Posts Tagged ‘job search’
A Different Way To Find A Job – And It Works!
Tuesday, October 16th, 2012
Anyone who has ever looked for a job knows how frustrating the process can be. However, most would agree that the most exasperating aspect is the “black hole” your resume seems to disappear into once you’ve applied to a position online.
My friend Kristin Vadas, Senior Strategic Project Manager of Carlson Wagonlit Travel felt the same way. After three months of applying to jobs that she was qualified for, she came to the conclusion that her resume was easily overlooked among the thousands of other submissions.
Trying a new approach, she emailed around 200 friends and former colleagues that knew of her experience, could speak to her qualifications, and would vouch for her work ethic. In just one week she had not one – not two – but FOUR promising prospects! One of those led to her current job, where she’s been happily employed for the past two and a half years. Kristin was kind enough to share a sample of an email she sent to her contacts (each individually tailored):
How have you been? Are you still working at XYZ COMPANY? I was reaching out to you to see if you knew of any opportunities, for Project Management or Change Management, at your company or within your network.
I left Accenture in October to start my own non-profit volunteer organization and now that the organization is off the ground, I would like to return to work and find a company I can grow with over the next few years. I am looking for full-time roles in Chicago and am also open to contracting positions.
Please keep me in mind if you hear of anything. Many thanks and I hope all is well!”
That’s it! By writing an email of just over 100 words, she was able to get in front of decision makers at four different companies. If you’re job search has stalled give this method a shot. What have you got to lose?
Photo Credit: “Jumping Girl” by Mattox
Three Keys To Finding Hidden Jobs
Tuesday, August 7th, 2012
Most people have heard of the hidden job market. It refers to the supposedly secret set of positions available that aren’t yet advertised. For various reasons, employers do often start sourcing for candidates or informally assessing potential new hires before an ad ever gets posted.
Strangely enough, it’s statistically more likely that you’d get a job this way than by responding to an advertised opening. Why? At this point, you’re only competing with yourself. Once an ad gets posted there could be hundreds – or thousands – of people vying for the same role.
You may be wondering how to go about finding these jobs since they’re hidden! The three strategies below will help you uncover opportunities before they’re made public:
1) Use the news: When you hear about a company moving its headquarters to your city, opening a new branch locally, or experiencing unprecedented growth, chances are they’ll be adding employees. One especially helpful resource – HiddenJobsApp.com – culls this type of news and organizes it by state.
2) Analyze ads: If you see an open position that interests you, by all means, apply for it. However, send your resume to competing companies as well. As there are often shifts within industries, there are likely to be vacancies across the board.
3) Ask around: Though you should have a list of target companies, uncover additional leads by asking your networking contacts, “who else do you recommend I talk to?” They may know of others thinking about hiring in the near future.
Though not nearly as straightforward as applying online, these methods are much more likely to get you results!
Volunteer to Quickly Make New Connections
Friday, June 22nd, 2012
Just today, I participated in an association-sponsored volunteer event at a food pantry. During the three hours I spent packing peas and corn, I got to chatting with four other people. By the end of the time, I felt like I knew them all fairly well. If I had been looking for a job, I absolutely would have felt comfortable mentioning it. Where else other than volunteering can you bond with people from four different organizations in such a short period of time?
Of course, it doesn’t always happen like that, but you’d be surprised how often it does. As with school and the workplace, whenever a group works on a project, those involved get to talking. If you’re not in school and are currently unemployed, you probably won’t have many of these opportunities. Volunteering gives you a chance to connect with others while in transition.
The same rules for networking apply here – ask questions, get to know the person, offer help, exchange business cards, and connect on LinkedIn afterwards. If you continue to see each other great – you’ll be able to build a stronger relationship. But, even short-term projects give people an opportunity to get to know each other on a deeper level than through a traditional networking event.
How do you choose where to volunteer? First, think about your interests – there’s bound to be an organization for whatever it is you’re passionate about! Second, locate the places that serve these interests by doing a Google search with your location (i.e. Volunteer with animals, Chicago), or checking out VolunteerMatch.org. If your first experience isn’t what you hoped for, don’t give up – there’s truly something for everyone, and you just have to find what works for you!
The Fax of the Job Search
Thursday, January 26th, 2012
Despite the overwhelming use of e-mail, most offices still have fax machines. There is a HUGE opportunity here for job seekers. In an almost-too-good-to-be-true situation, you can almost guarantee your resume will be read by someone, AND passed on to the decision maker (or their support staff).
Here’s why. People apply online the majority of the time, and mail their resumes when they really want to stand out. Very few send faxes, which means that it’s more likely that anyone receiving it will actually read through your documents. In fact, one HR employee actually told me he reads EVERY faxed resume.
The second part of this situation is even better. If you address someone by name on the cover sheet, the odds are very good your resume will be placed in their inbox. This means they’ll at least glance at it while sorting through the mail. With hundreds (or even thousands!) of emails coming in daily, do you think the same can be said of resume attachments?
