I met with a client the other day who was feeling down on his luck.
He was a successful entrepreneur, but he was hitting a wall in trying to re-enter the workforce (even with the awesome resume we crafted together).
He said he was hearing crickets after applying for roles that seemed like the perfect fit. (Chirp!)
What was going wrong?
Fact: it’s a tough market right now. There have been many lay-offs this year, which creates a double-whammy for job seekers: fewer companies hiring + more competition for jobs.
Additionally, December is the worst month for hiring.
Managers are waiting on their budgets in the New Year.
People are out on vacation.
And those who are working are scrambling to wrap up end-of-year projects.
Interviewing is the last thing on their minds.
Would it be better to crawl into a hole and hibernate?
Assuming the fetal position might have a strong appeal, but what if you took this time to position yourself for success in the New Year?
Here are some tips to reimagine your job search and stand out from the pack.
I suggest enjoying a rest and passively searching in December.
Then, slam your foot on the gas in January.
1. Provide Value
Imagine you’re hiring for a Technical Project Manager role.
You’ve received hundreds of applicants. A few have even reached out to you personally.
But, you’re bored.
There are many great candidates on paper, but nobody has caught your eye on a personal level.
Suddenly, you receive a message on LinkedIn. It says,
“I saw your talk about the 10 key software trends for the upcoming year. Your ideas about low-cost, no-code development were compelling. When I saw this article postulating that low-code development isn’t ideal for high-growth organizations, I had to send it.
How can businesses effectively balance the convenience and accessibility of low-code platforms with the potential limitations in scalability and customization, especially in the context of rapid growth and evolving technological needs? Would love to hear your thoughts.”
The #1 mistake people make when they reach out to potential allies within a company is to start the conversation by asking for something.
Put yourself in the recipient’s shoes. Would that make you want to talk to someone?
Now, what would you do if you received a message like this?
Chances are, you’d respond! You’d have to.
Somebody understands you and appreciates your expertise! Why wouldn’t you want to talk to them?
Use this technique to spark conversation with people at companies you’d like to work for.
Does this seem hard? It’s not.
ChatGPT generated the question for me!
That’s how easy this is.
(Hint: list 10 companies you’d like to work for and identify people within those companies with whom you have something in common to discuss. Then, start a conversation like this. It could lead to a referral or job!)
2. Shout the Obvious
My client mentioned that one of his business’s main competitors was hiring for an interesting role. He emailed the CEO but hadn’t applied through the job board.
First, I told him to apply through the job board.
My mantra with everything “job search” is to first fit in, then stand out.
Here, that applies by first following instructions (applying through the job board).
Then, stand out by sending a compelling message.
*The message he sent probably wasn’t compelling.
Look, CEOs are busy. Not responding doesn’t mean this CEO doesn’t need what my client was selling; he just hasn’t noticed him yet.
I recommended sending a message saying, “I owned a company that competed with yours; lots of lessons learned. Want to talk?”
He sent that exact message and got a response within an hour, including a CC to the CEO’s assistant to schedule a call!
Sometimes, you have to shout “Hello!” a few times before you’re heard.
More importantly, you might be heard on the first go-around if you say something meaningful.
Again, we’re thinking in terms of value. What problem does your recipient need to solve? How can you help solve that problem? Make that the focus of your message (including the subject).
Getting a job is all about building relationships.
As you can see, you don’t need existing relationships within an organization to land a job.
You can create internal networks by becoming useful for people.
These approaches help you demonstrate your expertise as well as important character traits, like tenacity, ingenuity, and lifelong learning.
An effective job-search mindset is “How can I answer the question, ‘Why would you love to work with me?’”
Internalize that singular purpose and do your best to answer that question around every turn, from your resume and LinkedIn content to your proactive communications with internal advocates and hiring managers.
Wishing you a relaxing and reflective month to recharge your batteries for a transformative New Year!
Need hands-on help?
Reach out. I’m here for you.