Job-Seeking Step 4: Finding Leads

Back To Main
Step 3: Crafting Your Image

You will not be able to do it all alone, and networking is absolutely necessary

  • Surround yourself with positive and encouraging people
    • Hang out with these people at least once a week to re-energize yourself for the job search
    • The ones who are worth your time will give you realistic and actionable constructive criticism
  • Ignore people who don’t have your best interests at heart
  • Find a mentor
    • They are not only essential to your growth, but also to your job security
    • The more powerful the mentor, the more success you are likely to have
  • Find people who work in the industry you’re looking to get into
    • Be sure these people are experts in their industry when they give you advice

Get ready to sacrifice

  • The biggest hurdle to the job search will be your personal weaknesses, so learn to either overcome them or conceal them
    • The only way to do it is to learn to be positive
      • Negative people are rarely hired, since they will demotivate everyone else
    • Social anxiety is not uncommon, but you need to get out of your comfort zone to land a job
      • 85% of currently available jobs are never posted
      • 80% of jobs are filled through referrals
      • You will need to send out about 500 unsolicited resumes to get one interview
      • Fixate most of your energy on using nontraditional methods to network
  • Networking is the combination of curiosity and contribution, so be ready to give
    • Many internships or volunteer opportunities will lead to jobs, so be prepared to ask about them as well
    • Sometimes you can be given the opportunity to job shadow to get a feel for the work
    • Always follow up with all contacts, even the ones that seem to lead nowhere
    • Strive for a good reputation with every person you meet
  • You need to work at the job search every single day
    • Research your desired industry when you’re not looking for jobs
      • Look in public libraries
      • Get ahold of occupational handbooks
      • Read any related business or industry magazines
        • If you need to spend money on a magazine, the expense is worth it
    • Keep your information organized for all of your leads
      • Name, address, contact information
      • Networking source and priority
      • Primary objectives for the contact
      • Secondary objectives for the contact
      • Dates, activity and results of calls
      • Status: Completed, Call Back, Will Call, Followup Date
    • Get credentials when you’re not job hunting, there are many of them that are extremely affordable or free
    • Brainstorm creative new ways to get your name out there in your free time
      • Find projects you can do to impress the employer
      • Create a hobby that showcases your talent
      • Submit articles to an industry publication
  • Networking is not about meeting as many people as you can, it’s about meeting the right people and leaving a good impression

Focus on first impressions in the job search

  • First impressions count for everything in the business world
    • You need to always maintain your image in public
  • Be brief and to the point when meeting new people
    • Don’t ask for a connection too soon, since it sounds desperate
    • Introduce yourself to someone else through a third person who introduces you
  • Any good employer will look for key attributes in a candidate
    • Character – ability to be honest and demonstrate integrity
    • Competence – ability to read a situation and act appropriately
    • Chemistry – personality fits well with others in the organization
  • You need to be solely focused on the organization you’re applying for, no matter how many other interviews you have
  • Some cultures and their expectations vary heavily by region
    • Some areas have more jobs posted on job boards, while others have almost nothing relevant
    • What is important in one area is not as important as another area
    • If there is any difference in transportation or what is appropriate, communicating your knowledge of that can go very far
    • Some attitudes are less formal and more friendly, while others are extremely serious

Look everywhere for connections

  1. First, try any word-of-mouth referrals from people you know
    • Family
    • Friends
    • Teachers and professors
    • Neighbors
    • Ex-colleagues
    • Acquaintances
  2. Next, network with strangers, keeping at least a dozen copies of your resume and many business cards
    • Be careful about how you use business cards
      • Business cards are often a useless formality, so only give them when the other person asks
      • As you meet people and connect with them, add their phone numbers to your contacts list and email them immediately to express the connection
      • Routinely connect through LinkedIn and other social networks
    • Look for creative venues to market yourself through
      • Networking events
      • Job fairs
      • Company information sessions and site visits
      • Trade shows and professional conferences
      • Join a professional association and visit their meetings
      • Your college’s career services, alumni association or club event
      • Employment agencies and contract/temp firms
      • Industry-specific recruiters or headhunters
      • Contact cities’ chambers of commerce
      • Government employment offices
  3. Look at job boards such as Indeed, Monster or Hired only after you’ve exhausted your networking opportunities
    • Message company and hiring agency recruiters through LinkedIn
    • Connect with temporary agencies to build miscellaneous work experience, but don’t expect to be treated well
    • Follow companies that interest you on LinkedIn
    • Spend the least amount of effort on online postings
      • Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) are meant to weed you out when you post your profile online
        1. 200+ applicants will post their information
        2. The first applicant will be picked within 200 seconds
        3. 100 applicants will be thrown out by the ATS
        4. 80 applicants will be removed from the recruiter’s search keywords
        5. 20 applicants will be reviewed by the person
        6. 3-6 will be selected for a phone screening
        7. 2-4 will be selected for an interview
      • Unless you have an unbelievable level of experience in the industry you’re going for, you will need to apply to specific employers
        • Go to employers’ job portals on their websites, but always add a personal touch to make your application stand out
        • Limit yourself to 8-10 positions in a week to focus more intimately on them
        • Pay attention to keywords that stand out for your particular job mix
    • Newspaper advertisements
      • Though this isn’t as common, some industries still use newspaper advertisements

