This is the third installment of the job hunting series. Last time, we discussed how to analyze and weigh geographical locations in case your job hunt takes you to unexplored territories. Now we are going to focus on how to target the right companies for you and how to approach them.
Okay, so you’ve made up your mind and decided where you want to work next and what industry to board. Next in line, decide where exactly you want to work. Trust me, blindly applying in Monster.com and Careerbuilder for every job that nearly fits your qualifications is not the best approach. You’ll find out why in the next entry: How to Prepare for a Job Interview.
Narrow your search
In order to target companies effectively you need to be specific and decide which companies interest you and in particular, which jobs. You have to narrow your search until your initial list is no larger than 5 companies and 2 jobs on each. The reason for this is that once you get to the next step: preparing an interview, you will need time and memory space to study each company. Having too many will not let you research them properly and may lead to confusions due to having too many different places in your head at the same time. Focus, is there’s no luck with the first batch of companies/jobs, pick another.
Now you can go ahead and apply to some jobs on the big employment portals out there, it won’t hurt; but remember that it’s not the most effective way to score an interview.
The most effective way of getting interviews is by -wait for it… you’ve read this a thousands times…- network. Yup, good old friend networking. You need to connect with real people, it’s not as comfortable as typing from your favorite couch but it’s the most efficient way.
You may say, I don’t know anyone in that industry, or I don’t know anyone in that company. That’s not an excuse anymore on this hyper-connected world. If someone you know doesn’t know someone who knows… then go to Linkedin and do the following.
Do a Linkedin search and filter out everything except head hunters, consultants, recruiters or people directly related to the jobs or companies you are looking for. If these people out there are connected to you in any way (or degree), Linkedin will let you know. From there you can do 3 things: Get introduced (through Linkedin’s feature), send a contact request, or send a private message/inmail.
Diversifying your search
Think of friends or acquaintances that recently got a job, these people are great resources to tap since they may still keep recruiters’ email addresses or consulting companies currently running job searches in your areas of interest. Once you get a few emails, introduce yourself first, give a brief description of your short term objectives and your recent experience and ask them if it is okay to send your resume. Some may get back to you and tell you to fill in your resume within their websites. If your introduction is effective, it’s pretty much a given that they won’t mind taking a quick look at your resume so you can skip the whole resume-sitting-in-a-database thing.
If you take a look at plans A and B you’ll notice that both involve an active approach. In my experience, the application-to-response ratio from job portals is not good at all and 80% of the offers you receive have nothing to do with your profile; thus, filling out resumes in webpages and portals do not offer the best ROI and it’s usually a waste of time, considering that the option to that is real time communication with your leads.
Job hunting is man hunting. Filling out resumes online is not just time consuming, it stalls your whole search since the only option you have once you applied is hoping to be lucky that someone notices your resume among a sea of resumes in the database and there’s no real person to ask how things are going or even to know when someone is interested in your resume.
- Define 2 or 3 industries that you would enjoy working in
- Define a list of no more than 5 companies you are interested in working at and 2 jobs on each
- Find people in common through Linkedin connections
- Connect with recruiters, head hunters, consultants, managers, previous bosses. Filter the rest.
- Avoid waiting
- Seek active communication
Image credit, Samford Nursing