Tag Archive | "job campaign"

You Don’t Really Want that New Job, Do You?

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No, this isn’t a reverse-psychology article.  It’s a wake up call, as well as truly sound advice, for any and all seeking gainful employment in this miserable economy.

You Don’t Really Want that New Job, Do You?

After reading this title, you’re no doubt unleashing a string of invectives at me.  How dare I assume that you’ve done less than 100% in trying to nail down a job?  Well, I dare to, because the ugly truth is, you must put in 200% of a concentrated effort in this economy, and odds are, you haven’t done that.

Sure, you’ve spruced up your resume and tailored your cover letters.  You’ve posted your career documents online, on the mega-boards and the niche boards, as well as ladders.com, linkedin.com, and similar sites.  You’ve accessed the “hidden job market” and pounded the pavement until your shoe leather was about as thin as your wallet.  You’ve researched your target companies peripherally (usually via perusal of their official websites); you’ve secured interviews that seemed to have gone very well.   And yet, you have received no feasible job offers.  Every night, as you crawl into bed and fear yet another bout of watching the clock in the cold, pre-dawn hours, your mind churns with one single question, “What am I doing wrong?”

As Sherlock Holmes said to Dr. Watson during a particularly puzzling case, “If we exhaust the probable, what must remain is the improbable.”   That is sound advice to any serious job seeker.  If you have exhausted all the plausible (read: usual) tactics, consider what you may have judged to be implausible — or what you have never considered at all!

Any company, any organization is comprised primarily of its hierarchy: C-level leaders, directors, middle management, and salaried, hourly-wage, and/or commissioned employees.  It may also consist of distributors and an external sales force.  But at heart, a company is its people.   Therefore, you must determine the answers to these questions:

  • Someone started the firm; who was this person?  What was his or her vision?  How has that vision changed over the years?
  • How has the company grown — and more importantly, why did it grow?
  • Who is its competition?
  • Who are its employees?
  • Where is the company going?
  • How has it suffered in the economy?
  • What steps has it taken to stay afloat and competitive?  Has it launched new initiatives, new product-service offerings, or has it simply reduced its staff and closed locations? (Hint: those who have simply tightened their belts do not represent your best interests as potential employers, even if their nearest location saves you $100 a week in gas!)

If you truly apply yourself and get your hands on some company literature, if you conduct in-depth research, incorporating Business Week and industry-specific journals into your exploration, you’ll emerge with some of the answers, but not all of them.  And you need these answers in order to present yourself to the hiring authorities as a highly desirable employee!

So … how do you get these answers?   

Our answer: emulate Sherlock Holmes!  In arriving at the resolutions to his cases, the greatest detective who never lived knew exactly who to question, as well as when and how.  As we’re dealing with companies and not a corpus delecti, you’ll need to do a bit of pre-research in order to communicate with those in the know.

We don’t suggest that you stalk anyone, but do be observant.  Note where the employees of your target firms hang out.  Note the establishments that they patronize, particularly the places where they eat and knock back a cold one after a long hard day at work.   When the whistle blows at 5, 5:30, or 6 PM, where do the majority of workers head if they are not headed home?  Inquiries at local restaurants and bars, sweetened with tips, can point you in the right direction.

Once you’re there, strike up conversations with people (the workers).  You don’t need to tell them you’re looking for a job; you can say that you have something temporary and feel you’re in line for a better offer.   If the employees don’t view you as a threat, chances are, they’ll open up to you — especially if you can meet them in sports bars, local pubs, or informal dining establishments with at least one big-screen TV.

You might also meet them in those storefront type gyms where parents gather to take their children for some quality interaction.  Weekends are usually most conducive for these types of meetings.

Like Sherlock, use discretion in your questioning.  Don’t make all of the questions about you; engage the people you meet in genuine conversation, leading the talk toward their jobs: their companies, their employers, their product development, marketing, and operational tactics.  Share information about what you have learned via your own work experience (again, use discretion!)  You’ll come away with a wealth of information that you will not find elsewhere: information that will help you tremendously on interviews. 

How to Conduct a Successful Job Search

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Job Search

In today’s depressed economic environment, finding a job, any job, is often a Herculean task.  Finding the right opportunity – the one that brings with it the right compensation, benefits, location, advancement potential, and balance between personal and professional lives – may be likened to finding the proverbial “needle in a haystack.”  If you want to find that “needle,” you need to have an organized, step-by-step approach to achieve your objective.

