An Effective Job Search - What Works and What Doesn't
How Does the Job Search Pyramid Work? Stage One

How To Use The Job Search Pyramid To Stand Out

Climbing the Job Search Pyramid

Your job search may already feel a lot like climbing a mountain.  Yet you may not have realized that some pre-planning could help make it easier.  There are some stages of your climb when you won’t need a lot of help; in others, you could really use a better map, advice from other climbers, and improved equipment.  If you choose one specific stage of your job seeking climb of which to focus, you’ll be able to put the extra effort exactly where it is needed.

While each person’s job search is unique, you may be surprised to learn that the general route every job seeker follows is the same.  The “Job Search Pyramid” provides a map of the journey ahead.  The Job Search Pyramid is made up of five separate stages:

  1. Knowing what you want

  2. Finding opportunities and contacts

  3. Applying to employers

  4. Getting interviews

  5. Getting a job offer and landing the job

There is a series of typical activities that takes place in each stage and these activities can change from person to person or job to job.  Knowing more about how the Pyramid works will enable you to determine exactly where to focus more time and energy in your job search.

In the Knowing what you want stage, you define the type of job for which you are looking.  In creating that definition, you are determining which positions, organizations, and industries match your unique and marketable skills and fit with your personal vision for your career.  Just as a company targets the market that is best suited for its products, you also must make choices about where your skills, abilities, and desires will fit best.

Once you know what type of job you are seeking, you enter the Finding opportunities and contacts stage.  In this stage, you look for people who can help your job search and for specific job opportunities - advertised or not.  Advertised positions are found through Internet job boards, trade journals, recruiters, agencies, and your personal network.  Unadvertised positions are those you discover through networking, referrals, research, and contacting employers directly.

In the Applying to employers stage, you make contact with companies regarding the opportunities you have uncovered.  The work “apply” isn’t  meant to suggest you are necessarily filling out applications or sending resumes to human resource department, although you might be.  You also apply for advertised and unadvertised jobs by placing phone calls, writing letters and email messages, and scheduling meetings with people who are in a position to hire you.  These people may be individual managers, not human resources staff.

In the next stage, Getting interviews, you persuade organizations to interview you.  The interview may be formal or informal; it may take place in person, over the phone or in video chat sessions.  During an interview, you discover an organization’s needs and desires for a position and demonstrate how you can meet them.  You may have multiple interviews with a number of people from the same organization.

Following up with contacts and opportunities is important at any stage of the job search process, but it is in the applying and interviewing stages that follow-up becomes crucial.  You’ll need to follow up with your referral sources, hiring managers, recruiters, human resource staff, and any other key players.  This is how you will keep your job search in constant motion and avoid getting stuck.

In the Landing the job stage you manage your job search successfully from the point of being interviewed to receiving a job offer.  When you get an offer, you may need to do some negotiating.  When you don’t get an offer, you’ll want to follow up to find out how you compared to the other candidates and what held the organization back from hiring you.


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