Gearing Up for a Bare-Knuckle, No-Holds-Barred Job Search
By Jeff Herzog, President of FPC National
In the old days, looking for a job was simple, straightforward, and very human. Companies advertised their jobs in trade journals and newspaper classified ads, and job seekers responded with phone calls or basic resumes that were read by actual people. Not only that, many job seekers did what some consider unthinkable today: They applied in person!
But with the growth and subsequent overcrowding of internet job boards, the human element has been lost in the electronic shuffle. Nowadays, job seekers are nothing more than digital files stored in massive databases. The only way to catch the attention of a live person is to somehow have the exact right magic keywords in your application.
The very idea of sending a resume to an internet job board where hundreds (or thousands – or tens of thousands) of people are applying for the same opportunity seems daunting at the least and pathetically hopeless at worst.
So, what’s an eager, qualified job seeker to do to find their next opportunity?
Fear not: All hope is not lost!
Bring Back the Human
The time has come for job seekers to abandon the internet and go back to a more personal approach. Taking the easy way out and simply clicking away to apply for dozens or hundreds of jobs is practically pointless. The internet can be useful for research purposes, but to use it as your sole method of applying for jobs is foolhardy.
I tell job seekers all the time: Use the internet as a tool – not a crutch!
Step #1 in bringing back the human is: Forget about everything you were ever told about looking for a job. The rules that career coaches and outplacement firms set forth are irrelevant, antiquated, and frankly, completely useless. Often, they say things like “Send emails, don’t call,” “A great resume is the key to getting hired,” and my favorite, “Send a personalized cover letter and resume via snail mail.”
When it comes to looking for a job, here’s my advice: Abandon all of these useless rules, and do what works instead!
Launch a Bare-Knuckle Job Search
The idea of abandoning the rules you’ve been taught will place you squarely outside of your comfort zone. But this is where you will find results. Successful job seekers who land interviews and secure offers quickly are scrappy, agile, and creative, using no-holds-barred tactics to identify, pursue, and win opportunities.
Are you ready to take off the gloves and do what it takes to succeed in today’s ultra-competitive job market? Here are four things to remember:
- This is a sales job, whether you like it or not:
For the duration of your job search, you are both a salesperson and the product you are selling. And sales are not made through generic emails. In a bare-knuckles job search, sales are made over the phone. And not to the human resources department; but to the hiring manager who has the most to gain by hiring the right person for the job.
- Create your job blueprint:
Identify your target. Many job seekers fail to commit to a specific target, for fear of limiting their opportunities. The clearer you are on the job you are seeking, the more focused you will be in your job search. Identifying your target requires a lot of self-reflection: What is the greatest value you offer to a prospective company? Are you staying in your same industry or seeking something new? Will you work in your geographic area or will you consider relocation? Do you want to work for a well-established company or a startup?
- Make a plan:
Do your research and start by identifying 25 to 30 companies that meet your criteria, and keep building your list. Identify the key decision-makers within each company. Commit to making 10 to 15 calls per day and make sure you do not stop until you reach the number you’ve set. It’s too easy to give in to frustration and put it off for another day. Don’t procrastinate and slow your momentum.
- Craft your message:
Do you understand why you will be an asset to your target companies? Can you clearly articulate your value once you begin the conversation? Make sure you have a full understanding of your “product” benefits before reaching out to anyone. After all, if you don’t know why you should be hired, neither will they.
Find the Right Partner
The good news is that you do not need to do this alone. Partnering with an experienced executive recruiting firm with a national presence is the best way to jumpstart and facilitate your job search. Good recruiters can help with every facet of your bare-knuckle job search, from identifying your target to crafting your message to “selling” you to prospective employers.
With more than 60 offices nationwide and expertise in 40+ specializations, FPC has the experience and network to help you reach your career goals. Reach out to your local office and see how easy it is to get started.