Job searching is not an activity that many people really think too much about. If you are considering looking for another job, most people go straight to the internet and look up vacancies on the big job boards like Seek. Then perhaps, you will look on LinkedIn (if you are a member), before looking at the classifieds in the local Saturday newspaper.
If you aren’t finding much traction, you might tell your closest friends and family that you are looking for work to see if they know of anything vacant. At the end of a long line, you might take to Facebook to advertise your interest in finding work, to expand the reach of your networking approach to seeking work opportunities. Perhaps, you will even advertise in the buy/swap/sell pages to reach a greater audience.
However, when an employer is looking for a new addition to their staff, the first place they usually go is their network: they ask their staff, family and friends if they know anyone who may be looking for work. If they strike out with their network, they post on their social media accounts and share the vacancies across their profiles. If this still nets no response, they often turn to the newspaper and then online job boards.
You will notice the difference between the two processes is characterised by a complete reversal of approach between hirers and candidates.
There’s always an element of risk in announcing our availability for new employment opportunities. If we are already gainfully employed, there is often fear of our current employer finding out and causing an awkward conversation. Or, maybe a desire to maintain courtesy and respect for our current employment can fuel a need for secrecy that impacts the utilisation of our networks in the career search. If we are not employed, there could be an element of embarrassment, of vulnerability with regards to acknowledging our status of joblessness. We could also feel unwilling to broadcast our status across our networks, thus limiting the breadth with which we seek out opportunities within our communities. Risk is a key element of job search. To overcome this, we need to face it. However, how much of it we face down is entirely up to us.
The most effective people seeking work are those who think about the process. There is a strategy to be had about job search that could mean the difference between finding out next job and not. We need to think intelligently about how we go about seeking work and this begins with considering the nature of the labour market within our drawing area. If the way we go about looking for work is generally an inversion of how employers seek out new staff, we need to rethink the way we are connecting with potential hirers, using our networks and approaching the task itself, in order to gain a competitive edge.
Talk to people – you can find out if there are employment opportunities coming up without broadcasting that you are seeking such an opportunity. Ask about business expansion, growth plans, staff retention in a conversational manner. Once you have identified businesses that could use someone with your skill set, approach them with a pitch to take you on. You don’t have to wait for an advertisement to apply.
Retain currency in market movements and know your place in the future of the space – identify how you could bring value to an organisation and then sell this value indirectly via networking. Above all, keep an open mind and look for the right company, not just the right job. For the right role in the wrong company is still the wrong job.