Depending on your profession, trying to land a job in Q3 or Q4 is tough (if not impossible). Year-end projections are in, so budgets tend to be frozen. Besides the Retail industry, few companies hire after Thanksgiving.
So if you are job hunting right now (like I am) then you should pay attention to the tips shared here. I interviewed Pete Biege, an Executive Recruiter at Houser Martin Morris with over 20 years of experience. Pete clarified that he is not a coach, but his advice is backed up by a long track record of successful hires—and you may be shocked by what he shared.
I could summarize all the incredible advice that Pete shared in one simple statement, “The secret to a successful job search is shrinking the distance of your putt. Do whatever it takes to move your putt from a 15’ to a 2’ sure thing.” The following 3 tips are ways to shrink the distance and improve your chances of making the putt!
Tip #1: You are a product not a person
Wait, what? Yes, it may sound jarring at first, but the sooner you view yourself as a product, the quicker you will identify companies who are looking to “buy” that product. You may think you can do any job, but just like not everyone wants to buy skinny jeans neither do companies want to buy all products. Viewing yourself as a product allows you to shrink the field of prospective “buyers.”
Pete’s Advice: Separate yourself from the process. What are the skills you possess that have proven results that you can list on a resume? What are the knowledge, skills, and abilities you have that company X may be seeking to buy? Once you know the companies you are going after, then you can develop the business plan. A successful business plan includes strategy, product development, marketing, and sales. Once you decide who you are as a product, then you can make a strategy to market yourself to companies to increase your chances of landing an interview—and eventually a job!
Tip #2: Stop applying for jobs online
Monster. Indeed. ZipRecruiter. CareerBuilder. Simply Hired. HigherEdJobs. Even Google has recently entered the field. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of job search platforms that now promise to help you find a job. Yet, according to data shared by Pete, only 2% of applicants actually land a job via one of these platforms. Most HR professionals view themselves as “Sales Prevention,” meaning they block anyone who is not a perfect match for a role to protect their own reputation. You have to get past HR and communicate directly to the “future boss” or hiring manager.
Pete’s Advice: Find jobs you qualify for via online platforms, but then do the research to find the actual hiring manager to submit your materials to directly. In this case Linkedin Pro may be your best friend. You can research the organization to find out who works there, and then start networking to find someone who can personally vouch for you. Even if you can’t find someone, then at least you can email the hiring manager directly with your resume.
Tip #3: Ask for a favor rather than advice
When job searching, we all know the key to success “is all about WHO YOU KNOW.” People are told they need to network, but Pete believes people network the wrong way. Too often he has seen job hunters that are not specific or intentional when trying to connect with others. Even worse, he believes people are afraid to ask someone for a favor.
Pete’s Advice: If you are going to do the hard work (and it is hard work) of creating your job search business plan (product development, marketing, and sales), then be bold with what you need. If you identify someone who can help you, then ask them for a favor rather than advice. You don’t need more advice about HOW to search for a job. You need that person to introduce you to person Y at company X because they both went to the same university or church or played dominoes together. People love to help people, but they normally need to be asked for help!