As New Year’s Day approaches, it is a great time to rethink your job search strategy. Yes, you have put plenty of energy into your resume and it looks sharp. You have joined a few professional organizations and attended their networking meetings. You have scoured the local and national job boards. Perhaps, all these efforts and nary a job interview to show for it. Despite the lack of interviews, you keep trying these same tactics day in and day out.
The definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
Stop the insanity by refocusing your job search strategy into a job search campaign.
The definition of a campaign, according to Google, is:
- a series of actions advancing a principle or tending toward a particular end
- crusade: exert oneself continuously, vigorously, or obtrusively to gain an end
- several related operations aimed at achieving a particular goal (usually within geographical and temporal constraints)
Your job search campaign allows you to stand out in a crowded job market – a market where the supply of jobs pales in comparison to the demand from job seekers – whether employed, unemployed or disillusioned employees.
Here are four ways you can stand out in a crowded job market.
“Give More Than You Get” networking philosophy
One of the keys to a successful job search campaign is network, network and network some more. Networking is a lot like investing in a retirement plan: you sacrifice on the front end but reap the rewards on the back end. Networking takes time. Networking takes effort. You have to push yourself outside your comfort zone. You will see results, maybe not immediately, but in a few short months of sacrifice, if done the right way, you will reap results on the back end. For example, if you see a great job come available at a target company, you can now tap your extended network to get your resume handed to the hiring manager and you can have another employee at the company send an endorsement to the recruiter.
Many job seekers have a “me” –centric networking philosophy: network with me because I need help. I am out of work. Help me find a job. What can you do for me?
Instead, try these “Give More Than You Get”” networking techniques:
- Ask questions about the other person’s background, experience and perspective
- Seek the other person’s guidance, advice and counsel
- Genuinely show interest in the other person, putting your own situation second
- Offer to help the other person in some way
Helping others may in fact be the best thing you can do for yourself! Why? It is human nature. If you help someone, they will want to help you in return.
A video resume is a terrific way to stand out. First off, how many job seekers, as a percentage, actually have a video resume? Not many. A video resume, if done properly, will enhance your personal brand, demonstrate your creativity, show your technologically-savvy capabilities and your positive, can-do approach.
With today’s advancement in consumer electronics, it is easy to put a video together with minimal time and expense. Granted, you want it to look good, so no shortcuts.
Here is an extremely clever, cutting edge video resume. Of course, this style is not for everyone one! However, consider it in the context of your job search campaign as you try to show your creativity and passion.
Visiting company location
Remember the pre-internet era where it was common place for job seekers to visit a company and drop off a resume/cover letter at the front desk and ask to speak with Human Resources? Nowadays, this practice is a lost art; analogous to a well-written letter printed on upscale stationary arriving in the recruiter or hiring manager’s mailbox. Since no one does this anymore, you stand out.
Here are a couple of specific ideas.
- Drop off your resume in a gift box so that it won’t get buried with other envelopes
- Mail a coffee mug to a hiring manager and ask if you can get a cup of coffee with them to express your interest in working for them
- Secure a networking meeting with an employee in the cafeteria at your target company so you can meet other employees, including potential hiring managers
Send out a networking journal/newsletter
Regardless of how important and memorable you think you are, as you network, the reality is that a casual connection will forget about you in less than seven days. Seven days is a really short time!
A networking journal/newsletter can help you stay connected over much longer periods of time. The journal/newsletter is an email communication informing your connections of your interests, activities and very importantly, your desire to help them. Topics may include:
- Month in Review
- Keeping Busy
- What I’m Reading
- My Professional Organizations
- How I Can Help You
- How You Can Help Me
- About Me
A networking journal/newsletter does not have to be sophisticated. It can take the form of a plain text email. You can kick it up a notch by creating a newsletter with pictures and links. Or you can go even further by creating an email campaign using HTML, like this one. A networking journal/newsletter will certainly allow you to stay in front of your network which allows your connections to help you with your job search.
As you rethink your job search campaign in the new year, consider these and other ways to stand out in a crowded job market. Here is to a successful 2011!
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About the Author
Contact me if you wish to talk with me about these or other job search strategies.
Matthew Levy is a well-rounded HR professional and career coach with fifteen years of broad experience in both specialist (e.g., recruiting) and generalist (e.g., HR business partner) roles at blue-chip companies, including Merck, Amgen and Johnson & Johnson.
Currently, Matt works full time as a Senior HR Generalist for Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research & Development. Prior to J&J, Matt relocated his family to Southern California to take a position with Amgen, the world’s largest biotechnology company, where he led the talent acquisition function for Amgen’s commercial operations and corporate staff groups. Before Amgen, Matt spent several years at Merck, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. There, Matt held a variety of positions in both recruiting and generalist capacities.
In addition to his full time work, Matt founded a career coaching practice, Corner Office Career Coaching. Matt works one-on-one with professionals and executives providing them with customized solutions to their career challenges. As a 20-year corporate HR professional with a large network who has also successfully conducted his own effective, cutting-edge job search, he is well qualified to help others reach their career goals.
Matt graduated cum laude with a B.S. in Business Management from Ithaca College. He is an actively engaged member of several professional organizations including the Philadelphia HR Planning Society where he is on the Board of Directors and the Greater Philadelphia Senior Executives Group. He also regularly gives presentations on HR issues as well as how to manage one’s career using social media.
Matt lives in Doylestown, PA with his wife, daughter and son. He jogs through the Bucks County countryside to stay fit.