16 May 2014
Author: The ExecuSearch Group
May is here, which means college graduation is fast approaching for many millennials across the country. Therefore, if you are a soon-to-be graduate looking for your first job, or a more recent graduate who is ready to make a change, now is the perfect time to reevaluate the way you approach the job search. Why? It’s been estimated by sources such as AOL Jobs and the Wall Street Journal that anywhere from 50 to 80 percent of jobs are unlisted, receive little publicity, and are filled through other methods – internal recruitment, a referral from someone inside the company, etc. These listings that aren’t publicly advertised online comprise what we consider to be the “hidden job market.” If applying to online job postings hasn’t been a strategy conducive to success for you, and you’re interested in learning how to tap into the hidden job market to help you garner more leads, try revamping your search with these tactics: Research: An organized job search begins with a clear set of goals, and in order to refine your career goals, you’ll need to determine which jobs are the best fit for your skill set and interests. The internet is a great resource for reading about different positions, occupations, and industries, and can help you narrow your search. One helpful tool at your disposal is the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, which connects you with accurate job descriptions, pay estimates, and the education and skills needed to do a vast array of jobs. After deciding which positions best match your career goals, you can begin to narrow your search and focus on the specialty of your choice. Be searchable: LinkedIn, a business-oriented social networking service, is a site hiring managers and recruiters frequent in order to research compelling candidates and look for talented professionals that may or may not be looking for work. In fact, if you’ve applied for jobs recently and have a LinkedIn profile, you may have seen the faces of the hiring managers of the jobs you’ve applied for, pop up as having viewed your profile recently. Therefore, before you begin to peruse the hidden job market, it’s important to ensure your LinkedIn profile is representative of the highly marketable and motivated jobseeker you are. By building an engaging LinkedIn profile you can create a well-curated professional brand that is tailored to match the jobs you’re interested in and distinguishes you as an individual who is productive, well-written, and prepared. After you’ve outlined your professional summary, experience and education, and list any relevant skills and honors, you will be ready to not only connect with relevant interest groups, professionals, and target companies, but also to start reaching out to your existing network. Network and stay organized: Make one master list of your contacts by creating a spreadsheet on Excel to help you stay organized during your search. If you’re looking for a starting point and come up short, don’t under-estimate yourself! A good way to begin is by listing college alumni, professionals you’ve interned with, and your parents’ friends. Detailing your network in this way allows you to build a hub through which to efficiently track your networking progress. After creating your list, highlight the contacts that work in service industries, such as accounting, legal, insurance, and IT consulting. Since the nature of their businesses require them to work in close contact with a variety of clients, they may know of professionals who have needs they can potentially recommend you for. Even if the members of your existing network can’t help you directly, a referral can lead to relationship-building that can expand your network and bring you closer to finding a job. In your list of contacts, it’s important to include comprehensive notes about who the professional is, where they work, and the dates you reached out to them. Before you begin your outreach, you’ll also want to develop an elevator pitch that succinctly communicates your goals and politely inquires about opportunities they may know of, or information that can help you in your search. Follow up and rechurn the list: Persistence is key when it comes to finding a job. Follow up within 48 hours of reaching out with a phone call and ask whether your contact was able to review your resume, or if they have been able to think of any acquaintances or clients who they can put you in contact with. Two or three months from now, if you find yourself still looking, don’t hesitate to review your document of contacts and rechurn the list. It’s as simple as picking up the phone and saying “I reorganized my resume and was wondering if I could resend it to you for some feedback,” or, “I have been working as (insert title) at (insert company). During my time there I have gained experience in x,y, and z, and I have a reached a point where I am ready to take my career to the next level. Do you have any suggestions?” The job seeking process is one that calls for patience, persistence, and dedication. As a graduate, it can be challenging to play a waiting game when you feel ready to begin demonstrating your skills and knowledge right away. However, by approaching your job search practically, you can be sure you are adhering to important job search fundamentals (such as having a marketable online presence and networking) that can help you boost your career and land you your first opportunity.