Job Search Strategies that Work!
So you took your resume and posted it on the job boards. You also spent hours searching for the jobs that fit your background and career goals, and you responded to a few dozen jobs. Then you waited for the phone to ring. But it didn’t. What went wrong?Did you know that the job boards have an effectiveness rate of less than 3% in getting people jobs? Some of the larger boards are even worse, with less than a 1% effectiveness rate. If you think about it, everyone is using the boards to find jobs, so you have thrown your resume into the pile of 600-1500 resumes employers are getting for every job posted. Not a particularly effective way to get noticed, is it?
Consider too that approximately 87% of the open jobs are not even advertised! The first thing that a company does when it has an open position is ask their employees if they know anyone, internally or externally, who can fill the job. Employers would much rather have a referral from someone they know than go out to the open market and hire a stranger. Many companies even offer fairly large referral bonuses if an employee’s recommendation is hired.
Typically, companies will post a position internally for 30 days before looking to the outside. All this means is that by the time you see the job, if they even advertise it, they are already interviewing recommended internal and outside candidates. This doesn’t produce very good odds for getting a job through advertised positions on the web or in the paper.
So how do you get to the 87% of those open jobs that are not advertised. There are 3 ways: networking, headhunters and direct contact.
Networking is still the best way to get a job with an effectiveness rate up to 64%. Hiring managers love people who are recommended to them since it lowers the risk of the person not working out on the job. Aggressive networking is the key here. For everyone you call in your inner network, you should try to get 2-3 names of additional people you can call. Go to trade shows, join associations and attend their meetings. Make sure you know your “elevator pitch” – the 30-second statement about yourself that you would make to Bill Gates if you were with him on an elevator.
Headhunters are a favorite for many people and this route has an effectiveness rate of 3-28% depending on the level of position you are seeking. The higher up in the organization you are, the better the chances that a company will be willing to pay a fee to find you. The average headhunter fee is 20% which translates to a $10,000 fee for every $50,000 of salary. So if you are a staff professional, you might wonder if a company is willing to pay $10,000 to get you, especially if they can get hundreds of resumes through a simple ad. Some resume writing professionals can e-mail your resume to a quality list of headhunters that fit your criteria for as little as $97, and this could be well worth it.
Finally, consider the direct contact method. This is where you conduct a direct mail campaign to targeted hiring managers in companies you have identified. A properly prepared campaign can find the unadvertised jobs and has an effectiveness rate as high as 50% depending on exactly how you do it. For example, sending an unsolicited resume and cover letter has a 2-8% effectiveness rate while better developed programs provide an effectiveness rate over 40%. First, you need to make sure your resume is great. These programs are probably best handled in collaboration with a professional firm that has the database and the expertise to put the right letters and resume together for you. Note that these programs do not have to cost the thousands charged by some of the firms out there. Do your shopping carefully and you can find a cost effective program that has the highest rate of success.
Even though today’s job market is tight, companies are hiring. Follow the steps outlined to develop an aggressive and focused job search, and you can be in your dream job.