Now that you’ve completed (or at least dug deep into) Stage One of the Job Search Pyramid, “Knowing what you want,” you’ve graduated to Stage 2, “Finding Opportunities and Contacts.” At this stage, you begin building a network of people who can help you find specific opportunities. You decide to get involved in one of the association and/or LinkedIn groups that serve the industry in which you are interested and begin attending their meetings and/or participating in LinkedIn Group discussions and starting your own.
In your earlier research, you noticed several companies that seem to be excellent job targets. You also identified four or five key people you already know who may be familiar with the industry that interests you. You set up coffee or lunch meetings, or arrange informal telephone meetings with these people and ask them about the industry in general, the companies in which you may have some interest, and where your expertise could fit. You begin to contact the companies that interest you to find out what opportunities exist there. (Note that the word “company” here and elsewhere in my posts is meant to indicate any organization that could hire you, including nonprofits, government agencies, universities, neighborhood businesses, healthcare organizations, professional groups, and so on.)
The network you are building also leads you to a couple of recruiters or employment agencies that might be able to connect you with some opportunities. You set up interviews with them to see if their clients have any possibilities for you.
Eventually, your persistence in developing your network and making contacts pays off. You begin getting referrals to companies, hiring managers, and other influential people who have information about job opportunities in your field. Through various communication methods, you arrange meetings (in person or on the phone) to discuss what these people know about the opportunities. While you will continue to expand your network and stay in touch with your contacts as your job search progresses, you are ready to switch your primary focus from “Finding opportunities and contacts” to “Applying to employers.”
Watch for the next post on How to Use the Job Search Pyramid!
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