How to Rock Your Job Search and Create a Contact Database

Job Search …There’s more to life than job postings! 

There are many strategies you can use, to help you become employed. Most people rely on job postings, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg in job search … read on…

When you think about it, there really are only 3 ways to earn a paycheque: 1) is by securing a “part-time, ¾ time, or full-time “staff” job, 2) the other, more risky route, is to offer your services as a freelancer and 3) monetizing a hobby that you enjoy. All have advantages/disadvantages. Staff jobs are highly competitive (not to mention über demanding) in the new economy, whereas, incremental work is really tough to secure and maintain! Having a staff job/steady or “survivor” income is great if you can get it, but also quietly building freelance services in the background (monetizing a hobby that you love, or putting together the framework for a small “side business” in your specialty area) is a really smart plan. It’s called “healthy diversification”.

Pro Tip 1: Financial specialists will tell you that being diversified is a healthy strategy … applying that concept to your work life as well, is equally smart and healthy! Professional diversification is key to keeping monies rolling in!

Most people think that job search consists of “just online job search” — endlessly trolling the web for postings that suit your particular area. It’s a “good enough/reasonable” strategy, but really you do not want it to be your main life-line! This, in my view is the least effective strategy. In my upcoming “how to make the short-list” blog, you’ll learn how to make applications much more meaningful…but meanwhile…Stronger strategies for job search include (and, I might add, from lesser to greater importance, the further down this list you work):

Setting up “Google Alerts” for jobs in your geo-local a/o functional areas – get postings delivered to your desktop instead of spending valuable time each week searching for them.

Make a list of companies you would like to join, and checking them weekly for new postings. Once a week is enough…job postings  don’t measurably change day over day, but likely will, week over week…Maintaining a contacts database” – LinkedIn is fine, but I prefer my own method to manage my contacts. Every business contact I have holds an opportunity for business development. I regularly review my contacts database for opportunities to “touch base”with them for potential business interests/opportunities, or do simple “marketing touchdowns” with them, just for the sake of being social and remaining connected. Think “social equity”… you cannot make money in isolation. You need business contacts to explore business development, develop leads, and discuss potential business opportunities … Not too little, not too much…just.touch.base. Keep the relationship and dialogue ongoing.

Join LinkedIn groups and participate in discussion boards to increase your visibility and engagement, and stay current on trends.

Offline job search is key. Not just online networking, but offline as well, at conferences, industry parties, meet-ups, etc. Be present, circulate, increase your profile, and actively participate in your industry.

Third party introductions AKA “social proof”
Getting a third-party introduction works wonders. It makes the recipient “a little more accountable” to another party, therefore the likelihood for their taking action on an introduction is higher. Think of it this way: you can “go in cold”, or, you can go in with the stamp of approval/encouragement of a friend/colleague. Door number two is definitely better!

Referrals work well also, ie., when a friend/colleague tells you “you should talk to so and so at X company — tell them I referred you”.  When you contact the referral, be sure to let them know who referred you. This lends social proof: it offers context, and makes you less of a stranger… As a courtesy, of course, be sure your referral knows you’ll be calling the potential business lead.

Honestly, if you don’t have a mentor, or a professional “learning partner” that you can reach out to for professional advice, you need to find one. Choose mentors at a more level than you. Learning partners can be at the same level… Mentor relationships can be formal or informal, consistent or sporadic. You and the person you want to work with, can work out the rules. I’ve been fortunate enough to have had two long-term, professional mentors and a learning partner over the last 20-25 years. Every time I’ve been in doubt about anything professionally, I’ve turned to them for their counsel, and always reciprocated when I could! They, and the practice itself, have served me exceptionally well.

Finally, there’s accessing the hidden job market”, through making cold contacts of your own. It’s nowhere near as hard as you think. But it does require strategy. Which requires homework. But it’s the sweet spot…so…follow along next week for more.

Pro Tip 2: A word about social equity. Your contacts in business are your LIFELINE. You must maintain them. You must reciprocate. And you must deliver. When business contacts “back you”, they are putting their professional names on the line… Do them proud! Bring you’re A-game to the equation. Reciprocate. Learn, grow and develop/move forward in tandem with your peers! Don’t just stand not the sidelines, contribute to your industry! Find your tribe, and join them! | 416.533.6788