Cut Your Job Search Time in Half with this Job Search Plan
By Don Goodman
Finding a new job is a lot more difficult in this digital age and the days of just relying on the job boards are over. This comprehensive article will show you what you need to do to slash your job search time by 50% and save you hours of frustration. Working hard is not enough. Working smart makes hard work pay off.
1. BUILD A PROFESSIONAL RÉSUMÉ
Your résumé is the single-most important document in your career and having a competitive advantage over the literally hundreds of other candidates you will be competing with for that one position is a must.
Statistics show that employers spend 6.7 seconds reviewing a résumé and the only part that everyone reads is the opening summary. A well-written résumé will craft your value proposition that distinguishes you from everyone else. Be sure to use keywords, formats, skills and performance metrics for your industry to make sure your résumé stands out.
2. OPTIMIZE YOUR LINKEDIN PROFILE
There are now more jobs on LinkedIn than monster.com and all recruiters use it to source talent. If you are like most people, you signed up for LinkedIn years ago and have not paid much attention to it since. Times have changed and +95% of companies will check out your LinkedIn Profile before calling you.
Your LinkedIn Profile has to be optimized for the right keywords, should have a social conversational tone, and should show just enough of your résumé to whet the recruiter’s appetite for more information so they are compelled to contact you.
If you do not know how to do all the above, ask your résumé writer to craft it for you. Fees should be in the range of $100-$250 for this important component of your job search strategy.
3. DISTRIBUTE YOUR RÉSUMÉ
Now that you are confident that your résumé and LinkedIn Profile distinguish you, it is time to reach out to recruiters and hiring managers.
There are only 4 ways to get your résumé in front of people. These are:
1. Job Boards
3. Direct contact through networking
4. Direct contact through direct mail letters (mostly for executives)
Most people spend all their time on job boards which is the most competitive arena and puts you at the mercy of the Applicant Tracking Systems that rank your résumé: Big mistake. In fact Forbes has reported that 75% of qualified candidates are being weeded out because of the Applicant Tracking Systems and you will have more competition here than any other distribution method.
At the other end of the spectrum, networking is the #1 most effective way to get a job so, after learning how to network effectively (it is a lot more than just asking friends to help you get a job), you should spend some time in this category. Here are ways to get the most impact from each of these methods.
4. JOB BOARDS
Monster and CareerBuilder are not the most effective boards to post your résumé as they have less than a 3% effectiveness rate. You would do better to post your résumé on the niche job boards as they are cheaper for employers and specific to your field.
Note that you can post your résumé confidentially so your employer won’t know that you are looking. You can also indicate where geographically you are willing to work. For a great list of vertical and geographical job boards go to the International Association of Employment Web Sites at http://www.employmentwebsites.org/?q=website/tree
If you are surfing job postings, use Indeed.com or SimplyHired.com as these are job board aggregators, meaning they pull jobs from all the other job boards as well as company web sites to give you a single place to find openings. Also look at Craig’s List which is becoming a great place to find local job postings.
Depending on your level of experience, recruiters may be a good way to distribute your résumé.
The first thing that you need to understand is that recruiters are paid by the employer, and their loyalty is to them. It is not true that recruiters find jobs for people – they find people for jobs.
It is crucial that you understand this important part because many people just call recruiters and expect help in their job search. With that in mind, you should determine if recruiters work at your level. Recruiters typically receive 20-30% of the annual compensation for the position which means that for a $50,000 job, a recruiter will get between $10,000 and $15,000 if a company hires the person they present.
Recruiters are usually hired to find people for those “hard-to-fill” positions requiring specific technologies or experience, so they will only put in front of their clients people who are worth those kinds of fees. They look for the “best-fit” candidates, one who meets most – if not all – of the employer’s requirements.
For you, that means that if you have no experience in the kind of position they are trying to fill, it is unlikely they will consider you. If you are a recent graduate with less than 2 years of experience, it is also unlikely that a company would want to pay those fees for someone who is so easy to find through regular job advertising.
A good way to see if you are the kind of person recruiters want is to look at the ads on Indeed.com for your job title. See if they are posted by employers or recruiters. Although that is not an acid test, it is certainly a good indicator if you fit in the category of those people a recruiter would seek.
There are some good services that will query an opt-in recruiter database to identify those recruiters who have indicated they would be interested in someone like you, and then do an email campaign to get your information to them. These generally run from $150 to $500 and can be monies well-spent. They will get to hundreds of recruiters in your field versus your ability to get to less than 10.
Networking is the most effective way to find a job and companies often pay employee referral bonuses if a person who is recommended to them is hired.
Most people think networking is giving your résumé to as many people as you can and asking them to let you know if there is a job opportunity anywhere. THIS IS THE WORST THING YOU CAN DO as you just lost control over the process and now you just sit, wait and hope that the phone will ring.
Good networking is asking people for advice. People are much more likely to give you advice than help you get a job.
The 3 steps here are:
1. Develop an elevator pitch
2. Create a list of contacts
3. Build a contact plan
Your elevator pitch is the 20 second statement you would make if you were in an elevator with Bill Gates and you wanted to tell him why you are the best person for a job. It quickly states what you bring to the table.
Here’s a sample elevator pitch:
“I have over 10 years of sales experience in the plastic and chemicals field including having served as a Sales Manager with DuPont. Consistently recognized as a Top Performer, I have beaten my sales goals and targets every year, even in the face of a severely declining market. I am particularly good at using my strong technical and operational knowledge to earn a customer’s trust and build loyal relationships. As you probably know, the market is pretty soft now and I am looking at other related industries where my ability to penetrate accounts and get new business would be of value and wanted to get some advice from you.”
Now create a database of contacts. Go through your business cards and list everyone who might know someone who might know someone who can help you find an open position. Use LinkedIn to identify companies and people you want to connect with. In particular, look at the various industry groups.
You cannot have too many names here, just make sure you assign a category to them (i.e. peer, boss, acquaintance, etc.). Remember, these are not necessarily people who can get you a job, but they can lead you to others who can. I know a fellow who found a job by asking his mailman if he knew anyone who worked at Deloitte.
You should also build a list of those companies you wish to target. Decide whether you want to work in a small, medium or large company, in what industry and then do some research to identify candidates. Remember too that everyone targets the Fortune 500 although most jobs are in smaller firms. Targeting companies outside the Fortune 1000 is easier as you will have less competition.
Now build a contact plan with specific and measurable goals. Plan on calling 25 people per week. This is where discipline comes in, but after you have done this a couple of times, it becomes easier. Ask each person who else you should talk to and add them to your database.
Finally, if you are a senior executive, you can consider a direct mail campaign to specific firms. There are specialty firms who can do this for you including identifying the companies and contacts that meet your criteria.
Follow these steps and you will slash your job search time considerably.