AOL, getting film developed, Blockbuster stores, paper maps, the classifieds, pay phones and phone books, fax machines, record stores, …
AND how you searched for a job 3 years ago.
If you don’t know what all these things have in common, put your flip phone down and hit pause on your VCR or CD player. For everyone else, you know all of the above are obsolete. Sure, they exist somewhere out there in the world, but either they are highly inefficient or just broken.
This week, I will be beginning my next great adventure at PerkStreet Financial, and finding this fit was an adventure all on its own. The past several months have been a roller coaster unequalled by anything I would have predicted. The highs of freedom and new opportunities were amazing. The trials of hope rejected pushed my mental boundaries. Throughout the ride, I’ve kept a running list of what worked, what didn’t, what was broken, and other lessons learned from the ride.
LinkedIn is the most important social networking tool. (PERIOD) – It is also your most valuable job search tool.
Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, WhatsApp and whatever else can go away or be replaced without much impact, but LinkedIn is the PDA, rolodex, resume, community, business card, job search site, search engine, presentation portfolio, and subtle introduction of today. No other tool is as powerful and useful to a person in search of a position. Whether you are employed or looking, you should be maintaining LinkedIn DAILY. No, it is not the sexiest application, and you don’t get to play games or see what your ex-girlfriend is up to today, but unless you plan on never being downsized, laid off, fired, bored with your current company, or change your mind, it is critical to your career.
My best LinkedIn practices:
- Always start with the company search, and see who you know or who you know has influential relationships. If you see posting from another site, never apply without exhausting all of your LinkedIn resources first.
- Pay for the Premium Job Seeker services – you end up higher in recruiter search results, can see who has viewed your profile, see if changes to profile change your views/day, prioritized applications upon submission, job seeker badge
- Link In with every person you meet and have a conversation with at an event. Make sure to write a note in the LinkedIn invite relating to your meeting.
- I found their job search functionality as strong as the best job search sites
- Provides fantastic research on companies and people you may be interviewing with
- Becoming a “go-to” place to curate content from (especially with new mobile app)
- Groups and the discussions within groups provide great ways to make introductions to people
- If you have presentations available to view, add to slideshare.net and you can add it to your profile
- Follow the companies you are interested in working for, content is pushed to you
Learn how to Inbound Market yourself
When you are looking for a position in your field, you are essentially trying to sell yourself. Just like a Marketing/Sales funnel, you need to create awareness, develop consideration, create intent, and hopefully sell the interview and yourself. Mailing a copy of a resume makes as much sense as direct mail. Sending your resume to someone in a company without a relationship is a kin to spam. Finally, banner ads have a better success rate than randomly submitting information to Monster or Careerbuilder. Hubspot defines inbound marketing as the process of using content, social media, search engine optimization, email, lead nurturing, and marketing automation to attract and retain customers. In the job hunt process, the companies are your customers. Individuals or companies that come to you based on prior experience or word of mouth are much more likely to consider you for hire, even when they do not have the current need.
Inbound Marketing should start well before you ever need or go looking to be employed. During the past couple years, I have made a number of relationships (and friends) that stemmed from a piece of content I created or curated. Many of those relationships help make introductions to influential hiring personnel or were the hiring managers. The content you create or curate helps develop your credibility and trust with peers and individuals within your industry.
Best Practices in Inbound Marketing for hire
- Re-read everything you just read about LinkedIn above
- I am assuming you have something to say about your industry, find a platform that allows you to express your thought leadership (blog, video blogs, speaking opportunities, use slideshare to show off your presentations, comment in communities, twitter chats, speak up at events, etc…) Not only will this build your resume, your content repository, your digital rolodex, but it will give you something to do during the doldrums of the job search.
- Curate content – use tools like Flipboard or Feedly to find articles from other authors you find to be thought provoking, and share on or with your professional networks. Thought leadership by association.
- Just like Marketing and Search Engine Optimization, your information need to be searchable. Make sure your information and resume is available on the major job search sites, such as Monster, Careerbuilder, ZipRecruiter, and Experteer. Make sure you resume includes the keywords that you believe will drive the recruiters to your phone.
Other Quick Lessons Learned
Know Your Audience:
- Are they a progressive company with a casual dress code?
- Even if they are a progressive company, is the person or people you are meeting with more traditional?
- Do you know someone at the company who can give you an inside to the company’s hot topics?
- Find something you have in common with the people you are interviewing
Job Search Sites: Use job search site email subscriptions and job alerts to help you learn about new companies and to learn who is hiring, but use your relationships and research to apply. Applying online for through the company’s website or a job site should be your last resort to engage a company.
Job Title Discrimination: Don’t pass over a company because the job title is “beneath your level” or “too far above your current level”. If the company is interested in acquiring great talent, they will gladly have the conversation with you. You can always negotiate title.
Priorities: Before you even start your search, be clear with your priorities in your next great opportunity. For me, my priorities were as follows:
- A company with a culture and values that fit my own
- A role with the right scope and velocity (velocity – I wanted high growth)
- A company and a role where I can do work that is bigger than myself
Mobile: There are plenty of tool to conduct your job search on the run. Go ahead, hit the beach or go skiing; you will not have time later, and most apps are fully functional.
Human Resources has forgotten they are a customer facing part of the organization: This topic will need a whole customer service post on its own. Take a minute to understand how many people apply to a company in a year, these are all potential customers or people who can refer your company, how are you treating them? Do you even acknowledge their application beyond the automatic email reply?
Finally – it’s a mental game. Find resources to help you with the ups and downs.
I hope these lessons I have learned will help you in your eventual search. Odds are you will not be with the company you are currently with for the rest of your worklife.