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How to start building an effective job search strategy

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Job Strategy

Do you have a real job search strategy? Or are you spending most of your time scanning the job websites like Indeed.com and ZipRecruiter.com daily, hoping they find your dream job and by some miracle get past the HR screening process? On the flip side, you probably have heard the advice that networking is crucial to your job search. But do you know how to do it effectively?

Overall, an effective job search strategy breaks down the daunting task of finding a job into tactical, actionable steps that open additional opportunities while making the most of every job posting. From successfully navigating the HR maze to tracking down the hiring manager, a real job search plan will save you from wasting time and opportunities.

  1. Understand how HR works

Human Resources is not your buddy in the job search. In fact, they don’t hire anyone – it is their job to CUT candidates. To do this, every single company has processes to quickly weed out candidates. Some of their favorite tricks include specific application instructions, harping on grammatical and spelling errors, and using key word driven application systems.

In a nutshell, surviving the screening process is a game. To win, you need to know the rules.

So, why is this important? You still must apply to legally be considered for a job. Once that application is sent, the real work begins…

  1. Track down the hiring managers

Believe it or not, hiring managers are just as frustrated with the HR as the candidates. HR doesn’t always deliver the most qualified candidates – they are just the ones who played the game the best. Do the managers a favor and send them your resume directly.

Managers can be found through LinkedIn, the company’s website, local business journal databases, and comprehensive online prospecting tools such as ZoomInfo.com or AeroLeads: https://aeroleads.com/ . Many newer apps or Google extensions, such as Hunter https://hunter.io/ or Viola Norbert https://www.voilanorbert.com/ offer free options to nail those elusive contact details, such as email addresses.

For a more thorough list of these prospecting sites, please email me at:  donna@personaltouchcareerservices.com .

  1. Develop a networking strategy

For some, “networking” is a daunting word. Before assuming that you must go to massive after-hours events and shake a bunch of hands, realize that a networking strategy is a multi-faceted approach to cultivating existing contacts while making new ones. This includes face-to-face meetings as well as social media.

First, identify your current contacts. Find former colleagues, clients, and vendors on LinkedIn to start expanding that base.

Second, develop tools to reach out to new people. Join Groups on LinkedIn and get involved, while inviting thought leaders in those Groups to connect with you. Research your target companies and contact potential co-workers, managers, and even past employees to learn more about those organizations.

Finally, don’t forget face-to-face options. Personally, I make quality connections through professional associations, www.Meetup.com groups, and even social gatherings.

  1. Create automated tools

Create specific job search alerts from your favorite job searching sites. Along those lines, get rid of the junk. Always make sure that your resume is posted as “private.” This will greatly reduce the amount of spam, scams, and 100% commission jobs that are famous for contacting every single public resume on the site.

Finally, set up Google Alerts https://www.google.com/alerts on your top target companies. One of the best ways to source a hidden job is to identify a major change at a company and reach out to a hiring manager whether there is a job posting or not. Create a custom pitch that convinces them you can really help improve their bottom line.

  1. Make time to make it happen

Job searching does take time. If all you are doing is casually looking at job online, you are wishing, not working for it. Set aside consistent days and times to work on the job search.

Additionally, take note of the distractions and blocks to your job search. Life does happen, after all. Set your priorities while realizing that you may need to put in some hours after the kids go to bed to really work on your job search.

  1. Track your progress

If you don’t write something down, it didn’t happen. Track every single application, contact, messages, and outcomes. Not only is this important for following up, it helps with seeing how effective your job search is.

Our goal is to get 1-2 phone interviews for every 10 applications submitted. If you aren’t tracking your results, how will you know if you are being effective?

 

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Want a see how your cover letter and LinkedIn profile stack up to the competition? Visit my website to schedule a free consultation:  

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About the Author:

Since 2004, Donna has been teaching job seekers of all levels effective job search strategies. In 2009, she published her book “Get a Job Without Going Crazy: a Practical Guide to Your Employment Search.” Donna is based in Denver, and has presented workshops in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Dallas. She continues to work with job seekers across the country.

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