By Susan Landon, Managing Partner New York, Alexander Hughes Executive Search Consultants
You know the feeling. Your company has had a downsizing, and you’re out of a job. Or your job is relatively secure, but you hate it. Either way, you need to figure out what’s the best way to find a job. So what way is that? Job board postings? Recruiting sites of companies you’re interested in? Headhunters? Networking events? Informational interviews? Networking with friends and former colleagues?
The answer is “Yes.” All of those methods can be the best way to find a job, and people have found jobs through every one of them. If you only knew which one holds your job, then you could focus all of your energy on that one. Unfortunately, your new position could come from any of those methods, so you need to pay attention to all of them. Statistically, one method might generally be more successful than another, but your dream job could be waiting for you on one of the other channels. So maximize your chances by pursuing multiple methods and combining your approach across methods.
Use job board postings and company recruiting websites, but don’t just submit your resume and hope for a response. Research the company and find someone in your network who works there or knows someone who works there and ask for an introduction. Companies are much more likely to hire someone who is known to and recommended by one of their employees as opposed to someone who just submits a resume on line. Making some kind of personal connection dramatically improves the odds of landing that job you found on a job board.
Potentially the Best Way to Find a Job When You Have a Diverse Background
If you can’t find someone already in your network, search the company’s website for someone you have a connection to through an organization or a school you attended, and reach out to that person. An underused but often successful strategy is to reach out to the company’s Diversity and Inclusion department and Employee Resource Groups. These groups may be the best way to find a job in a company where you have no other connections. They are highly interested in increasing the diversity in their company and may go that extra mile to help you in your search. They might even forward your resume to the recruiting manager.
And don’t just hide behind your computer screen. Go out and meet people! Go to networking events, trade association meetings, college alumni events, community events, etc. etc. etc. You get the picture. You never know who knows someone who knows someone who can make an introduction for you or even offer you a job. Most jobs are filled by this word-of-mouth, personal-connection networking. So if you hide behind your computer screen day after day, you’re only fooling yourself that you’re doing all you can to find your dream job. On the other hand, don’t ignore what can be found on-line. Knowing what companies are hiring and what’s going on in a company you’re interested in can inform your networking.
Don’t forget about headhunters. But don’t over-rely on them. You want to be on their radar in case they are searching for a candidate with your background. But, if they don’t currently have a search that’s a fit for you, they won’t be actively looking on your behalf.
The bottom line is that you have to actively pursue all possible job search paths in order to maximize the likelihood of finding the perfect next job. There isn’t just one best way to find a job.
Susan Landon, Managing Partner New York, Alexander Hughes Executive Search Consultants