When looking at any specific employer, increase your odds of being looked at

  • If you just throw a stock resume and a copy-pasted cover letter at the employer, they will throw it away in 3 seconds
    • Some hiring managers have to go through hundreds of applications a day, so an hour or two of devoted effort is necessary to not be overlooked
  • Make it a goal to become acquainted with at least 5 people who work at the company you want
    • This increases the chances of getting a good referral
  • Do your research before you make any deeper connection with the company
    • Culture
      • Mission statement
      • Values and beliefs that guide the company
      • How the team bonds and has fun
      • The benefits of being a part of the organization
      • Common characteristics of employees who work there
      • Names of key personnel
      • Their web presence and LinkedIn savviness
    • Capacity
      • The company’s major products and services
      • The size of the company in terms of sales, employment and locations
      • The number of employees in it
        • A larger company gives many more networking opportunities, which is ideal at the beginning of your career
        • Generally the smaller the company the less your pay and the more responsibilities you’ll need to take on
        • A smaller company means you’ll be working more closely with others, so consider your actual likeability
      • Company strengths
      • The company’s achievements
    • The environment of the company
      • Major competitors
      • View of the company by clients, suppliers and competition
      • Latest news reports that affects the company or is about about the company
      • Their leadership style of management
      • Their involvement in the community
    • The job itself
      • What the position involves
      • Skills and personality traits that match your specific build
      • The appropriate salary range for the job
    • In summary, be able to answer
      • What the organization does
      • What they are all about
      • The distinguishing characteristics of the company
      • What makes them different from the competition
      • The job you’d be doing
  • Make a worthwhile cover letter
    • Send in a personalized one instead of a generic copy-pasted one
      • Use each letter as a separate personable letter tailored to the job you’re seeking
    • Be direct, to the point and polite
      • Keep it focused to only 2-3 short paragraphs
      • Don’t express your interests unless it applies to the company
      • Be honest and direct with the reader
    • Use the following format:
      1. Start the letter with a strong opening
        • Instead of “Dear Sir or Madam”, call the company to find out the hiring manager’s name, correct spelling and job title if it’s not apparent
          • This shows both motivation and resourcefulness
        • Begin the letter with a compliment towards the company or its services
          • Discuss the product in the beginning and express what it will do for you
        • Use an appropriate quotation to show personality
      2. Indicate why you are writing and provide examples from your resume about how the job will fit you
      3. Mention the name of someone you already know that works for the company
        • Most employers like to hire individuals referred by their existing employees
      4. Tell them about why you will positively impact the company in a creative way
        • Ask a question about the company and answer it with what you can do
          • This is a basic sales technique to create a need and then fill it
        • Brag about the company and a specific detail that you researched
        • Show with past details your value to the company
        • Address any obvious concerns in a positive light, such as gaps in employment
      5. Restate your interest in the position and how you feel about it
      6. End with a specific indication about your followup plan
        • Give them a time and date that you’ll try to call them
        • Indicate why you are making the call (to discuss the opportunity and fit for the position in more detail)
      7. Thank the employer for their time and consideration
    • Avoid doing anything that will get it thrown out
      • Making demands or requests
      • Bragging too heavily about yourself with vagueness or hyperbole
      • Spelling or punctuation errors
  • Be intentional where you send your letter and resume
    • Don’t send it to the CEO, since that person has no time to read it
    • Don’t send it through a generic hiring portal
    • Send it directly to the hiring manager
    • Since it’s an email, the cover letter should be pasted into the body of the email, which means that email rules apply
  • Save a copy of the job description to your computer at the time you apply for a job, just in case it gets removed

If it seems too good to be true, then it probably is

  • Many scams and pyramid schemes are created to appeal to unemployed and desperate people
    • The ads will show hyper-inflated salaries or odd hourly wages
    • They will often ask you to send money or personal information up-front
  • Sometimes the “dream job” is either puffed up to look good or you don’t have the full story of what your work environment is
  • If the job keeps showing up over and over, it’s likely that there’s something bad going on
Next: Step 5: Interviewing