Networking

Climbing the Job Search Pyramid

Job Search Pyramid
Your job search journey 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 don't need much help; in others, you could use a better map, advice from other climbers, and improved equipment. If you choose one specific stage of your job-seeking climb to focus on, 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 every job seeker's general route is the same. The Job Search Pyramid provides a sketch of the journey ahead. The Job Search Pyramid comprises five separate stages:

1. Knowing what you want

2. Finding opportunities and contacts

3. Applying to employers

4. Getting interviews

5. Landing the job

A series of typical activities occur 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 focus more time and energy on your job search precisely.

Knowing what you want stage, you define the type of job for which you are looking. In creating that definition, you determine which positions, organizations, and industries match your unique and marketable skills and fit with your vision for your career. Just like 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 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 newspapers, trade journals, the Internet, recruiters, agencies, and your 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 word "apply" isn't meant to suggest you are necessarily filling out applications or sending résumés to human resource departments, although you might be. You also apply for advertised and unadvertised jobs by placing phone calls, writing letters, 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 convince organizations to interview you. The interview may be formal or informal; it may occur in person, over the phone, or in an online video chat. 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 several people from the same organization.

In the Pyramid, you will notice that areas labeled "Follow up" appear in both the applying and interviewing stages. Following up with contacts and opportunities is essential at any stage of the job search process, but it is in the applying and interviewing stages that follow-up becomes critical. You'll need to follow up with your referral sources, hiring managers, recruiters, human resources staff, and any other key players. Following up is how you will keep your job search in constant motion and avoid getting stuck.

In the final Landing the job stage, you successfully manage your job search from 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 determine how you compared to the other candidates and what held the organization back from hiring you.


What Works and What Doesn't in a Job Search

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You may have heard that the first secret to finding job opportunities and eventually getting hired is to connect with the people who will help you find the job you want.

Here’s the second secret: a successful job search is more like a marketing campaign than an actual search. The traditional picture of job-seeking is that you look for open positions posted somewhere and follow a formal application procedure to be considered for them. But if seventy-four to eighty-five percent of jobs are never advertised, how effective can this be? And with thousands of job-seekers applying for only those announced positions, the competition can be overwhelming.        

While a portion of your job search may be devoted to locating posted positions, the only way to beat the odds and the competition is to market yourself and find positions before being advertised actively.        

Marketing yourself as a job-seeker means locating the people who can offer or lead you to opportunities and telling them what you are capable of, over and over. You do have to seek them out—you can’t wait for them to find you. There are many ways of telling them what you can do—in person, in writing, by phone—but you must tell them. And you have to tell them over and over. No one will remember you if they hear from you only once.

Just as any company selling a product or service works from a strategic marketing plan with proper tactics to put the plan into action, so should you. In this case, you are the product. 

Finding job opportunities takes a disciplined approach using strategies that are proven to work. The three most effective job search approaches are networking and referral building, making direct contact with potential employers, and arranging informational interviews. Each of these approaches can produce:

  • Contacts—An increased number of people in your network helping you seek out opportunities.
  • Referrals—Introductions to new people for your network or people with the power to hire you.
  • Leads—Information about open positions or companies that might have opportunities for you.       

Networking and referral-building will provide you with the maximum number of all three payoffs, so that approach is ranked as the most effective. Contacting prospective employers and informational interviewing are about equal in terms of their potential gain, but contacting employers (once you are ready) is more likely to lead directly to a job.

 


Support for Your Job Search

Job Search Support
A job search buddy is a friend or colleague who also wants help to get into action and stay on track with his or her job search. The two of you assist each other in reaching your goals by setting up a regular check-in, with each of you reporting on progress, announcing successes, and stating challenges. The buddy’s job is to listen, celebrate, commiserate, and be a brainstorming partner.

Job search support groups serve the same function for a group of people who wish to work together. Again, there’s a wealth of information Online about job search support groups. Or, you may be able to find an existing support group for job-seekers through career centers, schools, and industry associations.

You can also hire your coach or life coach, a professional trained in assisting people in setting and achieving goals. Some coaches specialize in career transition and working with job-seekers. They may call themselves career coaches, job coaches, or career consultants. Ask your friends and colleagues if they have worked with a coach to whom they could refer you or perform an Internet search.

Keep in mind that support from a buddy, group, or coach does not involve in-person meetings and travel time. Many groups meet via telephone conference lines or live online chats, and your buddy or coach can work with you by phone, e-mail, or an online chat service or all three.


How a poor networking approach is sabotaging your efforts

A networking approach that's self-centered, focused on transactions over Google+ (2) relationships and indicative of a quantity-over-quality philosophy isn't going to succeed, writes Ivan Misner. By investing in your relationships and making sure you have something to offer to others, you'll be more likely to benefit from networking in the long run.

Read full article here.


Don't buy into these networking myths

Some common networking myths include that extroverted people are better at Google+ (2) making connections and that small talk is the best way to ingratiate yourself with a new contact, writes Josh Mait, the chief marketing officer at Relationship Science. "Eschew the pointless name collecting and focus instead on high-quality connections with long-term value," he writes.

Read full article here.


Are these networking habits holding you back?

Google+ (2)Name-dropping, business-card hoarding and being too aggressive about handing out your own cards are three bad networking habits, according to this infographic. Avoid people who never turn networking into tangible progress or who methodically plan every interaction.

Read entire article here.


Are you correctly utilizing these social networks?

Google+ (2)Facebook should be used as a way to exchange ideas and share opinions while keeping an eye on trends, writes Jacqueline Whitmore. Use Twitter to drive traffic to your website and LinkedIn to connect with people you trust.

Read entire article here.


How to network with strangers in a new city

Google+ (2)Ask members of your network if they know anyone worth meeting in the city you're moving to, Katherine Imp writes. Market yourself at all times by sparking conversations with people during your day-to-day activities. "Say yes to one coffee, one phone call, or one drink -- but after that initial meeting, focus your time on the people you truly want as either friends, mentors [or] business colleagues," Imp writes.

Read complete article here.


FindJobsQuickly - Quick Tip #15

Google+ (2)The three steps to use to identify hundreds of warm contacts are: 

  1. List contact groups of people you know, such as work, clubs, church/temple/mosque, etc.

  2. Create warm contact lists within each group

  3. Use your warm contacts to develop an expanding network of contacts