The question everyone is asking right now, after hearing about the 1.9 million layoffs in the past year figure, is “how do I get a job”? This is the wrong question to ask yourself because it forces you to apply to positions that aren’t the best-fit for your personality, passions and possibly, expertise. You have to think more broadly!
The real question: How to get a job, keep a job, advance in a job and then get another job.
You might be at different stages, but the movement and cycle is all so familiar. The old way of thinking, which is staying a job for a decade or more, is a total failure these days because that’s not how the economy works. The real way to succeed, I promise you, is to do everything you would now, and leverage everything you’ve already done in the past, in order to be successful in the future, while setting “flexible goals” because things change.
This means that you need to have a “career commander” mindset. It doesn’t mean that you should let people know you’re looking, unless you have no choice.
Two career situations and two sets of results
Situation 1: One woman has felt job security after 5 years as an employee of a company. While working at this company, she decided that networking events were a waste of time and that meeting people inside their company was the path to career advancement. She had very little experience with the internet and got her current job through an old friend she doesn’t speak with anymore. She had a great relationship with her group members and executive management and was feeling really good about her current position, despite hearing about the economy. She woke up one day and walked into her managers office, only to find out she had been laid off.
Results: She struggles really hard to recover, forcing her resume into the inbox’s of her old friends, yielding no positive outcome. She emails her coworkers at work, that can’t do anything about the situation, as they are struggling to keep their job. She realizes that she might not be getting a job she’d be interested in for a long time, so she takes up a job as a waitress to feed her children.
Situation 2: Another woman (let’s keep the gender the same 😉 ) is doing great at work. She’s only been there for a year, but she’s worked really hard to not only build relationships throughout the company, not just her own domain, but also outside of work. In the past year, she started a blog, went to professional networking events, signed up for social networks and kept in close contact with many of her friends of the past. She also was smart enough to gain new skills in her field, which led to her becoming the go-to-person in her company. She worked for an additional hour or two each day, making a strong case for why she should be working there. The woman wakes up one day and poof, her company decides that they are going to layoff her business unit.
Results: She remains confident (career commander) and sends out a Tweet that says “Just got laid off, looking for an internet marketing job in Sanfrancisco.” She also sends an email to her email list of 400 that she had built up and starts sending nice notes to her Facebook network. She also blogs about her experience getting laid off and ends by talking about the jobs she’s be looking for, with a link to her LinkedIn resume. She also sends a note to her LinkedIn database of contacts and asks the people she worked with for references for the great job she had done. She ended up finding a job within 2 months.
Dan, quit the storytelling and tell us how to get a job!!!
Before reading my strategies, please be open-minded and remain calm. The new way to get a job requires that you invest time in creating content, building relationships and learning skills that you can apply elsewhere. You need to be a commander and not wait around for someone else to tell you what to do next. This involves having confidence in yourself and taking things seriously. OK, now please read this…..
1. Conduct a people search
If you were ever a Facebook stalker, then you should be good at this one. The first thing you need to know is that you get jobs through people and not random submissions or “hail marry’s.” The second thing you need to know is that most companies have people who can be contacted online. The third thing you need to know is how to talk to people you don’t know and ones that don’t know you. I want you to name a company you want to work for. Let’s say you that you choose DELL (this one is easy to explain because Dell is rather “naked” on the web).
If you want to work for DELL, you need to find people who work there, especially the one’s in HR and managers in your field. For the record, let’s say you want a social media job there. I would start finding out names of people who are in those positions by searching for “social media interview Dell” or “Dell blog” or “digital media dell” or something like that. Let’s say you come across the name Richard Binhammer, who is part of the digital media team. You notice he has a blog and a Twitter account. You should subscribe to his blog, actively comment and do the same with his Twitter feed. Next, you find out that Dell is on Facebook in many locations. You become part of that community, by asking questions and talking to people on there. Next, after figuring out the names of more people that work there (possibly finding a Dell press release and a PR contact), you search for their name(s) on Facebook.
Once you find them on there, you should send them an “informational” message. Something like “Name, I just discovered that you work for Dell. I’m really interested in your social media job there and enjoy participating in your Facebook group. I was wondering what your day-to-day job requirements are and anything else you could tell me about it. Thank you.” Wait a bit to hear back and then send a follow-up. If that fails, then do the same routine with your second company choice. This strategy works better if you have an online presence to point people to.
2. Put up your billboard advertisements
Aside from being proactive, you will want to be reactive in your job search. Companies like passive candidates, just like girls and guys like challenges in dating. I would recommend stationing your personal brand on the leading social networks (LinkedIn, Facebook), joining social networks that are related to your field, establishing a blog, website and possibly advertising yourself using Facebook social ads or Google AdWords as mentioned before. The idea here is to have your brand exist where people are searching for qualified candidates. Every minute your brand isn’t there, another person is getting interviewed instead of you. I think VisualCV offers a great product for capturing most of your professional brand in a clean cut and precise website that is searchable in their database. I’d also recommend that you ensure your resume is on Monster.com, eRecruiting.com and Careerbuilder.com, in addition to JobFox.com and Jobster.com.
3. Sleeping is not an option
I’ve talked about how sleep is an opportunity cost in a web 2.0 world. Sleep is unnecessary if you’re in a job search because every hour you don’t have a job, that’s money you can’t use to support your life. Instead of sleeping for 8 hours every night, why not try 5 or 6. The more time you invest in your job search, the better chances you’ll have. Work on posts for your blog, become part of communities on social networks and blogs and do some crazy research to find people who are in companies that you want to work for (see #1). Conduct job searches on corporate career pages and vertical search engines, such as SimplyHired.com and Indeed.com.
4. Find “head hunters” the web 2.0 way
There are a lot of headhunters around and they are easier to find than ever. I think the easiest way to find people who can be your “job search agents” is to join Recruitingblogs.com, which has over 14,000 recruiters and is situated in a Ning network. Many of these recruiters have blogs, as well as corporate HR people. If you want to find the top bloggers in this area, go to Alltop.com. Head hunters are great aids in a job search because they’ve placed candidates before, have connections, industry knowledge and can help position you for a good job. They also get paid based for helping you, so the incentive gives you a better chance.
I pretty much just handed over many secrets that I’ve had for a while and haven’t gotten on “paper.” Please note that if you aren’t an extraordinary candidate, with a strong brand, even these tactics might not help you in the short-term. If you’re smart, you’ll work as hard as you humanly possibly in these times. Realize that we have to work twice as hard for the same salary now. I would like to reiterate that you need to treat your entire life as a networking event (including your friends, family, teachers, etc). One person you meet can change everything for you!
Leave comments if you have any other secret strategies that can help people.