Job search strategy
Job Search Strategy – an Introduction
I’ve decided to write about job search strategy in this post because many people make New Year’s resolutions related to their job.
Now whether this means simply being able to get a job, actively pursuing a promotion, or perhaps looking for a job in a new career direction, all of these involve taking action to make this happen.
The something that people do is called – “Job Search”. Looking for work, or job searching, will typically involve a number of strategies (or activities).
In this post I want to give you an overview of these.
In subsequent posts I’ll get into more detail about various strategies which will usually be included in any job search action plan.
Why are some people more successful than others in their job search?
When I’m working with clients who are not having much success in this area, the most common reason for their lack of success is that they actually don’t have a strategy.
Many other things influence whether a person’s job search is successful or not.
For example, maybe there just aren’t a lot of opportunities at present, or competition from other job seekers is really tough.
This simply reinforces the importance of having a well designed and implement job search strategy that will first of all get you noticed by the right people, and then…… hired!
3 components of a successful job search
Design and implement your job search around these 3 areas and you will be amazed at how focused and effective you will be in finding your ideal job. The three are:
- Have a targeted approach. This means you are very specific about:
- the type of job you are seeking
- who your potential employer/s are
- Tailor your self marketing. When looking for work you have to think like a salesperson:
- Great salespeople know that different customers have different needs, and tailor their sales pitch accordingly.
- Different jobs require different skills.
- Different employers are looking for different things in job candidates.
- Therefore your marketing material needs to be altered to meet the requirements of different jobs, and different employers.
- Use relevant job search methods. Understand that there is a visible and a hidden job market. You need to know how to access both of these parts of the jobs market.
Let me explain each of these 3 components in a little more detail.
Target your job search
As mentioned above a targeted approach to looking for work means you know exactly the type of position you want, and the type of employers you want to work for.
Struggling with what jobs to target, and who your ideal employers are? These three previous posts will help you a lot:
- Identify job targets and career direction
- Identify your skills and other strengths
- identify your employment options
Why is job targeting so important?
It’s simple really. When in job search mode you are a salesperson, and the product you are selling is you.
It’s your job to convince your ideal employers that you want the job they are offering, and only that job. And…..you only want to work in their organisation.
When I’m working with clients looking for job search assistance, the first question I ask is – “What sort of job are you looking for?”
You would be amazed at how vague the answers are that I get to this question. A very common answer is…..”I don’t really care all that much, I’ll do anything.”
My response to that is usually something like…..
“Seriously! You will do anything? Well, let’s see – my front and back garden needs weeding and my plants needs pruning, we’ll get you started there. Then I want the outside of the house and the roof painted. How does that sound?”
That is usually enough for me to make the important point……If people can’t tell me, as their job search coach, what type of work they want to do, what hope have they in convincing an employer to hire them?
Tailor your self marketing
By now you’re probably beginning to realise that you must have a laser like approach to your job search.
Many people make the mistake of putting together a resume (or CV) as the very first step in their job search.
Unfortunately, without having clearly defined job search targets, the time and effort in putting together the document is usually wasted.
Sending a generic version of your resume is a virtual guarantee that your job application will be completely ignored.
How to tailor your self marketing
The first step is to find out what the selection criteria might be.
This means you have a crystal clear understanding of what your ideal employers are seeking in terms of skills, knowledge, experience, licences, qualifications and so on.
Your resume and cover letter must prominently make reference to the specific things each individual employer you approach might be looking for.
To re-emphasise the point – these documents must give the strong impression that you want only that job, and you only want to work in that organisation.
Generic (the same version for each application) resumes and cover letters will get you nowhere!
Use relevant job search methods
When you really begin to investigate your employment options, you’ll quickly realise that there are potentially many types of organisations that could hire you. These range from:
- Federal, and state government departments, and in many countries local councils or shires
- Federal and state independent agencies, government owned corporations, quasi official agencies and so on
- Not for profit organisations – international, national, state, region and even city and district level
- Private enterprise – international/multi-national, national, state, regional etc
- Small and medium for profit businesses
This list is by no means exhaustive.
The next thing to recognise is that not all of these organisations will use exactly the same process to hire their staff.
Some will advertise using both online and other forms of media, including traditional media like newspapers.
A part of your job search strategy will be to find out where this is likely to happen, and make sure you look there.
Other organisations might also advertise on their website, or have a careers section there where you can lodge an expression of interest.
This is one reason why you must have a written list of possible employers, so you can regularly check their website.
Not all jobs are advertised – the hidden job market
This is a biggy – 60-80% of the jobs that are available at any one time are not advertised.
These jobs are mostly found by various forms of networking.
Therefore, it is critical that you spend about 60-80% of your job search time on networking.
It is very easy to become disheartened when your job search is not producing the results you want.
It is therefore in your interest to take the time to prepare a strategy and action plan for job seeking that has focus, which is time efficient, and most likely to attract the attention of employers.
Include the 3 steps I have outlined here and you are significantly increasing the chances of landing your ideal job quickly.