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.
Several companies have instituted policies related to the use of social media. I’ve met people in the insurance and financial service industries who are not allowed to have Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn accounts. In some cases, the company is afraid that employees could give advice or make statements that would open the company to litigation. In other cases, disgruntled employee has post rants about their boss or company. Employees have been fired for making disparaging comments or violating policies. Be careful about what you post on line. Don’t let a moment of anger or the need to give advice cost you a job.
LinkedIn is a great tool if you want to work for a specific company, and I frequently recommend that clients use it. However, almost all of us have a better tool for networking: our phones. Make a list of people who know you as a professional. Call them and let them know what company you are trying to work for. Then ask if they know anyone who works for that company. If they say no, don’t get frustrated. Good networking takes patience and the ability to hear the word no. If they do know some, ask if they would make an introduction for you or if you could use their name in contacting that person. Have a plan for what you want to say when you contact your new network partner. Be able to articulate why you want to work for the company and how you can contribute. Networking is never easy, and it takes a long time. Even so, when you make the right connection, doors will open.
I’m working with a recent MBA graduate in her late 20s. She loves Chicago, but has no ties to the city. Her family is spread across the country, and she is single with no children. Most importantly, she is open to relocation, which gives her a big advantage in a job search. Rather than having to find a job in one city, she can go anywhere to find the job she wants. I recommend that clients in this position choose two or three cites where they would like to live.
The next step isn’t to hit the job boards. Instead, the best first step is to learn about the business climate and companies in those cities. Try to find the kind of companies you want to work for before you go back to the job board. Go to the websites of your preferred companies to learn more about them and explore open positions. Use LinkedIn to see if you have any networking ties in those cities.
Finding a job – like sales – is a numbers game, but the game is best played if you have a strategy. If you’re able to relocate, find a place you want to live and then test your ability to find a job and build a career in that city. Moving might be the first step in finding your ideal job.
Too many people have the wrong idea about how to look for work. They update their LinkedIn profile and wait for a call. They send their resume to some recruiters, and then they wait. It's time to stop waiting.
Career coaches have a name for the kind of job search that relies on waiting: the passive job search. Workers on all levels -- entry to executive -- find a new job faster and get more offers when they perform an active job search. This method requires that the job seeker take charge and look for the job him or her self. It's hard to make the contacts needed for networking or spend nearly an hour to fill out an online job post, but that's the best way to reach employers and market your skills. Track what you've done to move your job search forward. When you get stuck, try to find new ways to locate and contact potential employers. Looking for work is hard and often frustrating. However, if you follow a passive job search because it's easy, the only thing you might achieve is waiting for the phone to ring. Get active.
Many clients despair that they cannot find key words for their occupation. In fact, they are easy to find if you look in the right places.
1. Start with job posts. For key word research, I recommend using 8-10 posts. Note what words are repeated from post to post, especially for hard skills and technology. For example, terms like cost analysis, budgeting, MS Excel, accounts payable are the kind of words that employers will look for when scanning resume.
2. Perform a similar review on any LinkedIn contacts who are in similar professions. Pay careful attention to the skills section in each profile.
3. Research any job descriptions for the function you perform. These documents can be very detailed, so be careful about selecting key words that match the job function you want to perform.
4. Some websites post key words. The problem is that these lists often cover all types of a profession from entry level to executive. You need to identify those words that fit the level of experience for the kind of you want to pursue.
It’s important to have the right key words in your resume and LinkedIn profile. To find them, study what your potential employer is looking for and how similar professionals describe themselves. That’s the model for key word success.
I live in Chicago. Over the last two days, we've had a winter storm that's dumped about a foot of snow on the city. Now a deep freeze is coming that will keep temperatures below zero for the next two days. In this kind of situation, many of us get stuck in doors. We're depressed and kill time watching TV or playing video games. Why not work on your career instead?
1. If you're look for a job, try to get out at least five job applications.
2. Update your LinkedIn profile.
3. Update your resume.
4. Research your profession or industry and learn more about where you can go in the future.
Bad weather sucks. Use it as a motivation to push your career forward.
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.
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