GET TO WORK……NETWORK!
What is the best way to find a job? The “old” method was to send out a massive resume mailing, send out follow up thank you notes to acknowledge any response, and wait for the interviews to be scheduled. That might have worked in a good market, but it’s much less effective today. We know one highly accomplished professional who tried that approach, with a targeted list of 2000 companies. "Not a single positive response.
A more popular approach today is to post on the job boards, such as Monster, CareerBuilder, and The Ladders. Makes sense in an electronic world, get your resume out to multiple companies at a very reasonable cost. But there are problems with this approach, too. In today’s competitive market, it’s not uncommon for a job posting to receive over 5,000 applicants. One consultant at a leading placement firm said she didn’t know “of a single person” who had gotten a job through an internet posting site. If you are spending more than an hour a day searching on the Internet you are probably wasting your time.
Your best strategy for getting a job is to start networking. It’s not easy but it is a proven way to find positions that are not yet posted, while gaining valuable insights about the job markets you are targeting. Here are four networking steps you should take:
- Put together a networking list. Use a simple Excel spreadsheet to list all the people you know, both professionally and personally. Make sure to put down their contact information, both email addresses and phone numbers. Once you start this process, you’ll be surprised at just how many contacts you have.
- Schedule informational interviews. These are not interviews where you are asking for a job. Instead, you are requesting a 15-20 minute meeting, face to face if possible, to learn more about target companies and ask the person for insights on your search. That is a non-threatening approach, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at just how willing people are to talk to you.
- Get involved with internet networking sites, especially LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a site that is free and easy to use. And it’s a great way to organize your contacts. As you get more active in your networking, you’ll be able to connect with “second hand” contacts, people your direct contacts know. Also, get involved with LinkedIn groups that are in the fields you are targeting in your search.
- Take advantage of job fairs and local career centers. Another effective networking technique is to go to local job fairs. It’s a great way to meet recruiters, exchange business cards, and meet other job seekers who can be very helpful in your search. Additionally, seek out nearby career centers that have professionals who know the market and can advise you on effective search strategies.
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