Job hunting can be frustrating, time consuming, and at the moment, uber-competitive. If you’ve been blasting your résumé out into the job market with little to no response, you may need to step back and stop doing what everyone else is doing. Instead of trying to find a job, shift gears and focus on finding a company.
Not every company advertises its jobs publicly, and many major corporations exclusively use staffing agencies to vet employees. Instead of scattering your résumé like a dandelion on the wind, start a new search with more focused parameters.
First, figure out what you want. Ask yourself the following questions:
What’s most important to you?
- Balance of life and work?
- Working for an ethical company?
- Benefits package?
- Field work?
- Flexible hours?
Then decide what you have to offer the company? Find some target companies that have need of your skills and list what you have to bring to the table…what makes you stand out?
Once you’ve decided what you’re looking for and what you can offer, make a list of companies that fit your parameters. Then do some company research you won’t find on the corporate Web site:
- Look for online comments and complaints – and ignore any complaints that look like sour grapes written by a 13-year-old.
- Find social accounts of employees and use their posts and tweets to gauge job satisfaction.
- Make contact with someone inside the company (using social media) and let them know you’re interested in working for the company. Be positive and tell them why you want to work for the company – like a pre-interview. Ask about hiring practices. If they use a staffing agency, contact the agency and sign up.
- Don’t hesitate to ask for favors. Once you’ve cajoled your way into the heart of an employee, ask if they’d be willing to deliver your résumé to a decision-maker.
Many of the best job opportunities will never be advertised. If you’re sitting at home in your boxers, dropping crumbs in your keyboard while haunting job boards, emailing or faxing your resume to every job opening remotely within your field and getting zero response, it’s time to change your approach. Focus. Find a company with a message or approach you believe in and a reputation for delivering what’s important to you – whatever that may be. Then use every method at your disposal to get an inside track to the company.
If you get an opportunity to interview, show your enthusiasm. Tell them that you believe in what they are doing and hit on key points they are obviously proud of. Today’s corporate buzzwords are green initiatives, diversity, progressive growth, and global market. Find out what makes the company tick and learn everything you can about how they are doing it. For most people, a career is more than just a job, it’s a way of life. Unless you interview with someone who absolutely hates his job, your enthusiasm will validate his own view of the company and brighten his day. Even if you don’t get the job, you just can’t lose when you make that type of impression.