3 Tips for Post-Labor Day Job Search
In the staffing world, everyone in my industry knows that September brings an uptick in hiring. Managers come back from summer vacations after Labor Day and realize that they need to hire before the end of the year.
That being said, while there will be more jobs available, they won't all translate into public job postings. In fact, the majority will be filled without a job posting going out. Why? In a rush to get the job filled, managers will rely on their own professional network (i.e. employees, former colleagues, etc.), to find the right person for their position. And, even if they are required to post their job, by the time you see it and apply, there will already be several qualified applicants in the pipeline through referrals that historically get the job.
FACT: Over 80 percent of jobs are gotten via referral. Thus, the chances of you getting hired off a job board are slim-to-none. If you are one of the millions of Americans looking for work after Labor Day, here are three tips to help you take advantage of the upcoming surge in open positions and crack the hidden job market:
As mentioned above, if you are going to wait until you see jobs posted on job boards, then you might as well not apply. By the time a job is posted, the word is already out within the company and referrals are being sent to the hiring manager. Your better option is to identify a list of core companies that you admire and focus your energy on networking with people who work there. That way, when they hear their boss say they are going to post a job, they can contact you. A bulls-eye list of companies is a list of businesses within your commuting range that a) impress you with what they do for work, and b) hire for your skill-set.
The easiest way to create a list like this is to use the company search tool in LinkedIn. Sort the companies by industry, size and ZIP Code and work until you have a list of at least 50. Then, start to look up each company and narrow the list down to 25 companies that really excite you. These become the target of your proactive networking so that you can maximize the time you spend looking for work.
2. Set up Google Alerts.
Once you create your bulls-eye list, you should take the time set up Google Alerts for each one. This will send to your email inbox any news items related to the businesses on your list. Companies that are moving to larger office locations, launching new products and services, or announcing new partnerships or major clients, usually follow up those actions by hiring more staff. You can get a jump on knowing who might be hiring on your list if you stay up-to-date on what's happening in their business. And, as an added bonus, should you network your way in and get an interview, you'll be prepared to discuss what's happening in their company and impress them with your current research.
3. Network deep, not wide.
Instead of trying to meet hundreds of people at different companies, your time is better spent trying to meet as many people as you can at one company. Here's why: When it comes time to hire, most managers will ask their employees if they know anyone for the job. It only makes sense. Why not try to hire someone that an existing employee has already met, likes and says would fit in with the organization? So, if you try to meet several people at one company, then imagine how the conversation would go when they all said they met you, liked you, and can see YOU joining the team? Plus, the more people that know you in a larger company, the more opportunities they will hear about and potentially share with you.
EXAMPLE: Hired Without an in-person interview.
Last September, I was working with a recent grad who had created a bulls-eye list with me and was working the process throughout the summer. In particular, she managed to land five, yes FIVE networking meetings with different managers at a company that she dreamed of working for. Unfortunately, none of them had an opening, but they all told her that she would be great for the organization and gave names of other people to meet with. She continued to study the Google Alerts on the company and stayed in touch with the network she created there.
In September, she got a call out of the blue from a senior executive that she had never met who ran a division of her dream company. The manager had gotten her name from not one, but several of the people she had networked with. The manager said, "I sent out an email to my team to see if they had met any talented people for a role I needed to fill quickly, three different people sent me YOUR name."
The manager proceeded to phone screen her on-the-spot, testing her knowledge about the company. My client was able to comment on news from her Google Alerts that related to what the manager was talking about. Thirty minutes later, she was offered the job over the phone. When my client asked, "Don't you need to meet me in person?" The manager said, "No. I trust my peers and like what I heard. Can you start next week?"
Don't underestimate your ability to get a job this fall. Follow the steps above and you could be in a new position before the new year.
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J.T. O'Donnell is a career and workplace expert who founded the top-ranked career advice site, CAREEREALISM.com. In 2009, she launched CareerHMO, the first on-line career care membership site which specializes in curing chronic career pain.
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