Thank you to Jacob Share of JobMob for including my article, “Top 10 Executive Resume Writing Tips for 2019” in his list of top job search articles for 2018, along with those of 22 other amazing careers industry gurus. Read them all and vote for your favorite at Top Job Search Articles of 2018.
In part one of this post, we looked at the facts and fallacies of the hidden job market, including:
- Why you should consider tapping into it
- Why you should send your resume to companies that have not advertised positions matching your skills
- The level of experience you should have in order to benefit from the hidden market
Now I bet you are wondering precisely how to tap into the unadvertised market. There are three strategies to quickly get you started focusing on and finding great jobs that will never see a major job board.
Tip #1: Create a Plan
If you are going to launch a proactive job search (i.e. knowing precisely what you are looking for, then reaching out to get it) vs. a reactive job search (i.e. passively scanning posted jobs, waiting to find the one that fits you), then it’s crucial you know the following things:
- Your target markets
(e.g., construction; commercial healthcare development; pharmaceutical; medical device; etc…)
- Your titles & positions
(e.g., sales executive; VP of sales and marketing; business development director)
- Your geographic parameters
(e.g., can’t leave Minneapolis; all of US; California only)
- Your timeline
(e.g., need a job NOW; in the next 30 days; would like to make a change in the next 6 months)
Tip #2: Choose 3 Main Job Search Strategies for Tapping into Your Market
Now that you have your plan, you should be crystal clear on what you want! Here are just a few unadvertised techniques you can utilize:
- Growing/Changing or Moving Companies: These are companies that are expanding, merging, acquiring other companies, are rolling out new products or services, or are moving. Companies that are actively changing and/or growing give you, the job seeker, an opportunity to offer your skills and strengths in order to help them.
- Executive Recruiters: Identify executive recruiters that are familiar with your industry and/or level of position. They often have contracts to fill positions, of which the majority will never be advertised.
- Recruiters won’t be helpful if you are radically changing industries. A recruiter may not be the best source for you as they will be looking for “a match.”
- Recruiters will be helpful if you plan on staying in your current industry, you have had less than 3 jobs in 10 years, and you look fantastic on paper.
- Direct Company Contact: The secret here is in the numbers. Contacting a company directly (fully knowing they probably have multiple open positions that are not advertised) is a great way to take leadership and control over your job search. Are you interested in looking at the higher education market in your state, or the top organic food manufacturers in the US, or maybe the fastest growing healthcare oriented businesses in your city? All of these “lists” are accessible to you and allow you to easily tap right into your market of focus!
Tip #3: Manage Your Job Search Like a Professional Project
Once you have determined the best place to gather your resources and your general strategy, you must make a simple plan to move forward. Depending on your time frame, pick the hours and the days each week that you are going to invest in your next career move. Block out those times and stick to them! Honor your commitment to your job search just like you would honor your commitment to your present employer to show up on time each day.
During your job search activity, keep things really simple and focus on the actions you are taking, not the results! That way you can celebrate your initial “successes,” which in the beginning are the completion of each of your daily and weekly goals. The results will unfold elegantly and abundantly and you will enjoy feeling that satisfaction of success whether you are investing in marketing yourself or basking in the warm glow of landing your third or fourth interview! Be careful not to devalue the importance of this tip. This strategy is one of the main points to averting thoughts of despair and feelings of overwhelm.
Mary Elizabeth Bradford has been selected as a winner of the eCollegeFinder’s Best Career Advice Blog of 2015 Award! The Career Artisan Blog stood out amongst stiff competition and is now featured on eCollegeFinder’s site as a recommended technology resource for their readers.
Winners were selected as providing readers and staff with the best career advice and personal development blogs on the web, including tips, advice, news, and facts to help readers gain insight on the best ways to land a great job and maximize their happiness with their career choice. Read Mary Elizabeth’s eCollegeFinder interview answers here.
