Applying to job postings is not job searching. It’s applying to job postings.
If you apply to a job posting without tailoring your resume and cover letter to fit that job description, you’re probably not getting a call back for an interview.
If you don’t know anyone at the company, you’re probably not getting a call back for an interview either.
Call it unfair, call it frustrating, or call it exhausting, but you’re not getting interviews. Something has to change.
Stop applying to jobs. Yes, I said it. Stop all together, for at least two weeks.
Only apply for positions that you know you are going to get an interview. You know that because of 3 reasons:
- You’re qualified and excited about the position
- You’ve tailored your resume/cover letter/application to fit the job description and company
- Someone is waiting for you to apply. Someone knows you at the company, or you know someone that knows someone at the company. That person is waiting to receive your materials/application.
Ask yourself before you apply to any job: Who is going to advocate for me? Who is going to sponsor me? Who knows me at that organization?
Job searching is not a reactive process. Stop waiting for positions to be posted. Job searching is a multidimensional, proactive process. Start setting up your own interviews and meetings with contacts. Create your own opportunities.
You are not job searching. You are interviewing searching. You are finding people to meet with in person for informational interviews or interviewing for a position. Lean in to your contacts, as they are your introduction for these interviews.
Here are 7 ways to create your proactive, multidimensional and intentional job and interview search plan:
1. Follow Up
Why start with follow up? Because there are probably people right now that you need to follow up with and haven’t yet. An important part of relationship building and maintenance is following up with contacts, whether this be checking in, reporting back on an action you completed, connecting after a networking event or thanking them for a recent interaction/opportunity. Most of your correspondence with individuals will be a follow up in some way, so get started.
2. Identify Contacts
In improv, they say “Follow that shiny, emotional ball”. What is that thing that sparkles and makes you think: “Hmm, that’s interesting. I want to learn more about him/her.” You need to approach meeting and identifying contacts the same way. You want to sound interested and enthusiastic about approaching people. If your heart’s not in it, then don’t reach out. LinkedIn is the most powerful tool to search contacts in your network and to identify those “2nd connections”: new connections that your network can introduce you to.
3. Get Introduced
LinkedIn is great. However, not everyone checks LinkedIn every day. I don’t know about you, but I don’t add people unless I have met them in person or am being introduced by one of my contacts. Be creative on how you ask to be introduced to a new contact for a 20 minute career meeting or informational interview. When you find that 2nd connection, carefully select that 1st connection who you both have in common. Go off of LinkedIn– phone, text, email or Facebook chat that 1st connection and ask for an introduction. You are more likely to get a response from that 2nd connection because your 1st connection is one of your friends beyond LinkedIn.
4. Meet With 10 People per Week
That’s only two a day. Have a Skype/phone call with a contact in New York in the morning, and meet with a local professional for coffee at 3pm. The more people you meet, the more career advice/industry information you are given, the more referrals you are given, the more contacts in the industry you have and more opportunities you are made aware of. Stop applying to jobs, and start meeting with people.
5. Become Knowledgeable about Industries
Your job may not exist in every company, however, your job exists in every industry. You can be a social media manager at an agency, for a college, a financial institution, freelance, a hotel, etc. Agencies, Universities, Finance, Freelance Consulting, Hospitality, etc., all are from different industries and have different work environments, cultures, dress codes, measures for success, colleagues and varying degrees of work flexibility. Without realizing it, you now have to understand and be knowledgeable about two different industries: social media within the culture of the industry and company you work for. Not only is it important to identify what you like to do but become mindful of where you would like to do it.
6. Target Companies
You wouldn’t believe the responses I get when I ask people “What companies do you want to work for?” They look at me like as though they never thought about it before. Who are these companies that are your target? Google? Boston Consulting Group? FIU? The Knight Foundation? Baptist Health? On top of that, do you know who the key players are? Do you know their industry and partners? Who they hire and how to get hired? Following companies and recruiters on Twitter and LinkedIn, reading articles on Forbes and identifying who are the top companies in your region allows you to create a specific, intentional, and knowledgeable plan to target key companies in the area you are job searching in.
7. Attend Events
Think outside the box when it comes to attending events where you can meet and network with professionals. Volunteering for a local community run/walk, for example, is a great way to give back and meet community leaders. The FIU Alumni Association hosts events worldwide, connecting alumni to their Panther network. Join your professional association in your area of interest. For example, the American Marketing Association, and gain access to their community and attend local and national conferences and meet ups. Identify events in your local chamber of commerce. Create personal networking cards on moo.com, so whatever event you attend, you’re prepared.
Job searching is a process where you identify, meet with and follow up with contacts. It is not applying to jobs. And that is how you job search.