The Best Job Search Techniques

by Don Goodman

Job Search Techniques

Hundreds of thousands of positions were obtained by job seekers last month, so employers are definitely hiring. If you are frustrated in your job search, then perhaps you should rethink your job search plan. Here is a recap of job search techniques and how to get the most out of them.

1) Job Boards

The first thing a job seeker does is head for the job boards. After all, isn't it exciting to find positions that fit you like a glove? The chief problem is that the job boards are the most competitive way to find a position and have the least probability of success - generally less than 5% of jobs are filled this way according to industry statistics. That is not to say that you shouldn't use them - it just means that they should not be the heart of your job search.

Start by using Indeed.com or SimplyHired.com as these are job board aggregators, meaning they pull jobs from all the other job boards as well as company web sites to give you a single place to find openings. Also look at Craig's List which is becoming a great place to find local job postings. And do NOT apply over the Internet. Yes that's right, pull yourself out of the big pile of resumes in HR and use this simple technique.

First, find out who the hiring manager or key influencers are. You can usually do this by going to LinkedIn.com and doing a company search. Once you have their name and phone number give them a call and say something like: "A friend told me you might be interested in someone with my background. I have (insert your 2-sentence pitch), and I have just a few questions for you." Then ask them some questions that show you've done some homework on their company. Be very friendly, down to earth and personable and build some rapport. At some point they will ask you for your resume at which point you have now put yourself at the top of the decision maker's pile and skipped the HR screeners. Using this trick can be the difference between being screened out and getting noticed.

2) Recruiters

Recruiters have about a 5-12% effectiveness rate in securing a new position for you so you should consider whether they should be a part of your plan. Here we are only talking about those who are paid a fee by the employer, and I would caution you to steer clear of those who want you to pay the fee for their services.

Start by considering whether the type of position is typically filled by recruiters. For example, recruiters will not generally work with entry level people or career changers as employers are paying them a hefty 20-30% of your first year's compensation as a fee for their finding you. Entry level people are easy to find and a recruiter will generally not offer a career changer up as a candidate if they have no track record in the desired field.

If you decide to work with recruiters, then use a service (hint: like ours) that will present your resume to the largest number. These are inexpensive and very effective, especially in saving you time. Remember that recruiters in California can be searching for candidates in Texas, so do not limit your search locally.

3) Networking

Networking is the king of effectiveness in job searching as it has always had over a 50% effectiveness rate. Especially in this market, networking should be the heart of your search plan as employers are much more inclined to hire someone who is referred to them as compared to a stranger. Networking is not as much fun as applying through job boards and requires a good deal more discipline, but the difference is not only in its effectiveness rate, but also in the quality of the job you obtain.

Most people think networking is sharing your resume with friends and neighbors but this is the worst thing you can do as you just lost control of the process as you wait for the phone to ring. Networking as a subject is a long article unto itself, but here are the key techniques.

Develop an "elevator pitch", the 3 to 5 sentences that describe who you are and why an employer should want to speak to you. Develop support materials that include a networking business card too. Also make sure you are posted into LinkedIn.com which is becoming the top networking site for professionals.

Now identify the 5-10 companies you are most interested in joining. You can use LinkedIn which sports a fairly robust company search tool to do this. Then research the company online using a variety of excellent tools like ZoomInfo, Spoke, Highbeam and many others you can easily find. Try to learn as much about the company as possible so you can impress an insider.

The next step is to identify people inside the company which you can also do through LinkedIn. Now your job is to network yourself into a meeting where you can impress them with your knowledge of their challenges, and how you can help them. Start by thinking about people you know who knows someone who is inside the firm. It's great if you can get to the decision maker and it's equally good if you can get an insider to walk your resume into their office. This is your Step 1 in networking.

Step 2 is to expand your search to other firms. Remember that good networking is asking people for advice as people are much more likely to give you advice than help you get a job. Here you want to know about industries, companies or people you should talk to who can help you focus your efforts. An easy, painless way to get going with this is to go to the regularly held networking meetings that are advertised in your local paper.

Now, if you are unemployed, plan on calling 25 people and having 3-5 face-to-face meetings per week. This is where discipline comes in, but after you have done this a couple of times, it becomes easier. Ask each person who else you should talk to and add them to your database.

In short, your job search plan should include the 3 major ways to contact an employer: job boards, recruiters and networking. Recognizing the different effectiveness rates of each in securing a new position, make sure you put a heavy emphasis on your networking efforts. Remember that although there are far fewer jobs open than last year, you only need one. Follow these steps and you will slash your job search time considerably.

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