Gone are the days of waiting for the fat employment section in the Sunday paper each week but no one really misses those days. That was not an efficient way to find a job. What is frustrating as a Career Advisor is to see students not properly leveraging the outstanding tools available to help them find their next career step in 2017.
Job seekers who are stuck behind their computers submitting online applications are not likely to be successful. Their application is a needle in the haystack. Submitting an online application and then trying to find an insider contact is also not a recipe for success. People will quickly realize that you are only using them to advance your application.
You must follow the process to conduct a success search.
Develop Your Target List – Think about what you want to do. What skills and experience qualify you for this position? In what industry do you hope to work? Where in the world do you hope to work? What functional role are you seeking? What do you need in terms of company culture and values? Start drafting a list of companies for whom you would love to work.
Informational Interviews – Leverage your various alumni, family and friends and former colleagues’ networks to identify contacts who work in your target companies. Set up informational interviews to learn more about the company and your area of interest. What is the hiring process like? How does the company support their employees? What does the person like about working there? What would they change if they could? You will likely learn things you like and things you don’t.
Continually Refine the List – Based on what you learn in your informational interviews, continue to refine your target list. Some companies or types of roles will fall off the list and you will learn about new companies to explore further. Continue to build and refine your list as you continue to conduct informational interviews.
Build Networks within Your Target Companies Throughout this process you are building relationships with people who work in your target companies. Keep detailed records of your contacts. Be sure to thank them for spending time with you and helping you learn.
Identify Opportunities – Once you have your target companies updated and your network in place, you are ready to start exploring opportunities. When you see an opportunity at a target company, reach out to your contact to see what insight they can share. Ask if they would be willing to pass your resume and cover letter to the hiring manager. Maybe they can submit it in their employee referral program. Having an internal advocate moves your resume to the short pile instead of the mountain that arrives blindly online. This is a huge advantage. Your internal advocate can also share additional insight and perspective to help you prepare for the interview.
If you think you can shorten your process by applying to online applications all day, you will be seriously disappointed. Invest the time in researching, learning and building your network and you will significantly increase your success.