When you think of the phrase “job search,” what words come to mind? Are they things like exciting, fulfilling, more money and more work-life balance? Or are they more like agonizing, frustrating, depressing and overwhelming?
If your thoughts immediately turn negative at the idea of looking for a job, how could that affect your demeanor and the way you come across to those you talk to in your job interviews?
You see, how you feel about your job search is intrinsically connected to its outcome. So it’s in your best interest to set up simple strategies that make your job transition easier, faster and more effective. Here are a few common mistakes executive job seekers make and how to avoid them.
Mistake #1: Hoping the Perfect Job Will Come to You
This is an easy – though fatal – mistake to make. Believing a job is going to just land in your lap will leave you helpless to do anything but sift through your emails and surf dozens of job boards hoping and waiting to see that dream job you are really excited about. When you finally find it (add insult to injury if you don’t really know what you dream job looks like but you will “know it when you see it”), you will invest a big wave of energy focusing on creating and sending off the perfect resume.
What you might not know is that by competing on job boards for positions, your unseen competition could be hundreds or thousands of applicants, many of which might be more qualified than you.
“Hoping” to find the perfect job is not a strategy. Successful people don’t reach their goals by waiting for things to materialize in front of them. So, brainstorm on what you are looking for and what motivates you, then write it all down! Get crystal clear and check to make sure it harmonizes with others in your life that your choices will affect.
Then learn job search strategies other than surfing job boards. Did you know that your success rate using job boards is somewhere between 1 and 3%? Those odds alone are enough to depress any job seeker and tempt them to believe they are as lackluster as their results are indicating.
Mistake #2: Wishing For Someone to “Place” You in a Job
This is the same line of thinking as Mistake #1, but with slightly different elements. I often hear executives say that they are hoping to find someone who will place them in a job. But let’s give this a little thought – do you really want to just be “placed”?
The bottom line is, you will never find any one single person who will bring you enough possible job openings (and then place you in one of them) to make you happy with their service. Why? Because no one knows what you are looking for like you do! Add to this the fact that even if such a person existed, the majority of us wouldn’t be able to afford them!
It’s good to have contacts in a few companies that can introduce you to key people. After all, most jobs are found through networking right? Well here is an inside tip: The best networking is not done through one or two people that can send your resume to an HR department with their endorsement; in fact that is what I would call a very poor networking experience with very little benefit to you!
No, good networking is when YOU take the initiative to go after what you want. Don’t be a “passive receiver” in your job search. When we think in terms of someone placing us, we are giving away our power. If that is your mindset in job search, you will undoubtedly set yourself up for disappointment.
The solution is to simply commit to taking action and initiative in your job search. Map out a plan to find and connect with your market(s) of choice. Give yourself a timeline that doesn’t put undue pressure on you. Learn proven marketing methods for getting a potential employer’s attention and talk with recruiters, resume writers and career coaches as needed. Know that your ultimate success (and satisfaction with the outcome) will come from your commitment to taking positive action.
Mistake #3: Not Asking for Help
The opposite of expecting someone else to manage your career transition for you is trying to do everything yourself. In my business there is much to do. As a business owner, I naturally want to control each and every component. But I know in order for my business to thrive, I must delegate tasks to others. I have to plan. If I don’t, I will quickly become overworked and stressed out, which does not honor or benefit my clients.
An executive job search is no different. If you are struggling or feeling stuck, consult an expert to help you so you can free yourself up to focus on your success. The alternative will likely be to avoid those strategies you don’t know how to do (which might otherwise work brilliantly for your situation!) or might just decide to give up. Neither are good options.
Most people will fall back on what they know when it seems too hard to try another way. Fortunately, these strategies are easy to learn and your choice of resources are abundant! What you will gain from investing in yourself and this job search will not only help you with your current career change (more interviews, better positions, more money, etc.), but will benefit you your entire professional life.
Don’t risk feeling depressed and anxious when you are worth so much more. By following these simple steps you will be on the right track to success!