You graduated from university or college this spring. You and your family attended your convocation and had a wonderful time celebrating your success. You may have applied for a few jobs but were not successful in landing one. So, you took the summer off and perhaps did some travelling, spent some time at the cottage or maybe took a short-term gig to generate some cash.
The summer is about over and it is time for you to launch a serious campaign to begin your career. The on-campus recruiting season will be starting soon and 300,000 new graduates will be entering the job market in the spring of 2019.
In today’s intensively competitive job market it is imperative that you stand out from your peers in your job search.
An effective job search – one that secures your dream job – is comprised of the following 7 components. They are linked and integrated – not executing any one at the highest level will likely result in failure. If you do not have a high level of self-knowledge you will not be able to craft a compelling resumé, identify target organizations, network effectively, manage informational meetings or interview successfully. An indifferent resumé will not help you secure informational meetings. Poor networking skills will be a barrier to you being able to access the critical “hidden job market”. Poorly managed informational meetings will not lead to referrals to other meetings, decision makers and job interviews. And lastly, if you don’t interview well you will not get job offers.
A job search is a project that must be planned, effectively implemented, monitored and adjusted along the way.
Self-knowledge is the first element in your job search. It is the foundation for everything that follows and will allow you to:
- Describe yourself in a number of ways to facilitate your targeting different industries, companies and roles.
- Identify, in detail, what you are looking for.
- Be proactive in your search.
- Be focused and energized.
- Stand out from your competition.
- A Compelling Resumé
Research has shown that without a compelling reason to continue, readers will spend no more than 7 seconds reviewing your resumé. Your resumé needs to capture the attention and interest of the reader. It is your personal print advertisement and must be visually appealing to engage the reader. The primary purpose of your resumé is to get “informational meetings” through networking.
- Social Media
A strong social media presence is mandatory in any job search. One of the first things a networking contact or prospective employer will do is Google you. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and your personal website will play a role in your campaign. You must ensure that the impression you make is positive.
- Identification of Target Organizations
If you do not identify between 40 and 60 target organizations your job search will lack focus. Rather than spreading a mile wide and an inch thick you need to go deep because you will not have the time or energy to effectively address target organizations. You need to have enough prospects to “get lucky” – and ensure that you uncover the right opportunity in a reasonable timeframe because there is a certain element of serendipity to this process.
Research indicates that approximately 80% of the jobs that get filled never see the light of day. Successful candidates are referred or have networked their way into the organization or someone else in the organization with a head start. All are reasons why your on-line applications disappear into a black hole. Networking is not tweeting or texting, rather it is a structured process that requires a disciplined approach and execution.
It has also been proven that “weak-ties” – people who you do not know well are more likely to lead to jobs than so-called “strong-ties”. Having a strategy and tactics to get to “weak-ties” are critical in any networking campaign.
Don’t worry if you are not a “schmoozer” or particularly gregarious – it is an acquired skill and can be learned.
- Informational Meetings
Informational meetings are generated through networking. They are arguably the most important, least understood and poorest executed component of a job search. They are the vehicle that gets you in front of hiring executives. The purpose is not to sell yourself but rather earn the trust and confidence of the person with whom you are meeting so that they will refer you to others in their network.
- Job Interviews
Interviews get jobs. How you perform in an interview will determine whether you will get a job offer. Most people believe it is all about what you say – it isn’t. Seventy per cent of communication is non-verbal – your body language says more about you than your words. The majority of interviewers use a fairly narrow set of questions. You need to anticipate and prepare for them. You also need to prepare your own questions for the interviewer because what you ask says a lot about you.
A well thought out and executed strategy and tactics to launch your career will ensure success.