Here’s how you can make this strategy work for you:
1) Find out the name and title of the hiring manager (try asking a networking contact or investigating on LinkedIn).
2) Find out the fax number of the department by asking a contact or calling the company’s main number.
3) Send your resume and cover letter WITH a cover sheet.
4) Follow up a few days later.
Though faxing your resume is a great strategy for standing out, it’s not a magic bullet. Use this tool, but keep cultivating your contacts and following up with decision makers. Your persistence WILL pay off!
‘Tis The Season To Give!
Wednesday, December 28th, 2011
We’ve all heard this before – but what usually comes to mind is buying presents for family or making donations to charity. Here’s a new gift to pass on: giving job leads and career support!
It’s worth keeping up with your job search despite the slow time of year (see Keep Your Job Search Going Through The Holiday Months, for more on this topic). However, if you’re not finding much that’s a fit for you, consider looking beyond these opportunities. Have you gotten a call from a recruiter for a job that doesn’t meet your qualifications? Did you see an ad for a company you’d like to work for though the open position isn’t a fit? It’s easy to discount these opportunities once we realize they don’t benefit us.
However, I advise you to pass it on! Not only will people be grateful to receive a lead, you’ll be cultivating your network at the same time. And, though it’s a cliché, you’ll often find that this generosity will come back to you. Some ideas:
1) If you get a call from a recruiter, don’t write them off if you don’t fit their position. Check your database and see if there’s anyone you can recommend. You’ll build goodwill with the headhunter, too, and be remembered for future opportunities!
2) When checking your dream company’s open positions, you may be disappointed to find out that there isn’t anything that matches your qualifications. Still, see what else is listed – you may actually be gaining an internal contact by recommending someone else for an open job!
3) Pass on more than just leads: whether interesting articles, industry events, or even just an introduction to an industry colleague, share!
Of course, ‘tis ALWAYS the season for giving. Don’t limit this practice to the holiday months!
Picture: Christmas Warmth, by somadjinn
Job Success Spotlight: Kathryn Janicek
Monday, December 5th, 2011
Picture it: 2008, during one of the lowest points of the recession. Kathryn Janicek had quit her job in Minnesota to move to Chicago. Though she had grown up in the area, she had been away for more than 14 years and had only a small local network–with very few of those in the highly competitive television industry.
Fast-forward 6 months. Kathryn bought a condo in Chicago, rented out her place in Minnesota (despite an extremely dismal housing and rental market), and got hired as supervising news producer at WGN-TV in Chicago. How did she do this? Two words: social networking. Read on for some of Kathryn’s tips on how she used Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to find a great job in a city where she wasn’t even living:
1) She built a network FAST: By getting heavily involved with the three main social media sites, Kathryn quickly established industry connections in Chicago. Building a network this fast and from a different location simply would not have happened without these tools.
2) She reconnected with former colleagues: Kathryn was able to locate people she used to work with and put the word out that she was looking. This resulted in a friend calling the WGN hiring manager on her behalf – leading to an interview and ultimately an offer.
3) She created a strong brand: Proud to be from Chicago, Kathryn promotes the city at every opportunity. As one aspect of her brand, she’s seen as someone up to date on area activities – a strong selling point for Chicago news outlets looking for local stories.
It’s no question that social media helped Kathryn’s career, and she recommends staying conscious of the purpose of each site (i.e. LinkedIn is more professional than Facebook). This can help job seekers maintain a positive presence and also make the most of each network.
Kathryn Janicek is currently NBC-Chicago’s daypart manager/executive producer.
Keep Your Job Search Going Through The Holiday Months
Monday, November 28th, 2011
With the hiring slowdown that typically happens around the holidays, job seekers assume it’s a waste of time to reach out to companies in November and December. Nothing could be further from the truth! True, things do quiet down around HR, and often new positions come in January with the new year’s budget.
But companies ARE still open. Hiring managers and HR employees don’t get these six weeks off of work. Use this quieter time of the year to your advantage. Chances are, you won’t have as much competition since others are probably suspending their job search. You’ll be more likely to get to talk to someone at your target company since they won’t be as busy. Your resume may be read more thoroughly since there won’t be as many coming through. Standing out like this could help you come January, when hiring is back in full force.
Still, it’s not enough to blast your resume out during the month of December and hope for the best. Your search will be much more effective if you’re strategic in your approach. First of all, consider what you want. What positions are you interested in, and at which companies? Do they have an open job posted or are you trying to get on their radar for the future?
Next, determine who you need to talk to. If possible, go straight to the hiring manager of the department. You can often find this out through a little online research or by calling the company’s main number. Drastically increase your odds of getting in touch by finding a contact to refer you.
Be clear on your message and what you have to offer. Your resume should clearly communicate how you can add value to a company, and you should be able to confidently articulate this when you make contact with the decision maker. Finally, remember that this is process. Be prepared to follow up, wait, follow up again, and be told to call back after the new year. Though it’s easy to get discouraged, rest assured that you’re ahead of the curve and this can only help you end your job hunt with an offer!