For many, the goal of the job search is to land in the right job as quickly as possible. The persistent pursuit of high-value opportunities joined with purposeful networking yields the best results in my view.
But what does that mean?
A couple of definitions are in order for the purpose of this post.
Persistent pursuit: Having identified a small set of target companies and/or job opportunities, persistent pursuit in this context means spending significant time each day working on the opportunity. Researching the company, the company’s competition, networking into the company and continuing to expand your contacts within the target organization, tailoring your resume and cover letter to specific job postings with appropriate keywords, interview preparation (questions to answer and questions to ask) and salary range research are some of the activities of persistent pursuit. Understand why the position is open: Is it new or has it been recently vacated? Why did the incumbent leave? Is there a change of leadership/management that is still rippling through the organization?
High-value opportunity: A high-value opportunity is an opportunity that you are a great fit for. Do you meet 90+% of the job requirements? Does your resume reflect recent, paid professional experience in the key aspects of the job description? Is this a role that you have a strong interest in? Do you know enough about the company to know that it would be a good fit for you and the company is stable enough to meet your needs for the next several years? In my view, you don’t want to chase just any job, you want to chase the opportunity that is a good solid fit for your demonstrated skills and interests.
Purposeful networking: Identify and connect with people inside the target company. Do as many informational interviews as you can. Locate the hiring manager and other decision makers. Research the people, understand the problems and the issues that the role you are looking for would likely solve. Arrange coffee’s, lunches, happy hours with people inside the target companies and with vendors that do business with the target companies. Learn what professional groups they belong to and visit the professional group meetings. You want to be top of mind when a role opens up. You want champions inside the organization to help you get the resume in front of the hiring manager and help you navigate the talent acquisition processes.
Persistence. Have the drive and stamina to make progress in some area or areas of your short list every day.
High-Value: Determining high-value brings a sharp focus to your search. The sharper the focus, the faster the progress. You will quickly eliminate organizations that aren’t a good fit and keep you from wasting your time on activities that won’t be productive for you. You will be well positioned to take advantage of opportunities when they arise. They will be the right opportunities.
Purposeful Networking: Networking in general can be fun and entertaining, but when it comes to job search, fun and entertainment aren’t the end-game. The end-game is landing an opportunity, and that means a lot of work that may not be fun nor entertaining. It’s not just about meeting people, it’s about meeting the right people; the people that can help you get that job.
Wrapping the three elements together, a Persistent pursuit of high-value opportunities with purposeful networking yields the best results. This is a lesson I learned in my job search, and I hope you find it helpful in yours.