I love the internet. It is fantastic to know that I can get anything at my disposal anytime. The internet has opened us all up to new and exciting ways of running our lives. But what about using the internet for job searching? Many of us assume this is the most effective job search technique out there for landing your next job. There are hundreds and maybe even thousands of listings out there; one of them should be for me…right?
The quick answer is NO. Unfortunately the statistics don’t show that online job boards is how most people find jobs. So what job search technique works the best and why? Glad you asked. The following is a list of the top three methods of finding a new job and how effective they are. I will also go into why they work.
1. Connecting with a hiring manager personally (70% of time) – this is by far the most effective way to find your new job. I am a hiring manager now and know a bunch myself. One of the most important parts of my job is locating the right people for my team. As a manager I am typically thinking about how I can anticipate my future needs whether it be with my projects or my people. I have a couple of jobs in mind for someone right now. We don’t quite have the budget for them but without these people in place it makes my job much tougher. If someone would approach me and suggest they help me with one of my projects, I bet I could find the resources to hire them. I don’t like pain. Most managers don’t either. Connect with hiring managers and open up the “hidden job market”.
If you don’t believe this one, find 10 of your friends or family members and ask them how their found their last job. I did this in group of 16 men a few weeks ago. All but one of them found their last job because of someone they knew. I bet you will find the same results in your search.
2. Advertised job opportunities (25%) – These are everywhere from the internet to newspapers. These are the jobs in the public eye where everyone who is looking knows about them. The key to getting one of these is to be a perfect fit (I mean every details of the job description) and one of the first few to apply. Some postings get thousands of applicants. Do you think they go through all of them? Don’t bet on it. Be perfect. Be first and you will succeed.
3. Create a job for yourself in a growing company (5%) – This can happen. If you ask the right questions of a growing company’s executive ranks you might be able to create an opportunity where there never was one. This is a little riskier but it does happen. I had it happen once in my career and it was one of the best jobs I have ever had.
At the end of the day the most effective job search techniques are only mastered if you can get out there and meet people. It doesn’t have to be industry specific networking sessions. It can be anyone you know or knows of you. It can also be a stranger if you get the proper introduction. Your friends and family know people and so do you. Get out of your comfort zone a little and ask good questions. You will find help if you look for it.
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What is the best way to figure out what is the best career for you? Actually there really is not tried and true way to do it. Go out and find a job that seems to interest you. Work at it for six months and then evaluate if you like what you are doing or what the next job is in line with what you are doing.
This trial and error approach will serve you better than taking tests and assessments of who you are. Who you are will be revealed when you actually do the work.
Work first. Evaluate second. Stay true to yourself – don’t let the money sway you. Those principles have guided me on selecting the best career for me. And I am still working on it.
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Have you ever heard of the term “ambulance chaser”? If not here is a quick definition. It is a derogatory term used to describe trial lawyers. It describes in a negative way the level a lawyer will stoop to find business. It is a derogatory term but at the end of the day it is actually a very good example of how to market yourself.
So let’s un-wrap this a little. A trial lawyer makes his or her living by winning court cases. Court cases are basically one person suing another person or company for wrongdoing. Wrongdoing is very subjective. Based on my convictions I might think one thing is very wrong and you might think it is ok or even right based on your convictions. There is a lot of what I will term, gray area. This gray area is where trial lawyers live and die. It may seem harsh or low-life but as I mentioned it is a gray area. Just wait until you are the victim of a blatant wrongdoing and the perpetrator decides to hide.
Being an ambulance chaser in your job search or even a marketing campaign (for business owners) is how you need to think. Being an ambulance chaser means you first are going to find the place where opportunities are ripe for you. figure out what type of job your are qualified for and who hires that type of person. Once you have this then you need to start chasing the opportunities. Find companies and eventually people who are your “warm bodies” and go talk to them. Go talk to them armed with why you are the right person to help fix what is broken or missing in their department. Talk to them in a way that meets them where they are at and the needs they have. Talk to them not as a hungry job seeker but as someone excited about what they can bring to their situation. Just talk to them.
Just like the ambulance chaser…if you know what you are looking for, you know where to find it, now go out and get dirty. Get out there and chase them. Chase them first otherwise you will be chasing them later with 100 other people.
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Don’t stop job searching over the holidays. It is the perfect time to connect with friends, family and others whom you might not have seen for a while or will for a while longer. Here are a few tips:
1. Know what you are looking for in a new job. Being confident on what type of job you are looking for and even examples of companies you want to work for is important. Letting friends and family know this without asking them for a job is crucial. You don’t want to sound a like a beggar. You just want them to think if they know anyone in the industry or type of company you are looking at.
2. Be honest. Don’t pretend everything is all right and honky dory. If things are tough, let them know you need some help. Don’t whine or complain but be positive and seek out ideas or connections from them.
3. Volunteer to help someone out. Volunteering to help a friend or family member out is a great way to spend some time with them. Giving is a great way to help someone out and possibly receive help as well. Don’t give to get but don’t be scared to ask. We should serve and be served with our friends and family.
Don’t stop job searching during the holidays. If everyone else is thinking this is a slow time, than excellent! You will have less competition. Companies are hiring or preparing to hire. Connect with hiring managers now so when they are ready, you will be on the short list.
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Always communicate with the spirit of resolve and not conflict. Never forget that you may intend to say something a certain way but the other person might take it differently. Work very hard to never say or write things out of frustration or when you are mad or when you feel completely in the clouds or down in the dumps. Communication is so very important. Years of good relations can be undermined with one swipe of the tongue or line in an email.
