So you’re looking for work. Aside from yourself and your immediate family, who knows you’re back on the job search hunt? Are you going about things keeping your search to yourself or have you let everyone know?
Think about companies that market a product. If no one hears about the product, they can’t look for it because they haven’t the awareness that it even exists. A good marketing campaign would make sure that product is highly visible, you’d be reminded of it whenever you watched television, picked up a newspaper or went online. You’d hear the buzz from co-workers, friends and family, and then you’d get interested and want to know what all the fuss is about. In short, you’d check it out.
The way you go about marketing yourself as looking for work isn’t really any different. Therefore you’ve got to go about looking for a job using an approach that may come as unnatural to you; telling people rather than concealing your job search.
The more people who know you’re looking; and the more they know what it is you’re looking for, the better. Until you get that big break – that inside information on the job you end up getting – you don’t know where its going to come from. It could be that someone you know is in a position to hire you of course, but it’s far more likely that someone you know, knows someone else who provides the lead or gives you an interview.
Now I don’t suggest you have your resume ready for the paper boy, you leave one with the gas station attendant or leave one with your tip at the local fast food restaurant. Those people might know somebody who could help you but the odds are they don’t. That kind of broadcasting doesn’t usually end up being productive and it takes a lot of energy.
As a first step, you should know what you’re after. You need to know in order to communicate clearly with others what opportunities you are open to. The next step is to start with the people you know best in the workforce. If the job you’re searching for is in your current industry, start leveraging your contacts. When you make your connections aware that you’re back on the market, at least some of them will keep you in mind when they hear about openings. Some will even go so far as to check their own internal postings to see if there are any opportunities you might be suited for.
Sharing your CV or resume with them as a tool of reference gives them a reminder of what you’ve done, what you’re looking for and what your qualifications are. Touching base with these people on a regular basis keeps you at the forefront of their mind and could be the difference between hearing about an opportunity before the deadline passes, or hearing about it 3 weeks later at a backyard BBQ because they forgot about you.
Maybe you’re a coy one though. You know, you’re already working and don’t want to broadcast your plans to leave for some other opportunity in case you lose the job you’ve already got. Okay, let’s not tell your immediate co-workers or boss about your plans just yet. Still, there are people you can market yourself to outside your office mates.
It depends of course on what you’re after. Are you wanting to leave the department but not the organization, or are you after a completely fresh start with a different organization altogether? You may not even be searching in the same field if you’re burnt out, seeking a physical change or maybe you’re going to make a geographical move to another city.
Just as a marketing department wants to create a buzz about their product, you want to create a buzz about you. The best way to do that is to market your benefits to those in a position to buy. Think about others needs; their challenges and their goals. What is they are trying to accomplish or what problem are they trying to resolve? Do your skills, experience and qualifications put you in a place to answer their needs?
Now you arrive at the pitch. On the radio or television it’s a pretty polished ad; designed to hit a target audience with a specific message: buy this product and you’ll benefit because it does this or that, saving you time, money etc. Your personal pitch should likewise be targeted to a specific audience. If you hire me, I’ve got the background in this and that which coupled with these skills will result in me solving this problem or addressing this need. In other words, hire me and you benefit. If you can’t figure out exactly what the benefit of hiring you would be, it’s highly probable they won’t figure it out either.
Some job seekers actually have a get-together at their home and make a splashy announcement about their job search. You could do this, but it’s more probable you’ll notify people using a more conservative approach. It’s up to you of course, but I think the worse thing you can do when you’re looking is keep your search 100% private. Ironically, many job seekers do exactly this.
Networking is the key to a successful job search; not mandatory, but it definitely spreads the work and gets others involved in your job search.