Like marketing a business, finding a job requires taking massive action and doing many things at once.
I'm currently on the hunt for my next job. If you're in this position, or think you're about to be, here's my advice to you based on what I'm doing.
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Before You Start
Before you get started on your job search, clean your house, apartment, home office, or whatever space you'll be using for your job search. It's beyond easy to get sidetracked, and when you walk around your place and see all the little things that need to get done, they can easily become the priority. Our egos like to keep us comfortable.
Finding a new job is not comfortable – it's a lot of work. However, it can, and should be, fun.
Get Clear On What You Want
There are two things you want to be crystal clear about:
- The type of job you want
- The type of company you want to work for
This is especially true for people like myself who have experience doing a lot of things.
I recently heard an interview with Dan Schawbel where Dan said that companies look to hire specialists. I heard essentially the same thing from Sean McGinnis. This makes focus that much more important.
Focusing doesn't mean you'll get pigeon-holed into a job you can't expand out from; instead, it ensures you don't get into a job you'll hate.
Before you start doing any type of job search, write down what it is you really love to do, and who you want to do that for. We'll call that your focus area.
I love the psychological aspects of marketing, and figuring out what moves people to action. I love gathering, munging, and analyzing data. I love constantly creating, launching, and then optimizing multi-channel marketing campaigns to increase conversions. I also love talking with people to find out what makes them tick. I want to do this for a company creating a software or hardware product.
Update Your LinkedIn Profile
Once you're clear on what you really want to do and who you want to do it for, update your LinkedIn profile to match.
Start by creating a summary statement that gets to the heart of what you love to do. Use bullet points to highlight key aspects of your experience.
Next, go through all of your past jobs, updating the descriptions to emphasize the experience you have in your focus area (what you really want to do). As with your summary, use bullet points to bring attention to key experiences and achievements.
As an example, on my LinkedIn profile, the highlights I include from my time operating Dempsey Marketing are:
- Worked with the VP of Marketing at The Canfield Training Group to develop and launch the new JackCanfield.com website
- Helped Pete and Dean of SagePresence achieve 3, #1 rankings on Amazon.com within 48 hours of the launch of their book – Winning Presence for Business Presenters
- Made extensive use of the WordPress publishing platform for building client websites
- Built the company while living with my family in Chiang Mai, Thailand
I selected these because they show that I worked for big-named clients (Jack Canfield), and helped clients achieve serious results.
As an additional bonus, try to get as many recommendations for each job as possible. They instill more confidence in potential employers.
Export Your LinkedIn Profile to PDF
Once you've updated your profile, use LinkedIn's Resume Builder to easily export it to PDF. Most job sites I've seen will accept a PDF of your resume. It's also very easy to email to people.
Create a plain-text version as well. Some job sites don't connect with LinkedIn, and don't allow uploads. It's those times when a plain-text version of your resume that's well formatted comes in to play.
Set Up Your Job Finding System
It's pretty likely that you'll be applying for more than one job, so it's a good idea to keep track of everything you'll be doing. Enter the job finding system, or JFS for short.
The geek in me wanted to create a full-blown web application. I opted to keep it simple and use Evernote instead, saving myself a few days of work.
My structure in Evernote is simple:
- City (If applying for positions in multiple cities)
- Company Name
Here's a screenshot:
For each job posting, I've turned the job title into a link, or included it beside the job title.
Search For Jobs On LinkedIn
Note: some of the features that I show you require a paid account. When looking for a job, I highly recommend upgrading to a paid LinkedIn account.
Use the advanced search on LinkedIn. This will help narrow your search by location, distance, salary, keyword and much more.
Once you have a list of jobs, save the ones that look good for further review.
Enlist The Help Of Your Contacts
While searching LinkedIn and job boards is good, finding a job through your contacts is even better. There are two ways they can help:
- Connecting you with someone inside a target company – this can fast track your resume
- Informing you of jobs that companies haven't yet posted
When getting in touch, be very specific on what you're looking for, and how they can help. Also, provide them with a copy of your resume so they don't have to ask.
Calling All Recruiters
Recruiters are like lawyers – people don't like them until they need them. Well, I love lawyers, and I love recruiters.
Never discount recruiters. Some companies use them exclusively to fill vacancies. Also, they often know of jobs you don't have access to.
One local (D.C.) recruiter that I like working with is Rob Echter. Rob and I met at a tech conference, and immediately hit it off. When I was in Florida, I had a great relationship with Chris Coddington. Both of these guys aren't your typical recruiters, and you should have them in your network.
Before You Apply For That Job
Make A New Friend
If you're connected with someone inside a target company, great, you're ahead of the curve. Ask your contact to connect you with the hiring manager.
If you don't have a contact – get one. Something that I've been doing with great success is finding the person either directly involved with the job I am applying for, or someone in close proximity.