Always put yourself in the position of the person receiving the message. They might be tired or busy or stressed or whatever. Assume they are having a challenging day and make sure your words don’t create more pain. The wrong words can cut to the bone. The right words can move mountains. Choose the right words over the wrong ones.
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I thought I would take some time with this post to give you an example of what career goals could be. This post is probably more for me and not you but I wanted to send it out there into the public forum. Sometimes writing things down or telling others about your dreams and goals is a great way to solidify them in your own mind. I am not sure why I am putting mine up here but here goes:
1. Create a big wave of clients for my employer (as a marketing director).
2. Create a few passive income sources so I can generate money when I am not actually working.
3. In two years I want to stop working 9-5 forever.
4. I want one to two years off work except for my career consulting.
5. Start a new profession doing something I never thought I would do.
Making my career goals public force me to take a hard look at what my plans are, what my dreams are and even why they are there. I am not sure I will accomplish these career goals. I am not sure if they will change or stay the same next year. I am not the rigid guy I once was. In the past I would put a goal on paper and that would be my goal no matter what. My life’s mantra would be to make sure I did not stray from that path. Over the years I realized my ideas and desires change as I open myself up to new experiences. I slowly over time realized it might be more fun and less stressful to take every day as a new day and not force it into a box of to-do’s.
There is a time and place for many things. There are seasons in your life which you have to go through so you can be who you are now. Enjoy the ride. Sometimes keep to your goals. Sometimes let them go. Both are good decisions no matter how they make you feel.
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Managing one’s career can be tough. Whether you are a high income earner or a regular guy, trying to figure out what your next step should be can be like navigating the rugged ocean. I think of a career manager as a person who has the wisdom to help make YOU better at the career decisions you make. Maybe it is a coach or a consultant, maybe it is a good friend or parent or maybe it is someone you look up to. All of these types of people can assist you in managing your career.
A career manager should be able to challenge you at the right time as well as be able to motivate you to do better. Doing better means taking chances, pushing the envelope or navigating tough decisions. I think everyone should have someone they can rely on for good, solid, life enhancing directional advice. It can be tough if this person is a friend because giving advice can get in the way of a good friendship. A good friendship is not the right relationship to find this type of help. Try not to enlist a friend or even a relative in this process if you can help it. Sometimes the right friend or family member can really help but you are not going to be reciprocating anything to them which is what friendships should be made of. So be careful if you select a friend to fill this role.
A career manager won’t always make or suggest perfect decisions. There is always going to be some room for error because situations are typically multifaceted. Be honest with your manager about why you are feeling and what is going through your head. Many times you might be swirling up in your noggin and a good conversation can help you sort things out.
Everyone needs someone, even if only to be someone to bounce ideas off of. There are high paid managers who negotiate deals on your behalf. This type of career manager will be the subject of another post.
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I want to challenge you a little. You say you need help with your career. You say you are stuck. I don’t believe you. Yes, I said it. I DON’T BELIEVE YOU!
Why would I say that? Sometime I do say things I am not supposed to. This is not one of those times. What I want you to realize is you don’t need help. You don’t need someone to help you sort out what career path to take. You don’t need someone to help you figure out what you want to do in your life. You DON’T need anyone to help you out.
You CAN do it. You HAVE to do it. Unfortunately no one can do it for you. Maybe you need someone to bounce some ideas off of. Great. Go find that type of help. Maybe you need someone to vent to on how tough it is to find a job. Great. Go find that type of help. What you don’t need is someone to help you figure it out. I believe most people know what they NEED to do next in their career. Maybe you don’t want to or think you can do it. That is another story. But you do know what you need to do.
What you need to do has been staring at you all this time. You need to get off your duff and do the tough things to get you noticed. Taking the easy route only lasts so long. You can only hide doing less risky things for so long. Then eventually time will click on by and you will be faced with other problems because you put off what you know you need to do.
Jobs are not typically found on the internet. They are not and I don’t care about what you read in an online article or a blog post. Jobs are found by people connecting with people. Go connect with people NOW. You don’t need help. You can do this. You are smart. You are bright. You are just what the hiring manager has been looking for. No get out there and tell them. They won’t find you.
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Career transitions come in many shapes and sizes. Managing the transition from one job to another can be very tough. Many things come into play from finances to family, from industry to industry and job function to a new job function. If you don’t have a career transition program or plan in place, you might be jumping from one pot into another where the outcome is not what you were hoping for.
Maybe you want to go from being in one profession to a completely different one. Sometimes it can be done without much change in income or responsibilities. Other times, your entire world is shaken at its core. Learning how to navigate in a new company, with a new boss, new rules and regulations or in a new location can bring many people to question if their choice was a good one. Thinking through how your “day in the life” will change may make you think twice about the transition.
Creating a program or plan ahead of time will help keep you grounded. Taking into consideration what the new job will entail to you on a personal level will help with that transition. Don’t jump at any job opportunity until you have gotten a chance to bounce it off a few close friends for suggestions. We sometimes get blind sided by decision we make because we were only thinking about the good stuff and forgot to think about the rest.
I am not trying to be pessimistic on this, however, visualizing yourself in your new role AND comparing it to what you are currently doing will help you with your career transition. My goal is for you to find your next job which you can be doing for a long time. Plan your transition program before you start for greater success.
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