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3 Pieces of Timeless Job Search Advice


If you haven’t looked for a job in the past fifteen years of so, you might be overwhelmed with some of the current advice: Post your résumé on all the online job boards! Get on LinkedIn! Use lots of keywords!

Some aspects of today’s job search process are different now, it’s true, but let’s focus some attention on the wisdom that still applies, regardless of your industry, title, or stage of career:

1. Leverage your contacts. Also known as the gem “It’s not what you know but who you know.” Cynics can roll their eyes, but the fact is most job openings are filled (at least informally) long before the postings hit the job boards.

Given the cost of hiring and training new people, employers are naturally more inclined to give valuable interview time to those who come already recommended. So talk about your job search goals with people you know—neighbors, church friends, former colleagues, your hair stylist, etc.

True story: A former client of mine told his physical therapist about his hope to transition to a job in sales. Turns out, the PT’s spouse was a sales manager who casually mentioned to his wife that he would be looking to bring on another rep soon. The job wasn’t even posted, but connections were made and, eventually, a job offer was extended. You just never know.

2. Think like an employer. Naturally, you think a lot about what you want your next job to look like: higher income, more job satisfaction, better work/life balance, etc. It’s about you.

But employers have their own set of concerns. Shift your focus to what the employer needs, especially in the early discussions, and then position yourself as the answer to those needs.

One quick example: A client with a (long ago) background in restaurant management read some Yelp reviews on a new-ish eatery. Most commenters loved the food but bashed the service. My client contacted the owner, pitching herself as a transformational trainer/manager who could deliver positive change in this area. The owner had a problem; my client had a solution.

Thinking first of the owner’s needs got her invited in for a conversation that, yes, led to a job offer. At that point, when the owner recognized her value, my client was able to negotiate the issues of scheduling and pay that mattered most to her.

3. Actively search. Posting a résumé to a job board and hoping for a phone call is not a sound job search strategy. If you’re unemployed or underemployed, make looking for work a priority. Spend time every day researching opportunities, contacting people in your network, applying for jobs, and following up.

If you need a new résumé to go along with this mindset, give me a call.  I’ll be happy to help, and we can talk about LinkedIn and keywords and the best use of those online job boards, too.