What’s the worst way to look for a job? By waiting for someone to find you. Job boards like Monster and CareerBuilder and social Media such as LinkedIn let us post our resumes, which is a good thing. Some employers will use those tools to recruit employees. However, most employers still expect prospective employees to come to them through networking or by answering a job post.
Posting your resume and waiting is called a passive job search. As the name implies, you’re doing little to find the employer. When you network and respond to job posts, you are conducting an active job search. Job seekers who post and wait often get no calls. Or they wait much longer to get a job than those who apply for jobs and do whatever they can to work their network.
When clients ask me about the best way to look for work, I say they should put a priority on networking while still applying to job posts and identifying companies that need their skills. I do not tell them not to post on job boards, but that action should be a low priority.
LinkedIn is a little different than posting. It’s important to have a good profile because some companies use it to double check your resume. LinkedIn also offers several tools that enhance networking and enable posting for jobs. Learn how to use this tool as part of an active job search.
The most important thing you can do to find a job is to know what you want and work hard to get it through an active job search. If an employer happens across a resume you’ve posted or your LinkedIn profile, call yourself lucky. Every job search involves some kind of luck. The more you look for work in a focused, persistent manner, the luckier you will be.
The latest issue of Inc. magazine has an interesting feature on networking as a way to recruit new employees. Referrals only make up 7% of applicants, but they result in 40% of hires. Similarly 98% of recruiters use LinkedIn, but only 38% of job seekers who use social media to look for work are on that site.
These numbers indicate how the job world is changing. As I’ve said before, we need to practice both active and passive job search methods. The best active way to look for work is to network with a goal of referrals. The best passive way to look for work is LinkedIn. People are still getting job using job boards. However, that path grows more narrow all the time. Use all of the tools in your job search tool box if you want to speed up your search and have more opportunities.
P.S. Inc. has a great video on how to become a master networker.
A client called me recently because she was having problems with her job search. I asked her what she was doing. She targeted four ideal employers and kept applying for jobs with those companies. The problem with this approach is that it is too limited. My simple advice for those who are stuck in their job search is this: Mix it up.
A good job search should touch several points. Almost every job seeker should network, target specific company, and apply to positions on job boards. Some job seekers can add temporary and staffing agencies to this list. Other (higher level professionals) should contact recruiters. Students and career changers are often using internships as a way to gain hands-on experience to put on a resume. The key is to do more than one thing. It’s also good to use different online tools. For example, someone who only looks for jobs on Monster should try CareerBuilder or another job board. I strongly recommend that all professional build a profile on LinkedIn and learn how to use this remarkable tool.
Bottom line: Don’t get stuck doing one thing. Try something new. No two job searches are the same. What worked in the past probably won’t work this time. Stay light on your feet and keep looking for new ways to find your next job.