Yesterday a #BabyBoomer called me with a question that many of you might be tossing around. Sandy asked, “I really dislike my current #boss, and I want to leave this #job, but should I just be grateful I have a job and not try for a new one? The #pandemic has caused so much bad news about company closings, reduced hiring, and my brother just lost his job. It has got me down, so should I stop complaining, suck it up, and hang on for another year or two until times are better?”
Sandy’s fear is understandable. She thinks that few employers are hiring, which is not valid. I never advocate for anyone to remain in a miserable work situation. Understanding she needs a paycheck, I suggested that she test the hiring waters to see if her skills are in demand. I reassured her that I’ve just had four clients get hired for great paying jobs. Two were Baby Boomer professionals making over six-figures. Another was a 2020 grad getting an excellent opportunity to launch his #career in a field he wanted. Lastly, the mid-level client who got the remote job he wanted. There are new opportunities available. So, don’t assume all the bad news means you can’t land a better job – YOU CAN! It will take more time than before. You must use some job search savvy and know what is effective and what doesn’t work. You need to take the calculated risk and see what develops. I think you’ll be surprised by the positive results if you implement the right #jobhunting strategies.
What is the ideal strategy to land a new job? The answer is being referred to the #company and the hiring manager by an employee or colleague they know. Jobvite, a talent acquisition system reported that employee referrals only make up about 7% of potential candidates, but the number of those referred candidates hired is 44%. 44%! That makes this well worth the effort to try and locate a connection to someone inside the company. #LinkedIn is the ideal place to search for contacts and obtain a referral.
In today’s challenging economy, people who learn and use networking techniques will be those that succeed. But for some people, the task of networking is hard to do. Ken was a Program Manager for a tech company who had lost his job because of the #Covid #pandemic. He became a client and told me he had no network to speak of. Ken had no LinkedIn profile and did not belong to professional or civic organizations. An introvert, Ken disliked the idea of networking, but he did email a few colleagues and his old boss, but no one had any job openings, so he stopped. We started our #career counseling sessions by educating Ken on what today’s #jobsearch involved.
First, I wrote him a powerful #resume, and then we developed a complete LinkedIn Profile. I gave him the mission to make connections with a target of obtaining at least 300. Next, we worked on having him learn some effective #networking strategies. He was surprised by the fact that according to a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and Yale University report, 70% of all jobs are found through networking. Learning more effective techniques, he began again. The changes he made worked. Recruiters contacted him, and an old colleague he found on LinkedIn passed on his resume for a great job opportunity at her company. The employer called, and after several interviews, he was selected and hired for a terrific new job.
Today’s job market requires you to approach the job hunt differently than before. Here are a few tips to get started.
Increase your contacts. LinkedIn has become the place to collect contacts. An excellent way to farm for connections is to think about all the people you have worked with. Note former bosses, coworkers, colleagues, vendors, anyone you interacted with at your last job, and other positions you have held. Many people add their company’s Executive leadership team too. Next, invite your friends, neighbors, family, and college alum friends. Then branch into your professional associations and connect with those folks, especially the group’s leadership team, and board members. When it comes to networking, the more connections you have, the better.
Do not waste a contact. Do not approach people until you are ready. A common mistake is to frantically call EVERYONE you’ve ever met and say, “I’m looking for a job – do you know of one?” Huge error! You must clearly articulate the specific job title, company, and kind of company you want to work for. Instead, you can reach out to connections individually. Calls are great, emails work, and if you don’t have those, use LinkedIn to send them a message. Tell the contact you are job hunting. Be specific on the job title you seek. Ask them what is happening in their company. Don’t expect them to know of a job, but some will and usually share that information as they want to help you. Another thing to ask is if a job comes up at their company, would they pass on your resume. Most times, the answer is yes.
Have Your Resume Ready. The goal of your resume is to secure interviews. Is your resume updated and downright the best it can be? Will it get through the employer’s Applicant Tracking System? Is it full of accomplishments and the results you achieved on the job? Will it stand out in a crowd? Find out before you network. A useful Forbes article to read to ensure your resume is topnotch and will impress employers is: Employers Ignoring Your Resume? 5 Mistakes To Avoid.
Dig deep so you can use a Referral. When you hear of an opening or find the opportunity online, go to LinkedIn and search “the employer’s name” and use the “people” drop-down tab. This will bring up anyone in your online network who works there. You can also see 2nd connections and who you know that may know someone at that company. Reach out to the person and tell them about the opening you plan to apply for, and would they be willing to pass on your resume to HR or the recruiter. Some companies pay their employees for any referred person they hire, so this might help your contact too. Forward on your resume. Just to cover all bases, do apply online for the job opening also. You want to be found in the employer’s system if the connection doesn’t come through. (Most do, in my experience).
Know What to Say. Be able to offer a concise intro about your skills and experience when talking to connections, recruiters, and eventually hiring managers. A technique I call the 60 Second Sell (outlined in this Forbes article Best Way To Open An Interview To Secure A Job Offer) gives you the easy formula to create your persuasive elevator speech and verbal business card. You want to quickly outline experience, your top strengths, and some key outcomes you’ve achieved on the job as you only have about one minute to impress them.
It’s a whole new job market, so you’ll move ahead of the competition if you use these strategies.
Robin Ryan Contributor
I cover Baby Boomer careers, job search and pre-retirement topics.