March is Career Month at BBL, which means we’ll be bringing you tons of content about applying for jobs, interviews, internships, setting up your career and more, straight from the experts. Here, expert and author Steve Dalton, shares his advice.
Technology has fundamentally changed the job search, yet conventional job hunting wisdom hasn’t changed in response. Even worse, it’s often counterproductive but few realize because of online job postings, job seeking is easier than ever, but finding a job has become harder. Employers are inundated by hundreds of applicants for any job they post. Job applicants often fail to recognize hiring managers are aiming to hit sales and billable hour targets, not expend a ton of hiring effort. Hiring managers are therefore trying to find a good-enough candidate quickly, not a perfect candidate slowly. Internal referrals will always be their first choice.
Be “The Bachelor,” not one of many bachelorettes. On “The Bachelor,” 25 women sacrifice several months of normal dating to face terrible odds at winning The Bachelor’s individual affections. Every year I see job seekers similarly accept such humbling circumstances, by remaining a faceless online job candidate or by focusing networking on too few employers. By starting with a large target employer pool and prioritizing them, job seekers can quickly become “The Bachelor” in their own job search, preserving confidence and improving results.
Treat this process like an assembly line. A common mistake job seekers make is switching between tasks too frequently. Every unnecessary mouse click represents a threat to one’s efficiency. Job seekers should group similar tasks together and perform them in the right order for the right duration to create the target list mentioned above in just 70 minutes, maximizing results and minimizing anxiety.
Track your outreach in a calendar, not a spreadsheet. Spreadsheets are wonderful for many things, but they make terrible alarm clocks. I recommend tracking your outreach in a virtual calendar like Outlook so you can forget about sent emails until you get a reply or it’s time to follow up. Let a machine do the remembering, because brains are fallible.
Treat your best customers best. Your contacts are not all created equal. Moving quickly past “trouble customers” is just as important as paying appropriate attention to your strongest advocates. You should contact someone twice at most before moving on, which helps you stay efficient and minimize discouragement.
Use informational interviews to get to know your contact, not to make sure they know you. There are plenty of qualified candidates out there, but what earns you an internal referral is likability. How comfortable will your contact be to recommend you to a colleague? Appealing to your contacts’ goodwill and using their time wisely is infinitely more important than impressing them with your qualifications. I present a tried-and-true informational interview framework called TIARA to help you systematically build likability over a conversation.
With The 2-Hour Job Search I am providing instructions – not advice! – to get you that first interview and eliminating traditional trial-and-error job seeking techniques.