One of my clients recently said people won’t need resumes soon. He had read “something on the Internet” that said employers would “find” 80-90% of employees on LinkedIn or through profiles on job boards. The problem with this kind of thinking is that it leads to a passive job search, waiting for a job to find you rather than looking actively to find a job.
I don’t buy the claim that there will come a time where most hiring will come through recruiting. There are two problems with this approach. First, recruiters would spend a lot of time having to weed through people who are in jobs and don’t want to move. Second, what would happen to salaries? If employees knew employers had to come to them, they could ask for more money. Under the current employers have the ball in their court. They can set the terms of employment, especially if the person they are interviewing is unemployed or anxious to leave his or her current job.
My biggest problems with stories like the one my client read is that they give the wrong idea about how to look for a job. Executives and professionals at the top of their fields should work with recruiters. They are most likely to be found on LinkedIn. For the rest of us, a good job search must be active. Following the great advice of Richard Nelson Bolles, I recommend using at least three ways to look for work. For most people, that means networking, responding to posted jobs, and pursuing jobs with companies that you most want to work for. LinkedIn is a great tool for doing all of these things. Think of it as a resource for an active job search. If someone finds your profile and calls you for an interview, that’s a bit of good luck. Don’t count on it. Stay active and manage your career. That’s the best way to find a new job.
A client recently told me that he was checking several major job boards for openings. He asked what else he could do. I asked about networking, which he was doing. Then I asked if he was checking the websites of companies he wanted to work for. He wasn’t doing this. Can you assume that the company you want to work for is posting on job boards? Are you looking at the job boards where they are posting?
Checking company websites is also a good way to learn more about your industry. The more you know about your employment market, the easier it is to network and target the best employers. There is no magic trick that will let you find a good job. What work in your most recent job search probably won’t work in the next one. Try to find different ways to look for work. Better still, build the kind of knowledge about your industry that will let you manage a career.
I agree with most career experts that networking is the best way to look for a job. Networking can open doors to jobs that are not advertised. On the other hand, for every job attained by networking 1.5-2 jobs are found by applying to jobs posted online. There is a myth that such jobs aren’t real. If that were true, companies like Indeed, Monster, and CareerBuilder would not exist. The key to a good job search is to have multiple ways of looking for work. Start with network and applying to jobs online. I also recommend targeting specific companies that fit your goals and skills. If you’re a high income/high skill worker, it might be prudent to add recruiters to your list. Whatever methods you use, keep your job search forward and moving forward. Nothing beats persistence.
One of my clients, we’ll call her Sue, worked for the same employer for over 30 years. A month ago; without any warning, she received a layoff notice. At first, she didn’t know what to do. HR wanted to negotiate a severance, but Sue asked to wait for a day or two. She knew that she was upset and could make a bad decision or say the wrong thing.
Sue went home and thought about her options and what she wanted in severance. She negotiated in a calm, professional manner, which helped her get a slight increase in severance. More importantly, she met with people throughout her company to say how much she appreciated working with them. At the same time, she started networking. Within a week, several of her co-workers had become willing partners in her job search.
As I’ve often written, networking is important, but it is only one part of a good job search. Sue started doing something she had never had to do before: looking for work online. She figured out how job boards worked, posted a LinkedIn profile, and started bookmarking companies she wanted to work for. Less than a week after being laid off, Sue did enough research to be confident that many employers were looking for her skills.
The most important thing Sue did had nothing to do with a computer or networking. She kept a positive attitude about herself and the proper perspective about her layoff. She controlled what she could control and didn’t waste time mourning a job with a company that didn’t want her. Rather than looking backward, she kept her eyes and her mind pointed forward. She will be successful because she is asking the right question: What’s next?
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.
I advise everyone to network and let your friends and families know that you are looking for a new job. There is one important exception to this advice. If you work for a company that fires or punishes employees looking for work, you have to be careful in how you look for work and network.