For example, if you're applying for a project management position, and can't get in touch with a hiring manager, see if you can talk with another project manager or someone on the IT staff.
Three reasons I have for making a new friend are:
- I can find out about the culture of the company before I apply. If it doesn't sound like the type of place I want to work, I've saved myself time, and not wasted theirs.
- When I write my cover letter, I can mention my new friend by name, and say that I spoke with him/her.
- If you really hit it off, they might forward your resume internally.
Create A Series Of Cover Letters
Every job is going to ask you for a cover letter, and you should always have one. Create a “generic” cover letter that you can then customize as necessary.
Your cover letter should get right to the heart of the matter – who you are and why you're applying for the job.
Once technique I've been using in my cover letters is to tell a story about myself that demonstrates the type of person I am, and how I operate. It's the next best thing to an employer being able to try me out.
I suggest writing down a few stories like this for yourself, and then choosing the one that fits best with the job you're applying for.
Note: ALWAYS proof read your cover letter. When you mention companies and people by name, it can be easy to forget to change them. Telling company XYZ that you're excited to submit a resume for company PDQ is a major no no, and will cost you the job.
Update Your JFS
For each job you plan to apply for, create an entry in your job finding system (JFS). Be sure to put down your contact(s), the position(s), and the initial status.
When You Apply
For each job you apply for:
- Customize your cover letter for the job and company. If you spoke with someone, mention them by name.
- As much as possible, try to have someone inside the company forward your resume and cover letter to the hiring manager. This helps ensure that you “stand out” in the potentially hundreds of resumes they'll receive.
- Keep track of everything in your JFS – all emails, phone calls, visits, application submissions – everything
In addition, ALWAYS HAVE A CALL TO ACTION.
Don't leave a response up to chance. Ask for the person to call you, or better yet, let them know that you'll follow up with them on a certain date and time. And then do it.
After You Apply
After you apply, it's all about the follow-up, and scheduling the initial interview.
Try something non-traditional, like mailing a letter or postcard. If you send a letter, include a copy of your cover letter and resume.
Keep track of the job. Job postings on LinkedIn expire, however I've seen a number of jobs reposted. Be sure to watch the job board and the company sites to see if the jobs still exist.
And of course, keep track of all communications in your JFS. It's important to know what you've done for each job, so that each day you can scan your history, and perform the correct next step. This also helps ensure that you don't send communications too frequently.
What Not To Do
Success is more than knowing what to do, it's also knowing what not to do.
Don't freak out and apply for other positions. With your background, you might be able to do many jobs. However, if you've taken the first step and become really clear about what you want to do, will doing something else make you just as happy? I doubt it.
Don't freak out and start calling the same employer everyday. This puts you in a bad negotiating position, and also shows desperation. Desperate people make mistakes, and this would be one.
Don't become a shut in. Finding a new job can be a full-time job. However, don't let the search stop you from continuing to go to meetups and other events. Go out and network. Get out from behind the computer and tell people, in person, that you're looking for something new. Unless you tell them, they can't help you.
Don't sit alone and feel sorry for yourself. Nothing, and I mean nothing, happens as fast or as soon as we would like. That's life. Sitting alone and feeling sorry for yourself, while comfortable, will permeate everything you do. It will show in your writing, and your interactions with others. I know it's hard, but maintain a positive mental state.
Maintaining A Positive Mental State
Keeping positive, for some, is easier said that done. Some days for me are more challenging than others.
One thing I learned from Jack Canfield is that life will have its ups and downs. The goal is to be able to recover faster from the downs so we can have more ups.
Methods I use to stay positive are:
- Surrounding myself with supportive people – the more the better.
- Daily meditation to quiet the mental chatter, or “monkey mind” as a friend of mine used to call it. This also helps with patience.
- Listening to various BrainSync tracks to alter my brainwave patterns. This might seem hokie as hell, but it works very well.
- Continuing to move forward. The less you do, the more time is available for thinking yourself into depression. There are only two directions to move in – forward and backward. I suggest forward at all times.
- Exercise. Exercise can keep your mind clear, free, and in working order. Hard for us computer geeks, but definitely a necessity.
If so, I could be your man!
I'm looking to work at a growth-focused product company with a defined vision and clear goals. I can bring more than 14 years of entrepreneurship, technical expertise, marketing acumen and a get-shit-done attitude and modus operandi to bear.
I specialize in direct response and inbound marketing.
I take a goal, translate it into a strategy, implement the tactics, and then continuously measure and improve the campaigns to further achieve that goal.
If you need someone who can talk business and geek, understands social media and PCC, digs into research like a dog hiding his favorite bone, who loves to write copy that gets conversions, and loves to work with others, we need to talk.
Call me now at 507-441-8023, or use my contact form to set up a time to speak.