I come across many experienced professionals who are currently facing a situation where they are jobless or are employed but searching for one for long and it results in making their thinking hazy. It is understandable that being jobless and/or job search is painful and one feels the desperation to just get the job!! But it is important to keep the spirit high and handle it just like any other challenge in life. Also, it is critical that one applies a job search strategy instead of an approach of simply sending numerous applications or calling up people known to you. Let me help you with some key steps you can take to manage your job search successfully and land up with a job. You may motivate yourself to take these steps by remembering which pain is greater; the pain of being jobless or putting in structured efforts.
1] Target list of prospective employers:
This is the starting point. Make a list of all prospective employer companies (big, medium and small). Next list down the names and designations of the hiring managers, the influencers, your friends & ex colleagues who work in these prospective organisations and the relevant HR professionals (LinkedIn is a good source). The list should include both companies where there are active jobs and also companies which do not have current open positions. There are interesting jobs to be explored with smaller/mid sized firms which have a strong business foundation.
2] Target list of Recruitment Agencies:
Draw up a list of the ones which are handling the prospective hiring employer companies and the names of recruiters within the Agency. Please remember that an Agency makes money by placing you. If you can demonstrate that you bring value to their clients, there is no reason why a Recruitment firm will not present your case strongly. But it takes effort on your part to do homework on the requirement of the jobs with the agency and accordingly present your candidature. A general approach is a strict no no.
3] Networking through LinkedIn:
Develop a well written LinkedIn profile with interesting success stories.
- Send invitations to all the relevant people. The trick is to send your communication with a very brief cover note appreciating any aspect of the professional or his/her company which impresses you and then highlighting the value you get to the table. That attracts attention of the reader and gets a positive response.
- On a regular basis sharing interesting industry or product related findings with Hiring managers is a good idea. This will help your brand recall through value addition and does not make you seem desperate.
4] Fine tune your CV on job portals:
Update your CV on portals by introducing the right keywords. The key words have to be in line with what the domain requirement is in terms of hard skills. This ensures that your CV rises to the top whenever a hiring manager searches online for candidates. While this is only a starting point, it is important from the notice-ability point of view.
5] Cover letter:
A general cover letter will not be effective and defeats the purpose of motivating the reader to open your Resume. It has to be customised as per the requirement of the job addressing the business pain point.
6] Customised Resume:
Your Resume needs to tell success stories. Focus more on achievements and less on responsibilities and make it customised as per the job requirement. For 10 different jobs, there need to be 10 tweaked Resumes. Please remember – “One size does not fit all”.
7] Cold Cover letter:
This is like cold calling in sales. A customised letter needs to be sent even to those prospective employers where there are no active vacancies. How will that help you may ask? When you address the pain point and demonstrate value, there are chances that you would get a call. It is an approach to widen the net.
8] Networking offline:
Most people limit the use of networking to either few friends of ex-colleagues or ex-bosses. But one needs to expand the net so wide that he/she reaches out to the prospective hiring managers, decision makers as well as the influencers. The following avenues need to be explored:
A] Industry Events and Seminars – Attending them and exchanging V Cards helps in getting to know the names and also basic details about the key people in the prospective hiring companies.
B] Meeting hiring managers/decision makers – Connecting with influencers known to you and requesting them to introduce you to the prospective hiring managers is a good move. Meeting the right person improves your chances of getting the job and if not, it adds to your knowledge about the market requirement.
C] Recruitment Specialists – Talking to or meeting Recruitment agencies which specialize in your industry segments.
9] Freelance consulting assignments:
It is very important to be engaged during the interim period when you are seeking a job. Through your networking efforts, you can offer your services as a Business consultant to smaller firms on a performance-based compensation (no fixed salary). Money is not important at this stage as much as continuing to hone your skills & managing perceptions. Assuming the period of wait gets longer (which is the case for most senior level positions), you would be seen as an individual who is always adding value and possessing a positive attitude. The career gap is also not perceived negatively. Also, it opens up doors for you for future assignments.
10] Hard Copy:
It’s a better approach to send across a hard copy of your application besides mailing a soft copy. A neatly typed application with easy to read font helps attract attention. In this day and age of soft copies and social media, a hard copy makes you stand out. Old is gold 🙂
11] Elevator pitch during a follow-up call:
One needs to make the elevator pitch while calling the hiring manager or the HR manager as a follow up to your application. Within a minute you need to attract the attention of the employer by striking the right chord to ensure that your chances of getting called for an interview increase multifold. It means you practice the sales pitch before your call.
Taking these above steps will certainly increase your chances of getting a job. Last but not least, you need to remember that you are valuable and just because you have been jobless does not take away from you the expertise and years of successful performance you have demonstrated.