Saturday, October 4, 2008

The New Rules for Landing a Job

Sure, traditional job-search methods like answering ads and posting your resume on a job site sometimes work, especially for low-level jobs.

But most job seekers should use approaches that match the way that today's best employers identify candidates. 

Ever more employers don't bother placing want ads. They know that want ads mainly yield candidates who are actively looking for jobs. Such people, on average, are not the best-quality candidates. 

Employers want candidates who are already well-employed but who could, with the right offer, be seduced into making a move. So they troll online discussion groups, the blogosphere, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

So, job seekers, spend less time polishing the format of your resume and tweaking your cover letter, and spend more time on one or more of these. They'll not only help you land a job but help you grow:
  • Become a substantive contributor to the most respected online discussion group in your field. If you don't know what it is, find it using the directories at Google Groups or Yahoo Groups.
  • Start a blog. Write posts that would impress your target employer. A good video of yourself in action can help, but better to have no video than an unimpressive one. Here's how you can create one, free. 
  • Join LinkedIn and/or Facebook. Create a profile that would impress your target employer. Again, video can help. Here's a a video tutorial. Get at least 20 on-target people to join your LinkedIn or Facebook network. Also answer questions posed on LinkedIn in categories likely to be trolled by your target employers. 
Of course, it's a mistake to spend all your job search time behind a computer. These other activities are most likely to be helpful:
  • Create a 15-second pitch: For example, "I'm looking for a project manager-type job, in which I can use my ability to be a liaison between techies and non-techies. I got great evaluations in my previous job, but the company went under in the latest downturn."
  •  Deliver your 15-second pitch to all your professional and personal network and to potential employers, even when they're not advertising an on-target job.
  • Take on a substantive role in your professional association: give a talk at the next meeting, join the program selection committee, etc.
  • And yes, answer truly on-target want ads.
The above plan should help you find a job that is right for you, the employer, and, in turn, society. 


Anonymous said...

My main frustration about job hunting is the lack of feedback. As the job seeker, I am forever in the dark as to the status of my resume when I post it to apply for specific jobs on Craigslist or a company's web site. There are jobs where I know I'm a perfect fit, I spend an hour writing a tailored cover letter, adjusting my resume so that the most relevant job experiences are highlighted, and in the end, I email my resume and off it goes into a cyber-black hole. I never know if my coverletter/resume ever have eyes laid on them and whether that hours-worth of work was wasted.

Marty Nemko said...

I understand. It's rude and dispiriting.

That's why it's often more effective to, as I wrote in this post, in addition to answering ads, make contact with potential employers who are NOT advertising jobs. If you're good, you can often get them to a place where they'll say, "I'd hire you if I could." And then, when a job opening comes up, you're not only less likely to be ignored, but to get the job. Similarly, use your personal and professional network.


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