Adapt Your Strategies

What can you do if nothing is working in your job search?

Change your search……

We recently had a resume come into our office that belonged to an executive we had spoken to almost 18 months before.  At that time he asked us to contact him again toward the end of the year.  We contacted him as he requested and were told at that time that his daughter was getting married in 3 months and he preferred not to spend any money until after her wedding.  As is our practice, we then asked him to contact us when he was ready to move his career forward.  Almost 10 months later another copy of his resume came into our office and showed that he had now been unemployed for the past 8 months.  We reached out to him to ask why he hadn’t contacted us to help him and his response was, “I have been in my industry for 25 years and have a very strong network, so I thought I could complete my job search very successfully on my own.”  Based on his prior income, this unemployment time cost him nearly $200,000.  At that point he did hire us to manage his career.  The results were that after 8 months of futility, through CS Executive Marketing he was invited to interviews with 7 different companies within the first 7 weeks and he received a good offer of employment inside of 2 months, which he accepted.

We had another client recently who was frustrated.  He had been job searching for about a year, and he was getting nowhere. He had sent 1,000 resumes and obtained just five face-to-face interviews…a response rate of 0.5%.  He had sent about 950 resumes to recruiters and about 50 directly to advertised job openings, most of which did not exist, as will be addressed below.

When asked what he thought he should do differently in his search he responded, “Send more resumes.”  Wow…this poor person on average is sending over 2.5 resumes per day, 7 days a week and his answer is to send more.  When your job search strategy is not working, why would you not change your strategy?  After all, was it not Dr. Sigmund Freud who stated the definition of insanity as continuing to do the same thing over and over, yet expecting different results?

This is the toughest job market in our lifetime and it is not likely to change for some time.  The Department of Labor just released figures that show there are 6 times more unemployed than open jobs.  It is easy to blame poor job search results on the economy.  But that will not solve your problem and will not help you find and obtain the position to end your search.  It is likely it will simply continue to frustrate you.

Why not try a proven professional alternative?  Why not try changing your activities, rather than just increasing the wrong activities?  This will certainly not be easy and it may even push you from your comfort zone.  However, it will absolutely be more effective than complaining about the job market while continuing to do more of the same things that have not worked, are not currently working and will not work going forward. Working smarter will produce better results than just working harder?

This person had a basic problem - he was chasing after jobs in the same way as everyone else.  It is an easy and comfortable approach, because we are all used to it.  Most of us were taught this approach early in our careers, often when we graduated from school.  For many of us, we sent resumes in for jobs advertised in the paper (or online) and sent resumes to recruiters, who used to have most of the good jobs.  This is definitely not true now, as many companies have moved recruiting in-house and those that do pay recruiting fees still need to have posted positions through HR for a recruiter to be involved.  Also, many job seekers continue to do it this way because it is a passive way to search for a job and one that emotionally protects us from direct rejection.

As stated in the previous paragraphs, the problem with all of these approaches is they target the advertised job market, when probably 90% of jobs are unadvertised (maybe more…as it was recently quoted by a major news network that 95% or more of executive jobs are filled prior to being posted anywhere).

There is no such thing as a “Hidden Job Market”, but with SEO searches, there is no published job market to speak of either.  This unadvertised job market, if you are able to be found, has much less competition and gives the candidate a much greater chance to differentiate themselves from the competition. The problem is that most candidates, left on their own, do not follow this search approach to get into the unadvertised market, because it is not easy - even though it can be very effective.

Strategies for Success

Here are four steps to move your job search into the unadvertised market:

  1. Create a target list of at least 20 companies that have specific problems that your unique skills can solve better than anyone else. The key word is unique. Don’t focus on what you could do, one of the 15 things you’re qualified to do, or what you could learn to do. Instead, focus on problems you have already solved and ones that you can solve better than anyone else;
  2. Find multiple contacts to talk to at each target company, the closer to the specific problem the better. Use your in-person contacts, LinkedIn network, alumni networks, etc. to find the right hiring executives to speak with;
  3. Do not send this contact your resume, or even talk about a job – instead talk to them to find out what is impacting their company adversely and learn more about the specific problems you can solve. Learn who this problem impacts, how it impacts the company and how much it is worth to the company to have it solved. If your contact does not know the answers, keep networking until you find the person who does;
  4. Email your resume – without a cover – to the hiring manager. Call the hiring manager the next day to set up an appointment to talk about this company’s specific problem. If you can’t reach the hiring manager over the next two weeks, Fed Ex a hard copy resume for morning delivery followed by a call that afternoon for an appointment.

The major difference with this approach is that you are not looking for a job – you are looking for a problem and by defining the solution, which is you, you are presenting a strong “ROI” to the company, thus making yourself the only candidate for a job that is not even advertised. Is this approach tougher? Yes, because it will take you out of your comfort zone. Is it worth it? It is to our clients. They have found substantially more viable job opportunities and less competition than through job boards and recruiters and continue to be in new positions, even in this job market, within 90 to 150 days of their campaign kickoff, in most cases.

Are you going to give this a try in today’s job market or stay your past course and continue to blame the economy? The clients of CS Executive Marketing utilize these methods and with us performing the majority of the work in any career management campaign and guiding you throughout, you not only find career positions quickly, but our client’s success rates, even in the current job market, continue to far exceed 90%, with almost every client being in their new positions within the time frame listed above.

It is your choice...

Patricia Collins
CEO/VP of Talent and Career Management