Job Search Best Practices – Keys to Landing Your Next Gig

Hire MeOkay, folks, it’s true: losing your job can be a devastating experience. You can expect to go through a range of emotions, high and low. Chances are you will cycle through anger, fear, bafflement, acceptance, relief and even exhilaration. All of these will affect your mood.

However, your mood will not help you find a job. So, what will you do? Will you scan through the newspapers every day? Or, do you plan to fire off your CV or resume to prospective employers? Will you try to phone recruitment consultants–who may not even answer–because they are also laying off staff?

Well, guess what? That’s what everybody else is doing, and look where the crowd has landed up–in a limbo. Do you really want to be like them?

Or, will you choose to take a more proactive approach?

Proactive job search methods are different.

They include (but are not limited to):

  • Networking for introductions to decision-makers in the company of your choice.
  • Approaching employers directly.
  • Volunteering for unpaid work experience in the expectation that your value to the company will be discovered and you will be offered a job.

Using a proactive approach to your job search increases the likelihood that you will be one of only a handful of applicants for a job. And the fact that you demonstrated initiative will stand you in good stead. Effective targeting is one of the two essential components of your job search–the other being, well, first-class self-presentation.

Target and Research

You cannot be proactive without targeting accurately, because you won’t know where to target your efforts. In order to target well, you need to know what companies are out there, and what you offer that they need. This means that you need good research.

Whichever industry or sector you are seeking to work in–whether a private company, public company, or voluntary organization–you need to know who the main players are, what is happening in their business or activity at the moment, what weaknesses they have–which you will be able to strengthen–and who their key decision-makers are.

Keys to a Successful Search

A successful job search requires you to carry out several activities simultaneously. Thus, you will need to be adaptable, flexible, imaginative and creative.

There is little doubt that networking is the most effective method for securing a new position. However, many people tend to shy away from it. After all, networking does not appear to be the first thing on your radar screen.

Even so, estimates among career professionals indicate that between 50 to 70 per cent of people get jobs through their contacts, and this figure rises even higher during recession.

By contrast, less than 20 per cent get their jobs using recruitment agencies or responding to advertising.

It is obvious why networking is even more effective during a recession. The very activity of recruiting someone is expensive. So, when times are tough–and firms are not sure whether they really need to fill a position–that can be enough to make them decide against creating a vacancy.

However, if you introduce yourself to them, and you have what they need, there there is a possibility that they will decide to give it a go and take you on a trial basis.

Networking gets you access to vacancies before they are advertised. Possibly, even before they are known. Once the recruitment process is in the hands of the HR department, it becomes much harder to secure an advantage through networking.

Try to establish contact while the recruitment process is still in its earlier stages. Networking is not about asking and taking. Rather, networking is a collaborative activity and it is self-perpetuating.

As you do it more, so your network grows, and this opens up opportunities that would not otherwise have presented themselves. Yes, even those opportunities which arise completely out of the blue.

Crucially, people generally like to help others if they can, especially if they can give advice. This is important to bear in mind. When you network, you are not asking for a job. Rather, you are asking for advice and expertise of a third party.

If you ask for a job, the process can lose steam: if someone can’t offer you a job, well, they can’t help you. So, don’t let fear hold you back. Just go out there, network, and  it is only a matter of time before your career takes off.

About the Author: Archan Mehta is a freelance writer, outdoor enthusiast, meditation practitioner, foodie, and  hobbyist, but does not maintain a blog yet. However, feel free to write to Archan at:

Photo Credit: Photomish



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