Good economy, bad economy, no economy - when job hunting...you 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".
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 now....work 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)......it 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.