A friend called me asking for advice for a friend who has been out of work for the last two months. I told him I’d write a post with my recommendations for today’s job search strategies.
Job Search Strategies Can Be Confusing
There is so much job search advice out there. You could argue for hours about a resume length, posting on job boards, etc. One of the reasons there is so much advice is because there are a lot of factors that go into getting a job. Getting a job in, say, New York City might be very different from getting a job in a small town in a fly over state. Landing your first job out of high school is not the same as landing a leadership role at a company.
You need to figure out what your “unique” circumstances are and then craft a strategy that is right for you. This might mean focusing more on a visual portfolio (if you are a front end designer) than on a resume or CV. It might mean more networking and less job boarding. Figure out what you need and then apply the right tactics to create your best job search strategy.
And then, DO IT. Learning and reading and listing is one thing, but you need to actually do it. You need to get your marketing stuff (resume, etc.) done, and then send it out. You need to talk to people. You need to get informational interviews and get into real interviews. You need to figure out your salary negotiation, list your target companies, contact people, etc. You need to get to work and get out of analysis paralysis.
Stay organized in your job search
In 2006 I conceptualized JibberJobber as a CRM for job seekers. Today, people use JibberJobber as a job search spreadsheet replacement. If you are networking at all, and are applying to jobs and interviewing, a spreadsheet gets too cluttered. JibberJobber works similar to the software a salesperson uses to keep track of target companies, prospects, meetings, follow-up, etc. The cost is $60/year.
Learn how to job search
I have created almost three dozen soft skills and career courses for Pluralsight, a leading online continuing education organization. I have courses on personal branding, informational interviews, communicating with different personalities (a critical concept for job seekers), listening skills (super critical as you network and interview), creating a better LinkedIn profile, and having a proactive strategy on LinkedIn. Those are just 6 of 36 courses… if you are interested in my courses (or anything on Pluralsight) hit me up and I might have a 30 day pass available for you.
BONUS: When you watch any Jason Alba course on Pluralsight you can self-report on JibberJobber and we’ll give you free JibberJobber upgrades. If you watch a course a day for the duration of the 30 day pass you can earn 90 days of premium on JibberJobber… making both Pluralsight and JibberJobber free to you!
Focus on networking and informational interviews
“If I had to start a job search today I would spend 90% of my time in informational interviews.” I remember saying that on stage years ago, and it shocked me. But I stand by it, even now, having thought about it for years. Informational interviews is probably the closest silver bullet secret weapon you’ll find in job searching. It is all about networking the right way.
While I love courses, I think this is a very powerful program. Basically, for six weeks I give you three things to do every day. I was talking to someone who just landed a job, while using JibberJobber and the 6 week Job Search Program, and he told me that having the three tasks per day helped him stay on track with the basics. This program is the culmination of 14 years of learning about how to help people get jobs. It is one of the best things I’ve come up with. The program is $197 for now (normally $497) and includes a year of JibberJobber. Click here to learn more.
Do research (BUT NETWORK)
Use job boards. Really. Experts say they aren’t the most effective way to land a job and I agree. In my job search I was obsessed with finding and applying to jobs online. I sat on my computer searching and refreshing and hoping and wanting to be the first to apply. Out of a ten hour day of job search (which I did Monday through Saturday) I spent most of my time on job boards. It was an utter waste of time… with one exception: I learned a lot about what was going on.
I learned which companies were hiring, I learned some names of hiring managers and recruiters I should have reached out to, and I learned what roles were in demand. I also learned, from job descriptions, what I needed to brush up on and be able to talk about. If I were in a job search today I would scour job boards and learn, but not waste time applying. Sure I would apply here and there, but not obsessively like I did before. Use job boards as the tool they are, and then NETWORK. Have smarter conversations and smarter interviews because you are current.
Understand what is happening
They say the job search is a numbers game. I say the job search is a head game. I didn’t get that until I started going to job search network meetings (I know, that was so pre-Corona!). I thought I was broken. I thought I was a loser. I secluded myself, which was bad, and I invested all of my time applying to jobs online, not getting any positive results, which was super bad. I was in a bad place, mentally.
When I went to a job club and was listening to the other 30 second elevator pitches I finally realized I was neither broken nor a loser. I was simply in a weird situation that plenty of other qualified unbroken people were in.
Not having the right perspective put me in a bad place. It wasn’t truth… is was misperception. You need to have the right perspective and understanding of what is going on or it will mess with you.
I realize today’s economy is not ideal. It is horrid. It is scary. But companies are hiring. Recruiters still have jobs to fill. Executives need help. It is a different job search than it was a few months ago, but it is not impossible.
Reach out to me if I can help…