Landing a job is much like catching fish! This is the Third post of a multipart blog entry designed to share a few lessons learned during my 25 year professional career. Go to the first post entitled Landing a job with an industry leader to read the other entries.
If you speak with a successful angler about catching fish you will soon understand the importance of strategy. Folks that use a strategy are far more likely to catch fish and jobs. The most effective strategy for landing a job is one that has been customized for you.
Creating a strategy
Make a list of target companies and then begin strategizing. Here’s how I did it:
- Determine the scenario that will make your job change worth while. For me, I was working and living overseas with my family. I wanted to be able to choose the location in the US where I would live. I wanted to work for a company with a strong market presence and great standing in a growth industry. I wanted average or better than average compensation with lots of room to grow. I also wanted to utilize a wider range of my skills than my previous job. There was more but I’m sure you get the picture.
- Create a list of target companies. Your list should include companies and roles that offer enough of what you want to make your change worth while. Careful not to rule any companies out until you do some research.
- Find out if your target companies are hiring and what positions they have open. Remain open minded and try to talk with someone who actually knows, such as an internal recruiter or a hiring manager.
- Customize your LinkedIn profile and resume to match a range of target positions. I decided to leave my options open to a wider range of positions because I wanted to use a range of skills including writing, training, SAM, IT administration etc. I kept this in mind when drafting my CV and my LinkedIn profile. It’s easy to be passed over by recruiters if you present a narrow view of your skills.
- Consider the perspective of the employer before interviewing. Know your audience well and prepare accordingly. You may only get one shot at this.
Taking advantage of networking opportunities
A key part of any job search strategy is utilizing your network. I read an article a while back, written by a recruiter, on the topic of differentiators between job applicants (whish I could find it again). By far, the most valuable thing you can do is get a reference by someone that currently works for your target employer, that knows you and can vouch for your work . The second most valuable thing is to get a reference by someone that does not know you but does work for your target company. Let folks know know when you begin looking for a job. Most folks that work for an industry leader will provide a reference for you, especially those companies that value their employees. Why, you might ask? Most companies that value their employees offer a financial incentive to employees that refer candidates that are eventually hired by the company. There are other more intrinsic reasons but the bonus definitely helps.
If you are looking for a job change feel free to drop me a line: firstname.lastname@example.org . I may have some leads to share.