Sunday, April 13, 2014

Why Apply? They don’t have any jobs posted …

I hear this all the time from those who visit with me – before I work with them. I always ask a number of routine questions to gauge one’s aggressiveness in job hunting. The questions run the course from where they are looking to how they are looking to networking, etc.

What I hear, over and over, is an aversion to connecting with companies that are not posting or advertising positions but might be a good fit for an individual. They may have the skills and abilities to contribute.

But try to get them to reach out “unannounced” to companies? It is difficult as technology has conditioned those in the job market to go to the “easy” source – job postings online. Bottom line: That’s “bottom-feeding”; looking for a job requires that you get out of that box and not just respond but market yourself.

38% - a big number

Just this past this week, in the TU newspaper, within an article on job hunting – and a good one at that. One call-out was to a survey of companies that was telling:

38% of companies continually evaluate job applicants for potential openings with their company – and they do so when they don’t have a job opening. 

In other works, they are continually recruiting. That is your market – companies where you may fit in, not just the one’s that have job opening at an given time that hundreds will apply for.  In years past, this was referred to as the “unadvertised job market”. A bad name in my opinion – better to call it the “opportunity market.  Whatever one may call it, the fact is clear: companies do not need to be advertising or posting a position in order for you to contact them. Rather – if you have a talent you can contribute, reach out, connect and introduce yourself. You will also find that companies that continually recruit and evaluate potential applicants are the companies that tend to be most interested in finding and retaining the best talent. In other words, their culture is more conducive to employee engagement and development. 

Sounds good Moran – but how …

… do I go about his, where and when.

Good questions. It begins with one developing an inventory of skills, strengths and qualifications that they can contribute to an organization:

Tangible hands-ion practice skills: Technology, mechanical, engineering, managing, planning for example

The “soft” skills: Communication, organization, listening, problem-solving for example

The “meat-and-potatoes: 10 years experience in xxx, experienced in repairing x,y z, customer service, administration, sales for example. Real experience one has done that can be applied elsewhere.  

Create a “sell sheet” - make a list of all the above you identified, show others and get their feedback – the list may grow. This becomes your go-to-market planner – a tool to use to evaluate potential employers where you can contribute.  Next – be a student of the market. Real about companies online and through media. Talk to those you know about companies that might know of where there could be a match.

And then – connect. Through LinkedIn or other resources, identify a potential contact and send your resume with a short intro email. Explain what you have learned about the company and how your skills, strengths and qualifications may be an asset. Ask for the opportunity to have a phone conversation or face-to-face meeting. This is marketing. This is “selling yourself”. This is defining yourself as an applicant who is focused and determined.

Sitting at home shotgunning resumes to online job postings and hoping something “sticks” isn’t job hunting. Job hunting is taking a strategic approach to both the market and yourself and connecting the two. That creates results. That creates opportunities. That puts you in control.

I hope you find this advice helpful. And thank you for reading this. - Dan

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