It seems the web is all the range these days. We use it to shop, learn and play. So when looking for a new opportunity, we naturally turn to it as well. But did you know that 85% of all jobs are filled before being advertised which means most candidates miss great opportunities. The job market isn't as good as it once was but there are fantastic opportunities slipping through your fingers because you may know how to find them.
1 - Identify your target employers
- The very first step is to identify the types of companies your would like to work for. Think outside of your comfort zone and do your homework. Prepare a digital list (you will need it later).
- The next step is to search industry databases and identify companies within those industries you would like to target. These may be top employers, companies with known flexible working conditions, etc. It is important to include small and medium size business' as these are the drivers of most economies and thus the biggest employers.
2 - Target the right people
- Now we have to determine who are the key contacts that can hire you in your target companies. Read articles in newspapers, blog posts, press releases, search LinkedIn, you services like jigsaw.com, leverage your industry contacts. Find at least 1 contact per target company you listed above but preferably 2 or 3 for larger organizations.
- Check the corporate websites for possible open positions. Remember that not all candidates perform as expected when hired so there is a lot of value looking at jobs that have been filled 2-3 months ago and add that to your target list (just in case the original candidate didn't meet expectations).
- Where possible about sending your CV to the human resources department, unless you are looking for an HR job. Typically HR reps receive hundreds of CVs per job and may improperly skip over your CV because of fatigue or by mistake. When possible, target managers in the business (the people you would actually be working for).
- When you have the list of names, its time to get creative and find their contact information. Search the web, ask friends, buy it or use the company operator. Find email addresses, telephone numbers and civic addresses.
3 - Your CV represents you
Your CV is the first impression you are making on the hiring manager so make sure it is the best possible impression you can make.
- Each CV should be targeted for the company you are applying for. Change some of the elements to make sure it "speaks to the manager and sells the skills you bring relative to their industry".
- Have your CV proof-read to ensure it is well written and error free.
- Use a multi-medium approach. Your first contact should be via email (cover letter and CV). Ideally if you can find a fax number, you can also fax your CV in a week or so later. Just make sure you modify your cover letter to identify that your first contact attempt was via email and that you are following up via fax.
- A nice way to differentiate yourself is to have your CV professionally printed and bound then mailed via standard letter mail. In the age of email, a physically delivered CV will definitely stand out. Remember that you are running a marketing campaign for your services. Plan your strategy ahead of time and execute to plan.
- If your target company participates in local networking events or presentations, take the time to attend. This is a great way to make "friends" that can help connect you with the right person.
It may sound like a lot of work and it really is. Finding a good job is getting harder and you will have to differentiate yourself from the heard. The more effort you put into your self marketing campaign the bigger the reward will be.
Here are some quotes I think you will enjoy:
“Fall seven times, stand up eight.” –Japanese proverb
“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”–Wayne Gretzky
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” –Benjamin Franklin
“Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.” –Thomas Jefferson
“Find out what you like doing best and get someone to pay you for doing it.” –Katherine Whitehorn
“Big jobs usually go to the men who prove their ability to outgrow small ones.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Success doesn’t come to you, you go to it.” –Marva Collins
“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” –Walt Disney