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Managing Your Job Search

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Alastair Knowles

on 27 October 2016

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Transcript of Managing Your Job Search

Game-Plan for Managing Your Job Search
-Alastair Knowles-

3 Branches of Your Job-Acquisition Team
Looking for a job should feel like a full time job that would be difficult for a team of people to negotiate - if you were a team of professionals working towards finding you a job you'd be seperated into 3 critical departments...
Finding the Jobs!
The jobs are out there - you just need to know where to look and how to look. Like most things in life, you'll get the best results from a job search by combining the requisite amounts of thoroughness, preparation, effort, tenacity and efficiency.
Submitting and Managing Your Applications
If you're managing your job-search properly you should have multiple jobs that you're interested in, applying for, waiting to hear back from, and interviewing for all at the same time. With so many different applications at so many different stages you have to be prepared to ensure that you're managing them properly.
Building and Leveraging Your Network
Most jobs are filled by people who have been referred into them. This makes building and leveraging your professional network critical to your success in finding a job.
Job-Search Dept.
Your job search itself - the act of searching for job opportunities using things like job-boards, LinkedIn groups, LinkedIn postings, Craig's List, Monster.com, Indeed.com, Tech-Fetch et al. is probably the most time consuming part of the your job hunt as well as the most important. If you don't have jobs to apply to it doesn't matter how strong your credentials or interviewing skills are!
Applications Dept.
After finding the jobs you're interested in it's time to apply for them - this means more than just sending off an email with your resume attached. Applying for jobs effectively is typically going to require you tracking your applications and their progress, submiting your applications using multiple methods (sometimes via email, sometimes via LinkedIn, sometimes through an internal ATS (applicant tracking system), and following up on your applications after you've submitted them.
Networking Dept.
The most effective way to land a job is through being referred into one - this has been the case for as long as people have been hunting for jobs. Developing and engaging with a strong professional network is critical, often undervalued despite its obvious importance, scarey for a lot of young professionals, and an art. Typically the folks who fail to do this have the most trouble finding a job and quickly advancing once they have one.
LinkedIn is becoming THE one-stop-shop for job seekers, talent seekers, and ambitious professionals. Having a strong LinkedIn profile and leveraging it effectively as a tool is a must for any young professional hoping to land a new job. Here is a link to a comprehensive presentation on how to effectively leverage LinkedIn as a job-search and career advancement tool
(make sure that you have at least an hour to review this - with your LinkedIn profile up - before viewing it):


Job/Career Fairs and Networking Events
The most effective way to build your professional network and connect with people who can help you in your job-search is by meeting them in person and letting them see how incredible you are. Job fairs, networking events, professional organizations' events, and similar happenings are the best places to go for building your network. This part of the job-search is particularly scarey for many, here are some tips to make it less scarey...
Your Network
Leveraging your existing networking and adding to it is critical to helping you land a job - most people find their job as a result of their network. Reach out to friends/peers who are working in roles/with companies that you're interested in and ask them what it's like to work there and for tips on how to land a similar job (do not ask them to find you a job or refer you into one). Reach out to hiring managers and recruiters via LinkedIn and networking events.

For a more comprehensive overview see this Prezi:

Identifying all Materials and Prioritizing
Once you've identified a handful of jobs you're interested in (this should happen daily) you need to confirm the required materials for each application and also prioritize the order in which you apply for the opportunities.

Types of Materials Required for Job Applications:
resumes, cover-letters, professional references, letter of interest, academic transcripts,
Ways to Prioritize:
apply based on which deadline comes first, apply based on what position you're most interested in, apply based on what position you're the best fit for, apply based on which job posting is the oldest, or some variety of the mentioned.
Tailoring and Tracking
Most of your applications should be tailored specifically to the job(s) their being submitted for. This means incorporating terminology from the job posting into your resume and cover-letter, emphasizing your experience(s) that most closely align to the needs for the position, researching the company and position before you apply and incorporating what info you gather into your cover-letter and resume. Your goal is to make the hiring manager feel like the ONLY job you're interested in excelling at is theirs.

Part of the job search also involves 'tracking' your applications, here is an example of a tool to help with that:
Following Up
Following up is a critical part of your job search! Failing to follow up with a recruiter/hiring manager will almost certainly worsen your chances of landing the job. There are several
which demand that you follow-up: after you've submitted an application; after an initial interview (and ideally every interview); after a final interview; after a networking event/job fair. Here are some examples of how to follow up effectively:
Leveraging Your Existing Network
Your existing network is the logical place to start harvesting when you're on the job hunt. Your existing network consists of: friends and family, mentors, supervisors (past and present), coworkers (past and present), members of your alumni network, clients (past and present), past instructors, and anyone you've worked on a project with in the past (this could include community service work). As soon as you start looking for a job you should contact any members of your existing network who may be able to help you find it, let them know that you're looking and what you're looking for, and extend an immense amount of gratitude for any assistance they can offer in regard to your search.

