I talked about using job postings and job alerts in my job search. Yes, I could have networked. In fact, I did go to a couple of meetups of product managers. But I am an introvert and going to a new group of a bunch of people with shiny business cards was not comfortable for me. I would go to as many as I could, I told myself, but they were about once a month, and I didn’t want to make slow progress based on their schedule.
I was also reorganizing my business and figuring out which of my tasks to turn over to who, and what projects to finish up in hopes that I would have a job, and what systems to put into place so things could go smoothly while I was gone. I was enormously busy and very focused on getting my own house in order.
So, I turned to job boards to see what good alerts I could create. I had learned years ago that browsing job boards was a huge waste of time. Not to mention the emotional roller-coaster that you rode throughout the day (oh! This one is perfect!). Instead, I used the alerts to do the looking for me and just spent a minute each day seeing if there was anything interesting.
I found that LinkedIn had the best postings FOR MY LEVEL AND LOCATION. I’m not saying LinkedIn will be best for you, but it was for me. There might be a better board for you based on where you are and what you are looking for.
When I saw a job that looked good I’d spend the time applying (which has got to be one of the lowest points of a job seekers day… the online application process still sucks with too many job board software platforms). But I’d also go onto LinkedIn and learn what I could about the company and look for networking opportunities and introductions. I’d go to the company website and learn about what they do and generally soak up anything I could about the opportunity.
I remember one company had a picture of their company meeting… it was a 50ish year old owner and all the rest looked like they were 20 year old cross fit people. This was a software company. It was the one place I applied where I thought there was no way I’d get in (I am 44 and was recently diagnosed with “Dad Bod”). And I didn’t.
I was very interested in two companies that are practically in my backyard. I wasn’t bought into their culture or their products/offerings (not a meaningful change the world opportunity, which I was interested in), but the commute!!! To die for. I watched those like a hawk but unfortunately didn’t get far with either of them. I have close friends that work at both companies but frankly that didn’t help. (I didn’t leverage them much, though)
My strategy was to use the job board tools as tools, not as my lifeline, and then do other things that were important (for me: wrapping up and transferring many duties at JibberJobber, which I still oversee). When you build a project you have many tools, and you use them each for what they can do. Job boards are a tool not to be ignored, but they aren’t the only tool.
Speaking of tools, one night my wife asked me “are you using JibberJobber to track all of this stuff?” The answer: Yes, of course, definitely. All of the important and relevant stuff I was doing in my job search was put into JibberJobber. Definitely. It was cool to use my own product as a real job seeker 🙂