Would you like a job that is a great fit for your interests and strengths, can offer you more money, or a better work/life balance? Unless you’re a stay at home parent, a student, or retired, you’re probably interested in a job (and career, bigger picture) that gets it done for you. If you’re not working, perhaps you have a vested interest in a good job for someone close to you.
Some folks are truly 100% happy in what they’re doing, and couldn’t imagine doing anything else, ever. For the rest of the working world, it’s always important to take stock of one’s career, and where the current job fits with long-term goals. Along those lines, we often have to spend our time looking for another job, or at least exploring opportunities. Nobody wants to have a job lost to outsourcing, for example. If we have no job, and aren’t totally working for ourselves, it’s imperative.
So, if you’re exploring job prospects, it’s important to have a road map, right?
Here are 5 Job Search Strategies that can be used to find the right opportunity:
- Networking. It’s often said that most jobs are obtained based on who you know, whether directly or indirectly. This seems to be universal advice that is dispensed regularly, though my last 3 jobs were not obtained that way. In any event, there is clear evidence from many others that networking can work very well, and I believe in it. The two aspects of networking that I have observed are:
- Direct Networking. Here, I’m referring to directly contacting someone you know about a job. That person doesn’t have to be the hiring manager; rather, he or she can simply working at the company and have access to decision makers. In a job market with many qualified candidates, it helps to be the one with an internal reference.
- Indirect Networking. In this case, it’s not about contacting someone with direct access to a job. Here, it could be about getting in touch with someone who knows someone else who is a decision maker or who has access to one. Or, it could be simply contacting people to do informational interviews, to get information and to make a networking contact. Whichever way, these approaches can help build your network and lay the groundwork for you to find a job.
- Online Job Boards. For online job boards, there can be two sources:
- Independent Boards.These include sites such as Monster and Career Builder, which are two of the most popular job search sites. There, you can find job listings at companies while filtering by different variables, such as geography (for example, I’m based out Chicago) and keywords, among others. One site that gets attention is of course Linkedin, which has primarily been a source of networking, but also posts jobs directly. Another cool site is Jobtonic, and you could get a job in Illinois here. Another good site is Indeed, which sources listings from various sites.
- Company Boards. The websites of specific companies you’re interested in are the most direct places you can look. This can be helpful if you’re targeting a specific company, so you can simply see all jobs publicly posted rather than a filtered view from a larger board.
- Recruiters. In this category, I’m including individual recruiters and search firms. These people don’t work for you; rather, they work for the client company that hires them. That’s important to note when working with them, as even though they can be very helpful, one needs to be careful. Sometimes they find candidates in specific fields, other times the candidates have already gotten in touch so that the recruiter knows about them. There are two general types of recruiters:
- Retained Search. These people are paid by a client to search for candidates for open position, and are often the exclusive searchers for the client.
- Contingency Search. Instead of being exclusive search firms for their clients, these people compete with other firms and get paid when they source a candidate that actually gets hired.
- Cold-calling. By this, I mean contacting a company and expressing interest in employment opportunities, by not using the methods above (networking, job postings, recruiters). This represents more of a scatter-shot, mass-emailing/calling type of approach. As with most such marketing efforts, your response rate will likely be low. I would recommend the other approaches unless you have plenty of available time and can’t utilize the other ones – in which case, it could work.
- Let the Job Find You. Yes, this might not seem like it makes sense at first glance. It’s certainly shouldn’t be the primary option. However, sometimes people could come knocking. You never know. My suggestion here is to utilize Linkedin. By preparing a smart, strategic profile, you can be located by recruiters or companies themselves. More likely, you’ll be contacted by others who want to network with you. You never know where that might lead.
Personally, I recommend taking an active approach, no matter how you do it. Nobody cares more about your own future than you.
What about you?
How have you found jobs throughout your career? Have any of these job search strategies in particular worked for you?