Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Strategy In Getting Your Next Job (¡Haz click aquí para Español!)

Good economy, bad economy, no economy - when job need to have a game plan to land an interview that will hopefully lead to a new position.

You need to be strategic in your search.

When a job is posted - chances are there are already a significant number of candidates lined up or worse....someone already has it.
The person(s) closest to the job are always the ones who have the best chances of getting a "sit down".

Consider this...
An announcement email goes out, congratulating your co-worker - she's moving to Los Angeles....just got a great promotion. Her last day is Friday....please wish her well!

Here's what happens next:
A) Everyone in the office who is interested, brushes up their resumes and waits for the right time (probably Monday) to talk to the hiring manager about their interest.....because of the relationship (a person you see every day, who is familiar with your work) an interview is scheduled. After all, companies like to promote from within - there is a lot to gain from that practice.

B) The next group to get a shot at the new job are people in the company (from different markets, departments). Again, companies pride themselves in providing growth opportunities to their employees (it's a great retention tool). Bringing someone from another market/department injects diversity without having to teach someone the company culture.

C) People in the office contact the members of their network telling them about the new opportunity coming up - asking them to send their resumes and making promises of personally handing them to the hiring manager. In this example you benefit from your contact's personal relationship with the hiring manager and if anything else -- pushes your resume to the front of the line.

D) This is rare, but depending on the job that is available - a third party agency is hired by the company to find the right candidate. If you get approached by a recruiter, consider yourself very lucky. The recruiter acts as your coach and really helps you prepare for the interview. Some people have agents (depending on what line of work you are int) who do the job hunting and marketing for you. They have strong networks and connections that will help you get an interview.

E) And finally....there's applying for the job posting online. If you are here -- you are four times removed from the position that's available. And I would say your odds of getting the job are 10 times more difficult.

So, here's what you need to do in order to move up from E):
-Don't apply for the job that is available on getting the job that will be open later.
-Build your network....and make sure it's current.
-Grow your brand by using social media and affinity groups

Usually companies (Human Resources Directors, hiring managers) hear from candidates when there is a position that has been posted. I suggest that you contact them when you are not looking for a job. You should reach out to a company you are interested in before hand and setup an exploratory meeting. These meetings are solely for you to learn more about the company in a more comfortable environment (Vs. a job search). Once you are in the office - that's your chance to let them learn about you. If this is done correctly, the H.R. Director introduces you to other members of that company (for you to network with)....the end result will be you moving up to C).

How many times do you meet people at social events and get their business card, only to never contact them.....this is a missed opportunity. If you organize your network correctly (and maintain it current because people change jobs often) when a position opens up - you should be able to draw from your relationships someone who can directly or by association assist you in getting to C).

Example: A job is posted with XYZ Company in New York City. You don't know anyone at the NYC branch, however - you do have a contact who works at XYZ Company, only they're based out of Chicago. You contact that person (since they are in the B) position) to help introduce you to someone who is based out of NYC. Now you increased your chances of getting an interview while at the same time expanding your network.

Even if no one in your network works for XYZ Company.....someone in your network is sure to know an employee at the company (from their own network) takes some digging, but all you need to do is connect the dots.

Finally - grow your brand. There are enough social media tools to market yourself effectively. Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter are among the most popular ones. If you use social media just for entertainment -- you are missing a great opportunity to network. Social media helps you engage people that share your interests and can help you in your job search. When a job is posted -- go to Linkedin and see if you know anyone who works for that company and if you don't -- well, just apply the example above via Linkedin.

Also, think about joining groups and associations in your field. This will help you hyper focus the networking that you do (virtually and by attending events where you can meet people in person).

The idea is not to wait for a job posting in order for you to throw your hat in the ring for consideration. On average it takes a person anywhere from 6 months to a year to get a new job. If your approach is to blitz the market place with your resume in the hopes that someone will call - prepare to be frustrated.

Here are a few links that might also help you in your job search:

If you found the information useful, consider sharing it with others.

And consider following my blog.



  1. Great article Hugo. As a young professional, I have found it difficult to get a job in the communications, specifically broadcast/media field. I excelled in my academics and have interned in a news room. I now do freelance writing and videography work. I am also constantly networking at different events.

    What advice would you give a young professional who wants to network into a more full-time career with an established news broadcasting station in NYC?

    Thank you and, again, great blog post.

  2. Thank you Julie....I'm glad you enjoyed it. It's hard to give you advice without knowing more information. The path to successful networking depends greatly on your ability to hyper focus. What I mean to say is -- forget about broad strokes and narrow your networking to a specific medium, company and position (to identify a few). If you like, I will take a look at your resume, cover letter to better understand where you've been and where you want to go. My email address is

  3. Hi Hugo,thanks a lot for the advice to be proactive instead of reactive. You have done a great job of analyzing the job posting situation. Plenty for me to ponder on.

  4. You're welcomed Meera....good luck in your search!

  5. hello Hugo,thanks very much for giving us some light not to give up because some times we are green on what to do towards getting a job and the right one and how to search for one .thank God he has directed someone(you) to give us more insight on how to excel in finding a career thanks once again for your guidance.

    1. Kemigisa -- thank of the nicest compliments I have received. Never give up - just get organized!

  6. Hugo,
    Great post!! Read several posts on how to search a job or reaching out to your network when you need a job, but none like yours, I really like the following

    "Don't apply for the job that is available on getting the job that will be open later"

    Yep!! I'll remember this for rest of professional career.

    1. Thank you, Shakrin...networking is an essential ingredient to successfully landing a job - relationships (of any kind) matter.

  7. Hi, I found your blog post from the NABJ LinkedIn page, and I found it very helpful! I am currently in a part-time graduate internship that will end soon (about 6--8 monts) and I want to be sure I am getting a head start on the next chapter of my life! Your post was the most helpful I have read in the past year on the whole process. So to piggy back what others have said, thank you! It has changed my perspective on how to approach this process altogether.

    Regards, JoAnna LeFlore

    1. JoAnna....thank you very much for taking the time to write your note. It is always rewarding to know that the information you share is helpful. Good Luck on the next chapter of your life!!! Make it a GREAT one!

  8. Jolene Wallace SharpMarch 29, 2012 at 10:34 AM

    Great post! How does this help those that are unemployed already? You're not A or B so that pretty leaves you with C or E, so the odds are already stacked against you. Am I reading that wrong?

    1. Thanks for the feedback Jolene.
      No - you're not reading it wrong.
      If you're unemployed -- in many cases, you're on the outside looking in.

      The best course of action in this situation is to draw from your existing network (previous job) and expand on it.

      Depending on what field of work you're in - the best way to expand your network is to first reach out to the members of your existing network, associations of that field and setup exploratory meetings.

      People who know you, will be more willing to introduce you to others (they know) who might help you in your search (and possibly make other connections).

      Associations of the field you're in often hold events (some training, some social) in order for people to network (again helping you expand your network).

      Lastly -- reach out to Human Resources or recruiters of the company (or positions) you are interested in. Even if there isn't a job available at the moment...reaching out to these key people for a 15-20 minute meet n greet will help you develop a relationship (add a face to an email, resume or phone call) and hopefully a more direct line (alert) when a position opens up.