May 12th, 2016

There are a few lucky people (very few) who send off their resume blindly, get an interview, and are offered a good position at a company they want to work for with a good salary. For the rest of us….

Searching for a job is… a job.  But it can be broken down into steps that may make it easier.

  1. Figure out what you want to do.
  2. Figure out what you can do – hopefully it is aligned with what you can do.
  3. If what you want to do is not what you can do, figure out how to get the skills that you need to do what you want to do.

Once you have these things figured out, it is time to do some research.

There are more job postings online, in trade journals, and in newspapers than you can possibly search.  So, think about where you want to be geographically, what type of company you want to work for, and what you want to do.

Now that you’ve spent some time with the job search boards, make a list!  Look at the postings that you have found, see what companies you’ve listed.  Prioritize the list, and start talking about it.  Use your personal network. Talk to family and friends.  You may be surprised by how many people may say “I know so-and-so at XYZ company.”  And your response – “Can you introduce me?” Or, “Can I use your name when I talk with them?”

Now it is time to do some more networking.  There is an art to contacting people without being a pest, and without being obnoxious.  You need to figure this out.  Remember, if you are successful, you may be working with these people!  Most people love to give advice and help others.  So, ask them “Can you give me some advice on my resume if I want to work for your company?” “Can you help me connect with someone in your company who might be able to help me?” Or even, “Can you give me some advice on my job search?”

The more people you can enlist, the better off you will be.  You never know where the connections may happen, but it is all about those connections!  Having a personal connection may take you to the top of the applicant list, and is more likely to get you the interview. It is often not what you know, but who you know that gets you the job.

So now you’ve made some connections, sent in a polished resume to a particular person, and have an interview.  Wow.  What do you do now?  More research, of course!  Look up the company online, and pay particular attention to company news, about us, and executive team biographies.  Learn everything you can about the place you want to work.

Call your connections, thank them for their help, and find out if they know who you will be interviewing with.   Maybe you even know the person you will meet with, or someone close to them. Find out who reports to them and what they look for in an employee. The more you know, the better you will do in the interview.

Learn as much as you can about the interviewer.  Find out what they are interested in. Use Facebook, LinkedIn and any other internet resources.  Maybe you both have an interest in fishing.  Use it to make the personal connection. People want to work with people they like, and people that are like them.  A common personal interest goes a long way in this regard.

How you handle the interview will be in a further blog post.  In the meantime, congratulations on your interview(s) and good luck!

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