Network to Sharpen your Long Term Job Search Strategy
The reality of today is there is seldom a permanent job: With ever-growing competition, and the increased frequency of mergers, acquisitions, closures, offshoring, etc. have demonstrated that even the most tenured employee does not have long-term job certainty. All of these factors affect employees regardless of seniority, management/staff level, function or industry.
Take the necessary steps to proactively set yourself up for success by properly preparing for a potential job search. Don’t wait until your employment picture looks bleak, or until a layoff is imminent. To put it in perspective, you started a 401K to be prepared for retirement, right? You make daily decisions like going to the doctor for check-ups, driving a safe car, and purposefully moving to an area with a great school system; for what? All to be prepared for your future and to set yourself (and your family) up for success.
So let’s shake the uncertainty, and get started on preparing for your next job search today- it may not be for years to come, or it might be never, but don’t you want to feel better knowing a plan will be in place?
In order to have a reliable employment plan, we have to begin by admitting to ourselves that what we currently think to be our fallback measures are really not (admitting is the first step to recovery!). Many working professionals believe if they have a semi-up-to-date resume, a connection or two with a recruiter and continue to casually network, then they are prepared. Unfortunately, that’s not entirely true today.
What used to work in networking is not true in the new marketplace. In the highly competitive market today, many working adults are only looking out for themselves; so connecting with them is only superficially advantageous as most have their own personal agendas. The other truth is that many folks are networking with individuals in similar employment situations, and/or are networking with persons who do not make hiring decisions.
In today’s job search marketplace, finding employment is a big free-for-all competition for attention. What makes you different? What makes you more valuable than the other 500 candidates? What are you going to do to make yourself stand out on paper and in person? Most gainfully employed people have not updated their resumes since before their current positions.
No Job Search Plan
Many people who are gainfully employed do not keep themselves up-to-date with today’s job search communities and do not regularly explore job openings to know what’s really available in their field. In addition, they do not investigate or know just how job boards such as Indeed or The Ladders work in today’s technological world. Rightfully so, most employed people lose sight of the non-employed world and do not comprehend the real face of the joblessness marketplace. Finding a job is entirely different today than it was 5 or 10 years ago; for this, most have no idea how to even job search these days, let alone have a solid job search strategy.
So, what are the factors that constitute a “great job search strategy” and what will absolutely keep you ahead of the game? It is extremely important (and proactive) to always be involved in a passive job search. Follow these steps consistently throughout your career, and you will be prepared for any change in career opportunity (sudden or intended):
Have a Stand-Out Resume
Update your resume annually whether you think you need it or not.
Create a Target List of Companies
Don’t just focus on the obvious big players. There are many opportunities available in small and medium-size companies as well. Don’t let ego tell you a Fortune 500 company is where you need to be. Set up Google alerts and ‘follow’ these companies as well as key employees who you may be able to contact in the event of a job change.
Create a Target List of Contacts
Create a list of key managers, employees and executives you can establish and maintain contact with during the year. Remember that networking goes both ways, and proactively seek to be a resource to those with whom you share professional commonalities.
Expand your LinkedIn Network
Add 25-50 users per month. Use the LinkedIn company search function to connect with the decision-makers in your target company list. My own LinkedIn network has been at the maximum of 30,000 connections for years and I am generous in forwarding introductions and linking people regardless of there is a fee in it for me. “Pay it forward.”
Attend Networking Events
Attend conferences and trade shows – 2 per quarter at a minimum. Attend the social events and seek out people with whom you want to establish a relationship. Often, people are more accessible at conventions than in their offices where gatekeepers and time constraints hinder your ability to communicate with leaders in your field.
Stay in Touch
Maintain communication with key contacts at least 4 times a year.
Stay Connected to Retained Search Firms
The people headhunters are most apt to help are those that are a good referral source. If someone is a friend of our company in providing potential candidates, I will absolutely go above and beyond to help them – proactively – should they be in need of a new opportunity. If unemployed, reach out monthly via email and phone.
All these passive job search strategies should be conducted regardless of employment status. The bottom line: do not wait until you have job security concerns to have a job search plan in place. Always be a step ahead of the game.
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