Posts Tagged ‘JobSearch’

Last week I discussed the best way to get around the salary question for online applications is to stop relying on online applications and pursue the hidden job market. This makes sense not only to get around the salary question, and the general road block of HR, but also because 80% of the truly open jobs are in the hidden job market. Before we go any further, what is the hidden job market? It is not that the jobs are buried somewhere hidden. It is any opportunity that is not currently posted on the job boards. This can consist of jobs that are in the still in the internal candidate search process, jobs that are in the process of being defined, or opportunities to solve problems that have yet to be identified in a job description. Your success in this depends on a purposeful strategy with a clearly defined goal of where you want to go. In the words of Yogi Berra:

“You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you are going, because you might not get there.”

Start off creating a list of Target Companies based, not on jobs posted, but on your passions and interests. While not all companies have job openings, all companies have problems. In order to differentiate yourself from the masses of job seekers, you need to position yourself as a solution, not a job seeker. In order to position yourself as a solution you need to know the problems and headaches of your target companies. In order to understand the problems, you need to research your target companies. Finally in order to research your target companies, you need to have target companies.

Once you have your list of target companies, begin your research, identifying their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. You can find a few resources here.

From here you are in a position to produce industry wide special reports which are great keys to get you in the door for information meetings. Use these as a launch-pad for a social media campaign to establish your reputation as a thought leader and subject matter expert in your particular niche. Simultaneously, you need to network network network. This doesn’t mean just attend a ton of networking event collecting business cards to put on your desk. Strategically and purposefully engage in professional organizations taking positions on committees and boards, so that you can work on a professional level with influential people in your target industry. For your success in the hidden job market, it is not necessarily what you know, or even what you know, but who knows you, and what their perception is of you that will maximize your career opportunities.

How are you strategically researching your target companies and spreading your reputation as a subject matter expert or thought leader in your particular niche?


 This post is from an anonymous contributor to my blog. In today’s world, the reality and facts of life are that no job lasts forever, job security is a thing of the past, and sooner or later, each and every one of us will find themselves involved in a job search, and likely it will not be at a time of our choosing, at least not completely.

There are hundreds of self-help books, networking groups and centers, and placement services, but at the St. Margarets of Scotland “Career Connections Club” we have found something that we call the “5-3-1” method. It is an essential fundamental of a search process. Without 5-3-1 or something like it, many of the other techniques and practices will dramatically diminish in effectiveness.

The simple concept is this: At all times your goal should be to be actively pursuing five target companies, three of which you are actively engaged in the candidate selection process, one of which you will receive and accept the offer.

The 5-3-1 method protects the job searcher from what we call the dreaded “1-1-0” method (also known as “single-threaded”) and the far worse “40-0-0” process. 1-1-0 occurs due to lack of DIVERSIFICATION and 40-0-0 which occurs due to lack of FOCUS. Note that there is NO SUCH THING as 40-1-1, or 1-1-1 because either the severe lack of focus, or the over-zealousness which unintentionally broadcasts desperation CAUSE the hiring managers to eliminate you from consideration. The sad thing is that the 1-1-0 person is dumbfounded and has nowhere to go when they lose, and the 40-0-0 person doesn’t even get engaged in a meaningful way, and spends all his time LOOKING for LEADS and never closes them, and gradually looses overall hope due to lack of even preliminary success.

While the there are obvious risk-mitigation and “keeping it under control” aspects of the 5-3-1 method, there are a number of other side effects that significantly enhance the likelihood of success.

  1. The “people are busy” effect: while YOU are probably searching for a position full time, and putting 100% of your time and even lots of passion and intensity into this, the people you are interviewing with are not only spending less than 100% of their candidate-review time with you as only ONE of the multiple candidates, they probably each have a “day job” of which only a SMALL SLIVER of their time is dedicated to hiring. So you are getting only a portion of their “small sliver”. If you do 1-1-0, you are likely to be a worse interviewee and a pest by email and phone because you are inappropriately highly focused on this deal. If you do 40-0-0, you will never connect and engage with these people because you are not putting ENOUGH effort in.
  2. The psychology of solid alternatives: it seems to be bad for human beings to have either “no other alternative” than the current opportunity (all the eggs in one basket kind of thing) and also bad to have “too many choices” which prevents the candidate from actually BELIEVING that one of them will happen.
  3. Leverage: when this method works best, the candidate actually is likely to end up with TWO offers, and is then is in a position to (carefully and professionally) leverage them against each other in order to end up with the best situation for himself

All-in-all, using the “5-3-1” method makes you a better candidate and increases the likelihood of success. It accomplishes this by allocating available time across several targets, and literally makes it impossible to make a number of mistaken moves simply because there isn’t time to do so. We think you will find that employing this approach works well in almost every case, and is applicable to most things that involve a pursuit process.

The job search can be so overwhelming. So many things to do! We know about the job boards, but how do you make your resume just right to get noticed? We all hear that networking is the way to uncover the hidden jobs, so we have to get out there and network, network, network. Now there is social media. How do you do this on top of everything else? Besides, maybe you’re thinking “I hate social media. Why do I want to tweet that I am eating at Taco Bell”? When faced with all these demands, job seekers feel they are spinning their wheels, like they are driving on ice, slipping in all directions, but not headed where they want to go. They know they need to do these activities, but they end up doing them just for the sake of doing them, without any real goal or measuring sticks to make sure they are on the right path. Or sometimes people only do what they are comfortable with. That is like driving a car with one or more flat tires. You may move some, but it is going to be a very rough ride, and it will be difficult to get to your destination. How do you stop sliding around or driving aimlessly on flat tires in your job search?

  1. Set your GPS. Map your job search plan. Know where you are, decide where you want to go, and lay out the map of how you’re going to get there. If you are not aiming to go anywhere, you will not go anywhere.
  2. Make sure all your tires are inflated. Know the goals and objectives of your job search components, so that they do not become an end to themselves. Do not spend all your time on twitter, or all your time going to networking events collecting business cards without any follow-up. Make sure the components of your job hunt are moving you through goals toward your ultimate destination, always moving forward.
  3. Get chains on your tires. Schedule your activity. Without scheduling, your job will loose traction! If you know you need to achieve certain tasks in your job hunt, schedule the time to do it. Scheduling will keep you from sliding off the road and into the ditch.

I was recently lucky enough to be invited to join a speakers and writers mastermind group. As my practice grows, and my opportunities for writing and speaking increase, I wanted to surround myself with some of the best minds in the area. Saturday was my first opportunity to participate. In the course of the conversation, Mark Fierle, author of Rekindling The American Dream, made a comment that really resonated with me, not only as a speaker and writer, but as an executive coach. Paraphrasing, he said that the best authors are those that are out and about, experiencing what others are experiencing, engaging in dialogue and learning about critical hot button issues. It is the same thing for job hunters. The most successful are those who are out and about, talking with key players in their target industry, communicating and learning what keeps decision makers up at night, understanding what the hot button issues are that need to be addressed. It is with this information that a job hunter can transform their branding from that of a job seeker to that of a value added solution. Do not conduct your job search as if you are under house arrest. Don’t be a slave to your resume. Yes, social media and internet are important components of what you need to do, but they are only part of a balanced approach. They can be scheduled any part of the morning or night. Get away from your computer. Get out and about. Know the pulse of your opportunities, so you can leverage your skills, passions and experiences to solve the headaches of your target company.