The world has changed. And just as in all Nature, job seekers must adapt or suffer the consequences.
Our economy is far worse than the government reports. When people quit looking for jobs at the employment offices, after months or years of futility, the government stops counting them as unemployed. So even though it is reported that we have a 12% unemployment rate, in actuality, we are almost at the Great Depression levels. In reality, at least one in five Americans over 18 are unemployed.
When there is a job opening, almost at any level, more than 100 applicants apply. And when a job is posted online, thousands apply! Your chances of finding the proverbial “needle in a haystack” is much more likely today than finding the job you are looking for.
I help several thousand people each year find employment. I own a popular job board. And I hold job fairs across the country. Hundreds of HR managers know me by my first name. We converse regularly. And this is the wisdom that I have gleaned from them.
So what can you do? ADJUST!
One: Stop doing what does not work. – The definition of “insanity” is to continue doing what does not work and expecting good results.
Online job boards are not where you find a job anymore. They are where you find the companies that are hiring and the kind of person they are looking for. – But applying online for these jobs by emailing them your resume is almost always a complete waste of time.
Two: List your strengths and abilities.
The job you had may not be findable again. It may have disappeared or openings in that field are very few and far between. Limiting yourself to looking for that same job will probably be futile.
But you have talent, personality and /or experience that can translate into many different jobs. Right? Then it is time to open up to an array of different possibilities.
Write a one page biographical sketch of yourself and your abilities. Make a list of all of your strengths. Be more general than specific. – For instance, if you were an auto repair mechanic, instead of writing, “I know how to fix cars,” you could say, “I am experienced at diagnosing problems and finding effective solutions.”
Write down everything that you can do well, including the aspects of your personality that helps you get along and work effectively with others.
Include any experience or proof that support these statements of your personal strengths.
This page is not to be sent to anyone. It is for your own reference.
Three: Become a chameleon! Adapt to your environment.
When using job boards, look for jobs that would benefit from having a person with your experience and abilities, regardless if it is in your particular field. In fact, especially if the opening does not correlate with something you have done before. – It is time to break the mold.
Use your list of abilities and ask yourself: “How can my talents, personality and experience help this company in this position?”
Write down the reasons why you strongly believe that you are the right person for this job. This is your biography.
Of course, every application should include changes to your cover letter and resume. Customize them every time for each position.
Four: Find the name of the Hiring Manager responsible for filling this particular position.
Call the office and ask the person who answers the phone. Or search Facebook and LinkedIn for current or previous employees of this company. Write them and ask if they know who the hiring manger is and if they would introduce you to them online. – Find out the name of the person who will either forward your resume to the Hiring Manger with a recommendation or make an introduction.
Five: Begin on the social networks: Attract with bait, not a hook.
Once you find the person you need to talk to in order to get this job, start slowly and softly. Like sneaking up on a bird. – Do not begin by blasting them with your cover letter and resume. It won’t work.
Begin by introducing yourself as someone who shares mutual interests. Find an article, cartoon, reference or personality that they would appreciate receiving. Begin by giving, not asking to receive. Create some connecting conversation between you and them.
Ask questions about their field and expertise. Go into their profile and find things to praise them for or to inquire about. Continue to build a relationship with questions and comments that will position you as someone they enjoy sharing information with.
This may take two to six weeks.
Six: Tug on the line and set the hook.
After they have responded to you at least twice, then customize your list of talents and abilities to the position for which this person is hiring and send them a brief inquiry: “I am looking for this position with a company like yours. Can you suggest a good place for me to begin looking?”
They will probably ask to see your cover letter and resume. When you send it to them, ask for their suggestions on how to make it better. – Hiring managers usually enjoy giving applicants constructive advice if asked. – This is a good way to get them involved in your job search. And it will greatly increase your chances of getting the job.
Seven: Use your voice!
Once you have made a good connection online or been given an introduction, give them a call and introduce yourself again by voice.
First impressions are lasting impressions. Be ready for this call. Be awake, energetic, light and friendly; but, do not be presumptive or frivolous. Show deference and respect. But sound confident in your abilities to make a positive difference for their company.
Eight: If you do not have a job, then spend at least 8 hours a day looking for one.
Set a goal of finding and beginning 5 new hiring contacts every day. By the end of each month, you should make your goal to have begun building relationships with 100 companies.
This is the new way to find employment in the 21st Century. Ignore this reality to your own detriment. Adapt to it and you will survive.