Between current economic conditions and the technological evolution of the Internet, the traditional approach most job seekers have taken in the past is no longer viable.
The approach — developing a resume and cover letter, locating jobs on and submitting your resume to corporate sites and job banks, and crossing your fingers in hopes of receiving a call from a hiring manager — is, for the most part, a thing of the past. The new approach is far different. It boils down to the fact that there are fewer jobs available, more competition for those jobs and more touch points for recruiters and seekers to interact.
1. Conduct a people search instead of a job search
The majority of jobs aren’t posted online. Hiring managers get a list of employee referral candidates before they even bother to view resumes from those who submit them online. Sometimes the listed jobs aren’t available or never existed in the first place. Many studies have noted that 80% of jobs are taken through networking, but few have sought to use the web to search and locate people they would actually enjoy working for at companies that they get excited about.
The 3-step people search:
1. Identify the top five companies that you would like to work for.
Use a focused approach instead of flooding thousands of inboxes with spam. You want to brand yourself, not just as the person of best fit for a job, but as someone who is eager and ecstatic to work for the company.
2. Use search engines to track employees that currently work there.
There are over 130 million blogs in Technorati and you can search through them to possibly find someone who works at one of your top five companies. You can search through corporate groups, pages and people on Facebook. You can even do the same on Twitter. Then there are people search engines such as pipl, peek you, and wink. Once you find a contact name, try googling it to see if there is any additional information about that person.
3. Connect with the person directly.
Social media has broken down barriers, to a point where you can message someone you aren’t friends with and don’t have contact information for, without any hassles. Before you message a target employee, realize that they receive messages from people asking for jobs all the time and that they might not want to be bothered on Facebook, where their true friends are. As long as you’ve done your homework on the company and them, tailor a message that states who you are and your interest, without asking for a job at first. Get to know them and then by the 3rd or 4th messages, ask if there is an available opportunity.
2. Use attraction-based marketing to get job offers
The traditional way of searching for a job was proactive, forcing you to start a job that you might not have enjoyed. The new approach is about building a powerful personal brand and attracting job opportunities directly into your doorstep. How do you do this? You become a content producer instead of just a consumer and the number one way to do that on the web is to launch a blog that centers around both your expertise and passions.
You need to be passionate to be committed to this project because it requires a lot of writing, creativity and consistency in order for it to actually help you. A blog is a non-intrusive, harmless and generous way of getting recruiters interested in your brand, without you even asking for a job! Make the recruiters fall in love with you and only send you opportunities that are related to your blog content, so you end up happy in the end.
This works a lot and is expected for new-age marketing jobs that require experience in social media and can even help you jump-start a new business off of your blog platform. By pulling recruiters into your world, you are able to impress them with what you want them to see and they can make a quick decision whether to hire you or not, without you hearing about rejection. Start a blog today using WordPress.com (for beginners) or install WordPress.org onto your own host (such as GoDaddy or Bluehost).
3. Be proactive on Twitter
Twitter has become the ultimate utility to connect directly with recruiters and employees at companies you want to work for. By conducting Twitter searches, following recruiters on your account and using the “@” sign to communicate with them on occasion, you will start to learn a lot about them and their companies.
Before you follow anyone on Twitter, you HAVE TO have a completed profile. This means, you should have a short bio, the location where you’re from, a link to a site that recruiters can go to for more information (I recommend your blog or your LinkedIn profile) and an avatar of yourself (not a clown or Homer Simpson please). This way, you stand a better chance of securing an opportunity or a relationship with people who care enough to read your profile.
Most people get jobs on Twitter by already having hundreds or thousands of followers. For example, I’ve heard of at least ten people getting a job by tweeting “just got laid off, looking for a job in finance” and then receiving a few direct messages with people who want to help them. Of course, these individuals had built trust, credibility and relationships with their followers over time, so they were more inclined to come to their rescue. You can do the same, just start right now!
4. Capitalize on LinkedIn
It’s no surprise that LinkedIn has been extremely profitable and successful as of late. Recruiters are starting to use LinkedIn as the main place for sourcing candidates because it’s free and the top professionals are on there. Many people don’t use LinkedIn to the best of their ability and fail to complete their entire profile, such that it says “100% complete.”
Just like any other search engine recruiters are using, keywords are extremely important. You want to fill out your entire profile, just like you would a resume, but include the same avatar you are using on Twitter (see above) and ensure that the summary section is complete. You’ll also want to get at least one recommendation from a supervisor or friend, which will give you a “1″ next to a “thumbs up” graphic when people search for you.
Then, you should import all your contacts from Outlook, Gmail, etc, so that you can start to build your network or grow your existing network. The more people you’re connected to the better because you’re only able to reach other people in your network (1st, 2nd & 3rd degrees) by having these connections. You may want to pay for a premium account, so you can contact other recruiters that may help you. Finally, you should conduct searches on there for jobs that you may be interested in and reach out to those individuals that may supply you with an interview or referral.
5. Construct a video resume and upload it to YouTube
A good video resume is short, describes the value you can contribute to a given position, explains why you’re the best person for the job and talks about your background in a story-like format. If you aren’t a person with an outgoing and lively personality, then don’t bother creating one. Since you’re filming yourself, don’t rush because you can always try it a hundred times before you upload the final version to YouTube.
6. Subscribe to blogs that have job listings
We all subscribe to blogs to receive information based on our interests, at least I hope. Over time we rely on these sources for information to keep us updated on what is happening in certain industries or different trends that are developing. In the past few years, the larger blogs have started to integrate job banks into their own websites, using software/hosting from companies such as Job-a-matic.
Blogs that have taken this approach include Guy Kawasaki’s blog, GigaOM, and Jeremiah Owyang’s Web Strategy Blog.