At one time, an effective job search entailed simply checking the employment classified section of the area’s Sunday newspapers (as in the image above) and responding to advertised openings.  Today, such an approach seems parochial at best and patently ineffective at worst.

Today’s job search, if one is seeking the right position, is akin to a marketing campaign.  If you were planning a product marketing campaign, you would establish a budget and determine the allocation and mix of media you would employ to transmit your marketing message.  The exact nature and content of your message aside, you would consider all the available media channels – print, broadcast, Web, outdoor, etc. – and determine how to structure your campaign to optimize its effectiveness within your budgetary constraints.

Planning a job search is similar.  You need to consider how much time and effort you have to devote to it.  If you are unemployed, seeking employment may well be your full-time occupation.  If, however, you are working, you need to determine the time that you will allot to your search on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.

Having established a time-budget, you can now proceed to determine how you will tackle maximizing your exposure within the job market.  If this is beginning to sound like an involved process, consider that the quality of your plan and job search will, in most cases, define the quality of your results.

And so, you will need to establish a plan to uncover as many relevant job opportunities as possible.  This plan should take into account the fact that, in the typical calendar year, job openings are relatively evenly split between those that are posted or advertised and those that are not.

If you consider published openings, your resources include newspapers, trade publications, recruiters who advertise openings, and of course, Internet job boards – both general and niche.  Therefore, you will want to designate some of your time and efforts to uncovering openings via each of these sources.  You will need to plan to check newspaper employment classifieds as well as opportunities listed in applicable trade publications.  You can research and identify contingent fee recruiters who specialize in your employment category and contact them.  Ultimately, you will want to post your resume on major and specialty job boards and set up those email alerts that will notify you of new job listings that meet criteria that you will establish.

Now, consider those opportunities that are neither posted nor advertised.  These opportunities will be more difficult to uncover, but more potentially rewarding if identified since these opportunities will have far fewer applicants.  One way to find such opportunities is through networking.  You will need to contact people whom you know that may be of assistance in your job search, as well as establish contacts with others whom you may not know but with whom you may have some connection (alumni of the college from which you graduated, members of an organization to which you belong, etc.).  Participation in networking sites (like LinkedIn) and social networking media (including FaceBook and Twitter) may help you to expand your network of contacts beyond your immediate circle.

Another way to identify unadvertised opportunities is via keeping abreast with business news.  Any business event, positive or negative, usually results in changes in the human capital requirements of the organizations affected.  In such instances, you can research the company’s organization and select appropriate management personnel to whom you will draft and send a letter acknowledging the business event and suggesting your relevant qualifications and prospective benefits to their organization. 

A third approach to reaching the unadvertised job market is blasting or mass mailing your resume.  While this approach usually generates a very low return rate, it only takes one employer contact for you to secure rewarding employment.

Lastly, contingent fee recruiters – the true headhunters – may be researched and contacted in the hope that they may be currently seeking a candidate like yourself.  As in the case of resume blasting or mass mailing, expect a low rate of return for your efforts in this area.

As you can see, developing and conducting an effective job campaign in today’s market is both complicated and time-consuming.  If you develop and execute a comprehensive plan to optimize your employment opportunities, however, you will have significantly improved your chances of securing the right position.

Summertime and Your Job Search

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Summertime and the living is easy; that is, unless you happen to be unemployed and searching for a job.  In that case, you are tortured and your level of anxiety grows daily.

In job hunting and recruiting circles, it has long been axiomatic that the periods between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day and between Memorial Day and Labor Day represent the least probable times of the year to secure employment.  And, if one considers the circumstantial evidence, that supposition rings true.  Since achieving employment today involves multiple interviews with decision-makers at various levels of the potential employing organization, opportunities to arrange these interviews in a timely fashion are limited by vacations, holidays, days off, and hiring manager preoccupation with non-business matters.

Yet, these times of the year do present more than just a glimmer of hope to the serious job seeker, because less motivated job candidates will often refrain from pursuing employment opportunities for the very reasons enumerated above.  This means that for those who either from desperation or design actively seek employment during these periods, there will be significantly less competition than during the traditionally more abundant job hunting seasons of the year.

To maximize opportunities during the summertime, as well as at all times of the year, job hunters require a plan to penetrate all areas of the proverbial job market, including both published and unpublished opportunities, and superior marketing materials in the form of resumes, cover letters, and follow-up letters.  With a viable plan to market themselves effectively and job hunting materials of impeccable quality, serious job seekers can utilize the summer season to their advantage in gaining job market exposure and securing employment while many potential candidates sit on the sidelines.

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