One of my clients works for an organization that would demote her if it learned that she was looking for work. Some companies will even fire employees who are seeking a “better opportunity.” What can you do if you work at such a company? First, limit your networking to people who you trust. Beware of sharing your job search plans with any co-workers, clients, or vendor who might accidentally inform your boss. Similarly, don’t post your resume on a job or change your LinkedIn profile to indicate that you are looking for work.
If your current employer is the kind that punishes or fires employees, you need to be careful about how you move forward. However, you still need to find a way to look for something new. The key is to talk to the right people and keep your voice low.
Over the past few months, I’ve noted how some of my clients have found jobs by posting on job boards such as Careerbuilder and Monster. During a recent seminar, I learned a potential danger of this strategy. The presenter talked about how his former employer had the HR department screen posted resumes for the names of current employees. He didn’t say if those employees were fired, but employers in several states (often called “at will”) can legally dismiss employees who are looking for work.
What should you do? First, look at the options and settings for posting. Some job boards will let you post anonymously. If you do this, be sure to make both your name and company anonymous. Other boards will let you block a company from searching your resume. However, if your employer is using a third party service, that option will not protect you. Take the time to check all of your options before posting.
How serious is this threat? Consider it as a risk and proceed carefully. I have never heard of an employee being fired for posting a resume, but it is a possibility. One way around this problem is to maintain an updated LinkedIn profile. Since LinkedIn is a social network, it is a way to let other professionals see your value without telling a current employer that you’re looking for a new job.
The only way to find a new job is networking.
The only way a student can find a job is through internships.
No one gets jobs by applying to online posts.
None of these statements is true. People find jobs in all sorts of ways, and no two job searches are the same. I've had clients land great jobs applying to online posts, and others get nowhere even though they did everything right in networking. The key to a good job search is to have a balanced approach. Just as a manufacturer tries to use different marketing channels, a job seeker should try to use different methods to get in front of employers. Yes, networking is still #1 way to find a job, but it's not the only way.
Beware of one way solutions. They're usually the wrong way to go.
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.
Terms come and go in the job search world. The one thing they have in common is their ability to scare people looking for a new job. An example of this would be “the hidden job market.” No job is ever “hidden.” Your access to that job might be limited or – if a company is hiring internally – it might be impossible for you to get certain jobs. To conduct an effective job search, you need to find different ways of looking for work.
The first step I recommend is networking. People who know you and respect your skills are more likely to promote your skills. Your network connections might also point you toward types of work and companies that you had not considered. Remember that networking is a two-way street. Look for ways to help people who you want to help you.
Track industry and company news. Know where your skills are needed and track job openings at companies in those industries. If you know that a company is growing, it is likely that they will be hiring. Tracking industry news will let you know which companies are growing. That’s a great starting point for your job search.
Use the job boards effectively. Look at several job boards, not just one. Some of my clients have even had luck posting their resume. However, many others have been deluged with invitations to apply for low level sales jobs. If you post your resume, be ready to deal with junk email. Also know that posting is a passive way of looking for work. When you are looking for a job yourself, that is an active job search, which is the way most people find work.
Online networking is another way to look for work. The most common and best way is to use your LinkedIn network. If you’re looking for work and you’re not on LinkedIn, it’s time to join and bring your professional network on line. Some people are also using Twitter and other social networks as ways to engage potential employers.
For executives and employees with high demand skills, recruiters may be a good way to look for a new job. Keep in mind that working with a recruiter is a passive way of looking for work. If a recruiter finds a client that she thinks is better qualified than you, she will promote that other client. You need to maintain an active job search even if you are working with a recruiter you trust.
Almost every job search is difficult. To find a good job and find it faster, you need to employ more than one way of looking for work. The most important thing is that you keep a positive spirit even when your phone does not ring. If you maintain a persistent, focused effort, you will find work. As Tavis Smiley says, “Keep the faith.”
- 1 of 2
- next ›