There are numerous channels that you can use for leveraging this group (phone call, email, in person meetings, etc.) - LinkedIn is one and here's a prezi that will help you leverage it:
Building Your Network
Building your network can be scary and challenging - it is also critical for all young professionals (and professionals in general) to work on.
See slides 12 and 13 of this prezi
for tips on how to develop and deliver your elevator pitch, and make a point of attending events such as the following to help you grow your network: professional groups' meetings (similar to your area of interest), job-fairs, professional networking events/mixers, and alumni events.
Maintaining Your Network
Once you have built your network it is important that you maintain it if you hope to continue to leverage it and have it help you in the future. There are lots of things that you can do to maintain/strengthen your network, here are some relatively easy things that will help with that:

Write a positive LinkedIn recommendation/endorsement for a colleague or connection who has helped you.
Refer connections/friends to opportunities that you come across.
Send thank you notes/emails to people who have helped you on your job-search or in your professional growth.
Holiday cards.
Monthly emails to check-in and see if there's anything that you can do to help make your connections' lives easier.
Join professional clubs/groups that your connections are part of (or invite them to join some that you're part of).
Based on Jim Harvey's speech structures
Team Up
Career search/advancement buddies are incredibly valuable resources to have:
someone who has similar current career goals as you, who is driven, who will check in daily and hold you accountable, and who works hard (you have to return the favor). This is a valuable asset to have for a number of reasons (you can work together, exchange best practices, connect each other with job opps, recruiters, events, etc.) - they are particularly nice to have at a career fair or professional networking event with you, knowing someone there makes it far less scarey or uncomfortable.
Target Lists
Before attending a job fair or networking event you should review the guest list and create a 'Target List' - a list of people you commit to connecting with while at the event. Your target list should consist of people who can help you in your career search in one way or another, should go with you to the event (an electronic list you can view from your phone is a good idea), and be a priority. Sometimes you may have to preregister for an event to see the guest list or contact someone responsible for hosting the event to get one.

Pro Tip: try to contact people on your target list
of time via LinkedIn, and request 5 minutes of their time to connect while at the event - this can really pay off.
Elevator Pitch
There are lots of different schools of thought around what an effective elevator pitch should look like - here are the most frequently cited traits of a strong elevator pitch:
It's concise
- a handful of sentences tops.
It's clear
- after the pitch the audience shouldn't look confused.
It's conversational
- it shouldn't sound like a sales pitch. Some would disagree with this but the facts are that this isn't meant to be where you close but where you peak your target audience's interest to extend the conversation.
It comes naturally
- you should be so comfortable with some version of your pitch that it never sounds like a pitch. The more you use it the more comfortable you'll become with it.
It's specific
- there should be no doubt in your target audience's mind who you are, what you do, and what your goal is.
It compels interest and follow up questions
- which you are expecting and ready for (What's your career goal? What achievement are you proudest of? What does that certification you mentioned mean? What's your favorite thing about your chosen field?)
It's confident
- if you don't sound confident in yourself and your abilities how can you expect others to be? Knowing your pitch well will help immensely with this.
My name is (blank). I recently finished spending X-months in an X-role with X-company where I (insert how you contributed to the company) - I'm currently looking for an opportunity to become part of a company that will allow me to contribute significantly to their goals and grow as a (insert job/role).

the goal of this pitch is
to get a job offer on the spot (it would be great if you did) but to extend the conversation - ideally you'd like to schedule an interview or follow up conversation in the near future before ending your conversation.
Now is the time to
for a phone-call or in person interview, not a job.
Set a target goal for how many jobs you apply for a day, and use this to hold yourself accountable.

If you're searching for a job full-time (not working part-time), you should be shooting for about 7 to 10 solid job applications a day.
After a Networking Event
Hi John/Jane Doe,

I hope this finds you well. Thanks for taking the time to talk with me at (insert event) on (insert date)! I enjoyed getting to know you and hearing about what you do. I would really like the opportunity to talk further - in person or via the phone - to discuss how we might benefit from working together. I have attached my resume and I'd really appreciate it if you could pass it along to anyone you feel might be interested in me as a candidate for any staffing needs they might have. Again, great to meet you and I look forward to your response.

Very Best,

Post Initial Interview
Hi John/Jane Doe,
(send to everyone that interviewed you - and after every interview)

Thanks for taking the time to interview me today! I enjoyed getting to know you and learning more about the position and company - the more I hear about it the more excited I am about being considered for the open (insert position) and the more confident I am in my ability to succeed in the role. I look forward to hearing from you by or before (insert date - which you asked for before the interview ended and will follow-up on if you don't hear from them by). Thanks again for taking the time to interview me and have a wonderful day!

Very Best,


Note: this is also an opportunity to address anything that you forgot to address or have thought of since the interview, for example:
"Having had some more time to think about what my most unique skill is that I'd bring to your team, I realize now that it's my ability to creatively solve problems - not my teamwork skills (though I do feel that those add value to the team as well). Given the focus that your team has on problem solving, I'm confident that I'd utilize that skill the most."
After the Final Interview
Same as the previous note with the addition of: "If you have any questions or concerns related to me as a candidate which I can provide clarity on, please don't hesitate to reach out to me for information. Thank you again for your consideration and I look forward to hearing from you regarding your decision soon."
Post Application
Dear John/Jane Doe OR Dear Hiring Manager for (Insert Position),

I hope this finds you well. I am emailing to confirm that my application for (insert position) has made it to your attention. I submitted the mentioned application via (include methodology - company website, LinkedIn, email etc.) on (include date). I am confident that I am an excellent candidate for the position and very interested in it. I am sure that you're extremely busy; if you could please confirm that you've received my application and provide me with any info you have regarding the next steps of the application process I would really appreciate it. Thanks so much for your time, have a wonderful day and I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.

Very Best,

Full transcript