Monday, February 27, 2012

Are You Missing Links In Your Job Search

The last time I wrote advice for people searching for a new job I emphasized three points. In my view, you must be persistent, constantly network and maintain a positive attitude.

While senior positions are difficult to come by and competition is fierce you must continue to keep an eye out for new opportunities. There are more of them than you can imagine and they seem to be surfacing more frequently these days. Make sure you scan the boards and keep your friends, colleagues and top recruiters aware of your interests and availability.

In conversations, private or public, you must project a positive and enthusiastic attitude. No matter what the outcome of the interaction you always want to leave the impression you are on top of things. Maybe the job wasn't right for you or you lacked some key experience or certification. End the discussion with a recap of all of the good outcomes. This was a great opportunity for the recruiters to learn what interests you and for you to make them aware of what strengths and experience you do have. Suggest they keep you in should something more appropriate come along.

Networking should be the easiest thing to do. Attend professional meetings and seminars. Many are free and help you maintain or enhance your knowledge, and afford you the chance to interact with peers or industry leaders. Don't be a wallflower at these events. You never know who may be looking for someone just like you.

Use social networks to show you are interested and involved in key aspects of your industry. There are dozens of web sites where you can comment on articles, pose or answer questions and both learn and contribute to the body of knowledge. One of the best known is LinkedIn which offers many benefits to the unemployed.

LinkedIn allows you to showcase your career, with comprehensive profiles accommodating everything from education, job titles, specific strengths and awards through favorite books, movies and web sites. Belonging to groups let you zero in on disciplines or verticals in which you have an interest or ability to stand out.

But LinkedIn can be further exploited in a couple of other ways.

LinkedIn is a great source of industry information and expertise. Read what others are posting and engage in information exchanges. This can help position you as someone who is interesting and can contribute, and just may make you more attractive to recruiters who scan LinkedIn for candidates. It will help make you top of mind with other members of the same groups, industry or job functions.

Obviously, this is a place where you can scan job listings but more importantly where you can research companies of interest and the people who are in senior positions. It's simple to see if you are 'connected' in some way with the people who might be the decision maker or have influence over who gets hired.

Once you are scheduled for an interview, you want to research and know as much as possible about the company and perhaps key business and industry issues.  But you should also read the profile and know something about the people you are going to meet. LinkedIn makes it possible to find things you may have in common, ice breakers and conversation starters. Read what other people have said about them in recommendations and what they say about the people they recommend. If you are lucky enough to have mutual friends leverage the connection to learn first hand everything you can about these people.

No one can make you be "right" for the job. You either have the right strengths, motivation and fit the culture or not. But there is so much you can know in advance of meeting people that no matter what the outcome you will have a pleasant and constructive interview experience.

Captain Joe

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