In the world of 21st-century careers, job searching and personal branding techniques are changing faster than people outside recruitment and HR can keep up with. If you’ve been in a role for a while and find yourself in the midst of a new job search, you can turn around and find that the technology involved in applying for and finding news jobs has changed without you knowing it. Most people have encountered applicant tracking systems, job boards, social networks, and other internet job-searched based technologies. But when you’re beginning a new job search it’s important to ask: what’s still relevant, and what works?
Technologies change, but one thing never changes in a job search: it’s important to make sure you take an active, rather than passive, mindset in your job search activities. You have something to give a new employer just as much as they have something to give you. If you apply to an online posting for a role and sit around, waiting for a member of a company’s talent acquisition team to sift through the gigantic stack of applications and call you, you’re taking a passive approach. Even if you send a follow-up email a week later, you’re limiting your chances.
So how can you take an active approach to looking for a new job, and bypass the gates that leave so many candidates struggling and discouraged?
Avoid Job Boards:
We hate to say it, but in our recruitment practice we almost never use job boards. Indeed, Monster.com, Workopolis, are often used by internal recruitment at companies, true. But these systems have almost no measures in place to prevent unqualified or wrongly-qualified candidates from applying for jobs. This means these postings get flooded with applicants. And that means that internal recruiters and HR departments often end up assigning their most junior employees to sort through the immense pile of applications, and those individuals aren’t necessarily equipped to judge the best talent. Worst case scenario, your application is ignored as the whole pile gets thrown out whole hog and the more senior recruiter hires someone from referral, an agency, or a networked candidate. Some individuals of course secure jobs from job board postings, but your chances are significantly low enough that it’s often not worth the time.
First thing to keep in mind is that anyone evaluating your resume is going to search your LinkedIn profile. If you don’t have one, or if the information on it does not match your resume, that’s going to raise red flags. But beyond that, LinkedIn is a great source for networking and career visibility. LinkedIn Publisher allows you to provide thought leadership in your industry. If you make sure your profile offers an accomplishment-based portrait of your background, it makes you more visible to recruiters who can come to you with job opportunities. And if your profile is keyword-rich and clearly states what you do and where you’re looking to go, recruiters will approach you with the right opportunities.
Find the name of the hiring manager and apply directly:
To successfully search for a new professional-level job, you need to hustle a bit. Period. Part of the reason so many job seekers take a passive approach to job searching is the fear of rejection that comes from interacting with a hiring manager directly. So many great candidates prefer to sit behind the impersonality of email or a job board application and hope for the best. They’re afraid of stepping out of line and out from the crowd, but (assuming you’ve done your homework and you’re sure you’re a good fit) this is how jobs are won. So if you hear about a position, read the job description to see who the role reports to. Consider using LinkedIn or another social media service, or (gasp!) call the company to find out the name of the individual in that role, and introduce yourself directly. Your chances are higher than with a job board posting. They’re higher than if you apply through a company’s applicant tracking system (ATS), where your resume will risk being thrown aside by a robot for not having the appropriate keywords.
Tap into your Network:
It’s an old saw of job searching wisdom, but it’s truer than ever in this high tech era: networking is the best way to get a job. But it’s also a skill. Reach out to former associates, former supervisors, or if you’re a recent graduate, professors. Make connections on LinkedIn, attend networking events, and join industry associations. Have conversations. Don’t go around parading the fact that you’re on the hunt for a job, and don’t make connections with the expectation of being offered a job. Instead focus on building relationships and offering access to your own network and expertise. Like the previous tip, switching to proactive networking involves putting yourself out there, and that’s what makes so many candidates nervous. But because of that, it’s also a real source of competitive advantage in the job market for those who do it. You hear about jobs sooner, you have access to recommendations for those jobs, and you hear about roles that are never even posted in the first place. It takes a lot of work to maintain and build new relationships and not expect anything in return, but it’s worth it. I
Work With a Specialty Recruiter:
We’re biased of course, but when an active candidate for the right role comes to a recruiter who’s specialized in that candidate’s area of work, the results can be shockingly effective. Recruiters are representing companies hiring in the marketplace. Good recruiters are specialized in one job function or industry, and they’re out to build long-term relationships with relevant candidates. They have an active ear within any companies they represent, and the endorsement of a trusted recruiter can immediately send you to the top of the heap. The tricky thing is finding out who’s a trusted recruiter and who’s a thorn in HR’s side. So make sure to ask any recruiter you deal with what they’re specialized in, how long they’ve been working in the field, and whether they’re explicitly engaged with the client on this specific role. Also, keep in mind that a recruiter represents the company, not the candidate, so if they don’t have a role for you when you reach out to them, it’s not their fault – it just isn’t the right time. Maintain the relationship with occasional followups and they’ll eventually come to you when the right role comes across their desk.
Obligatory plug: If you’re in Supply Chain and looking for new opportunities, we’d love to hear from you! Call 416 364 9919.
The one thing that these tips have in common is that they’re mostly longer-term habits, not short term, get-a-job-quick ideas. It’s easier to apply to job postings, sit back and feel like you’ve put in the work required to get a job. But an active approach is more rewarding.
At Argentus, we’re a boutique recruiter in Supply Chain, Procurement, Logistics, Planning and Retail with many years of experience (if you’re looking for a job or hiring in these areas, get ahold of us!) but we hope the preceding advice has been useful for you even if you’re outside our recruitment areas.