When we conjure up an image of an employable job seeker trying to hunt down an opportunity, the scene that comes to our mind’s eye will usually be of a solitary figure, sat amid a pile of jobs listings, or else scrolling through the almost endless number of jobs sites to be found on the web, in the desperate hope of finding a promising ad.
But is this what a job hunt should really look like? Whilst these activities are, of course, worth pursuing, they should by no means be the sole focus of your search, indeed, when your employable, they shouldn’t even be a priority. This comes as something of a surprise to many, especially those inexperienced at job hunting who perhaps haven’t been in the position of needing to find work before, such as recent graduates. However, though their advice may not be heeded as often as it should be, most experts recommend that no more than 20% of your time and effort should be exerted on applications sent in response to advertised vacancies.
So, what exactly are you supposed to do with the other 80% of your time? Whilst the exact proportions of the breakdown varies, it’s often suggested that about 20% go toward making speculative applications, with the remaining 60% of your efforts being dedicated to activities that fit under the umbrella term networking.
The underused tactics of speculative applications and networking can take many different forms, and even within this branch of your job search there are a many less popular alternatives to traditional methods that you should think about using. Here are just three that you should be attempting, even if your peers aren’t.
Why do people shy away from spending as much time on the speculative side of job searching than they should? Generally, it’s because they feel they’ll be ignored. After all, people tend to take little notice of unsolicited communications, especially if they are asking for a favour.
The simple solution is not simply to ask for something, but to give something, not necessarily of value, but that demonstrates your value, for free. This is all you’d be doing if you were an unpaid intern, after all, and you don’t need to be within the organisation to take the chance to impress.
Try sending an analysis of a competitor, or a heads up on an insightful article you’ve read that you think would be of interest to, for example, the head of marketing (or whoever would be most relevant to your search.
Alternatively, try creating your own paper on a current issue in your target industry and present an idea you believe could add value to the company to want to work for. Send this out, not only to prospective employers, but also leaders in the area you choose as your subject. Their opinions could be massively useful, and you may gain a great networking contact.
Talk to Ex Employees
As well as wanting somebody who has the necessary competencies to fill a vacancy, a recruiter will want to know that you’ll fit in with the company’s culture. No amount of online research can give you a real insight into this area. It’s something that, by it’s nature, you can only really understand by either experiencing it, or talking to somebody who has.
Networking through social media is increasingly being used by job seekers to forge contacts within companies they want to work for. However, it should not be forgotten that ex-employees can also give you a massive amount of insight and, in many cases, will also have the freedom to be more frank with you about some the downsides that may come with the working environment, something it’s good to know.
SEO, if you aren’t familiar with the term, stands for Search Engine Optimization and is increasingly an important art for businesses to get right, especially those dependent on their online presence.
Job seekers are often told that, as professionals, they should see themselves as a unique individual brand. Following the logic of this rather hackneyed advice, you need to try to give your brand an SEO boost, so that when you’re googled by a company, they find plenty of evidence of your credentials.
Having a strong online presence, through social media, personal blogs, guest written articles on sites written for your niche sector, can help you achieve this and can be a good networking tool, as it can increase the likelihood of people reaching out to you, or stumbling across you.
A guest post by Will Kerr.
Will Kerr writes on the ins and outs of all manner of job search tactics, with a particular focus on the challenges facing recent graduates. You can read more of his work over at job-centre-vacancies.co.uk
Thank you Will for taking the time to write this post for TheEmployable.
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