jobs by keyword, location, or name of company. LinkedIn is so powerful and important that in a recent survey, 68% of recruiters said they used LinkedIn to find job candidates. That percentage will only go up.
Careers by Choice, Inc. can help you by writing or substantially editing your LinkedIn profile and providing other advice on how to use the tool in your job search. Your profile needs to be extremely well-written and should not be a copy of your résumé text. This is because an employer or recruiter is ultimately going to read both your LinkedIn profile and your résumé. The writing must be consistent, yet different enough, to warrant the reader's attention. As with résumés, there are key words that are essential and you must use them prominently, yet naturally. It is most effective and enticing if your profile does not read like a marketing piece to promote you for a new job, which is not ideal in any case, but can be truly problematic if you are currently employed.
Recruiters (headhunters, employment agencies, search firms)
Success rates for obtaining work through recruiters vary tremendously depending on the position and industry you are pursuing. Individuals in fields enjoying high employer demand will have much more success utilizing recruiters than those in occupations where employees are more plentiful. Additionally, you are likely to experience greater success with recruiters if you are currently employed and/or at the managerial or executive level. One clear exception to this, however, relates to temporary agencies, which routinely work with junior level administrative people.
Though it may seem counterintuitive, recruiters want to find you and not vice versa. They will do this by posting positions they are trying to fill on various job boards or other Internet sites. In that way, they will invite you to send your résumé for consideration. They also use the search capabilities of LinkedIn and the Internet job boards to find candidates. You should keep in mind that recruiters are salespeople, not career counselors. They are not interested in helping you find a job in the least. They are interested in you only if you match the qualifications sought by the employer who has agreed to pay them for finding the right employee. Therefore, you will typically not hear from them unless you are someone who meets all the requirements of a position they are currently trying to fill.
Now having shared that, it gets a bit more complicated, as there are some exceptions to the above. If you are seeking temporary work, or a job as an administrative assistant, you should contact employment agencies proactively. I would also advise entry-level accounting professionals to reach out and contact Robert Half Finance (roberthalffinance.com) as they are recruiters who specialize in accounting placements.Several large employment agencies are located in the Melville, Long Island business corridor. For your convenience, they are listed here.
A Pep Talk on Job Search
Know that job searching is inherently frustrating and time consuming and some of what happens, or doesn't happen, is beyond your power to control (such as competing with another applicant who has a better background for the job in question). However, work hard at what you can impact, such as your overall knowledge and proficiency levels, your proper targeting of employers that may need you, your persistence in following-up, and your interviewing skills.
Stay positive and focused and believe in yourself. Press on in the face of turndowns, which are experienced by virtually all job seekers.
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