To some people, this seems like a really annoying thing to do. But it’s not a bad practice in and of itself.
If the people I’m contacting want my product or service, then I’m doing them a favor. The transaction is mutually beneficial.
What does this have to do with job hunting?
2. When You Are Looking For A Job, You Are Marketing You.
The product you’re selling - in exchange for pay - is your skill, experience, and knowledge base.
This means you can find the people who want to hire you. They will appreciate you reaching out. Go for it.
The fact that you’re marketing you also means that there are several critical pieces to deliver your product (you) to your target market (your next employer)
Know what you want your next employment to be.
Develop a personal “brand.”
- Get your foot in the door. Get your name out there. Get in front of the decision-makers. Market yourself.
3. What Job Do You Want?
This is the most important question. You must have an answer.
Most people don’t have an answer. They wind up in a job that was supposed to be a stepping stone. But they didn’t have a good idea for when or how they would jump off and onward, so they’re still stuck on the stepping stone.
Granted, there are such things as privilege and socioeconomic status in the way of equal opportunity for employment.
But I invite you to dream big.
It’s cheesy - but what do you have to lose?
Here are some questions to ask yourself in order to figure out what you want to do next:
- What do you enjoy doing? What do you wish you could get paid to do?
- What skills and experience do you have to offer?
- Where do you want to be in 5 years?
Don’t put limits on the answer to those questions. If there are limits, I’m sure you know them, and don’t need to remind yourself of them.
You also need to know where you want to work. Here are some questions to help you figure that out:
- What sector would you like to work in? (Private, Nonprofit, Government)
- What industry or field is your desired role in?
- How big of an organization would you prefer to work at? (Startup, SMB = Small to Medium Business, Enterprise/Corporate/Franchise)
With the answers to these questions, you should have a good idea for what you want to do and what organization you could (or want to) do it at.
Now make a list of possible organizations.
- Check your city’s business listings.
- Check for business journals in your area. For example, Puget Sound Business Journal is a great resource for the Seattle area.
- Search for news about your industry/field near your location. If I were looking for a social media marketing job, a simple Google search of “social media marketing seattle” would provide plenty of results.
- Search LinkedIn for keywords related to your industry. Then filter by location and company size. Even on a free account this will provide some results. If you can afford a Premium account, you can filter by an exhaustive list of industries.
Write them all down! Organizations as well as people who work at them (and their roles).Make special note of people who are doing exactly what you want to do.
I know it sounds weird but that’s what people actually call it. A personal brand.
You. You’re a brand. Some brands are unappealing. Some brands are very appealing.
Some ideas to become an appealing brand:
- Look professional.
- Have an objective.
- Show your "skillz".
Looking Professional in 2013
(And 2014 and 2015 and… well… hopefully you have a job by then).
Looking professional these days is not as difficult as it may seem.
- Good hygiene.
- Nice clothes. Doesn’t need to be a suit.
- Minimalism is in. Remember this for your resume. Put what’s necessary - only what’s necessary.
Snag a copy of Michael Hyatt’s Platform: Get Noticed In A Noisy World, and read about the “New Professionalism” - how the formal and orderly is getting nudged aside for the semi-formal and authentic.
Optimize Your Digital Brand
Optimize your LinkedIn profile. Not optional. More and more hiring managers and recruiters use LinkedIn to scout potential hires.
- Clean up your Facebook profile. Nothing sketchy should be associated with your name.
- Create a “Pinterest Resume.” Show off where you’ve worked with photos.
- Create Visual Resumes - here, here, or here.
a. Decide which is prettiest.
b. Make that visual resume your “website” - use it as your Twitter profile URL, plug it into your Google+ profile (oh, optimize that too)
c. Create an About.Me profile. Everyone’s doing it. It’s a great way to present your social networks all in one place.
This may be overdoing it, and you certainly don’t want to give the impression that you’ve been out of work for a long time with nothing to do but create digital versions of your resume.
But the more of these digital presentations you create, the more you’ll get a good idea of how you look best on the internet.
5. Have A Clear Objective
This is what you put at the top of your resume underneath your contact info, above your skills. (Typically).
It’s your goal in life. Your mission. Your dream.
Your objective does not necessarily need to be long-term, however. If you’re concerned about how your life goals fit with your immediate hope for a job, then your objective could be short-term, or even a slight variation on your long-term goals.
Be sure to look beyond the next job though, because you don’t want the hiring manager to think you invented an objective just for that position. It could actually be made-up, as long as it doesn’t look like it’s made-up.
After all, as the saying goes: “All’s fair in love and war… and job-hunting.”
Use your objective...
- As your Twitter bio
- As your LinkedIn short description
- As your Google+ Profile brief description
- And every other possible place you can think of
Now that you’ve got your brand…
6. Market Yourself!
I could tell you tons of ways to find job listings. But it’s not the most effective strategy (I’ll explain why later). Here are a couple of methods to scrape the internet for job listings - and really the only ones I think you need:
Sign up with Indeed.com and set up alerts for certain results.
Use IFTTT to create recipes that send you an email whenever a Craigslist search returns a certain result.
a. Search for the job on LinkedIn (filter the results however you please).
b. Copy the URL for that search.
c. Create a recipe in IFTTT - select “Craigslist” from the Trigger options.
d. Select “New Result From Search.”
e. For the Action, select “Email”, then “Send Me An Email.”
g. Use IFTTT to deliver results RSS feeds from other job sites - such as SimplyHired or Monster - straight to your email.
Don’t limit your searches to only Full-Time or Part-Time or whatever. Reach out to them no matter what sort of FTE they’re looking for. Ask them if they’d consider a different setup, or if they know of related positions that are a better fit for you.
One strategy I got my current job from was internship hunting. But I wasn’t looking for an internship.
I would contact the organization and see if they’d be interested in my services. I couldn’t just reply to the Craigslist post, so I’d find who they were and contact them saying I had seen they were looking for an intern.
But do not stop at looking for job listings.
Only 20% of job openings are listed online.
Yup. The other 80%?
Referrals. Friends. Word-of-mouth. Recruiters.
This is why hunting for job listings is not the most valuable use of your time. It’s like deciding you’re going to fish from only 20% of the fish population, for no good reason. Lots of missed opportunities.
How do you get referrals?
Well, there’s your personal network.
And then there’s that list of organizations you want to work at, and people doing what you want to do. Their information is publicly listed. You can find them and contact them.
Here’s what to do - for example say we want a job at NASA:
- Go to Manageflitter’s “Account Search”
- In the “Bio” field, type the name of one of the organizations you want to work at.
- Click “Only Active Accounts” below.
- Click “Find People.”
- Make sure the results include only those people who work at that organization. Select them all (make sure “Batch Select” is set to “Yes”).
a. If the results return more than that, and it’s not too many to sift through, go through and select only the ones who work at that organization.
- Click “Update Twitter List.”
- Name the list after that organization - in our case NASA.
Once you’ve got a bunch of lists like that, follow the steps outlined in this blog: From Twitter To Close: A Repeatable Social Sales Funnel. This blog outlines how to turn those Twitter accounts into LinkedIn contacts, then turn those LinkedIn contacts into phone calls.
Tell those people who are doing exactly what you want to do, “Hey, you’re doing what I want to do. Can you tell me how you got there? Do you have time for a brief phone call?”
Who knows? They may say something like, “You know what? I think I know someone you can talk to about this” or “Actually, we are looking for a ________ right now. Would you be interested?”
Just remember: the product you’re marketing is you.If you’re really as cool as I think you are, you shouldn’t have a problem.