Here are 10 things to do if you are searching for a job!
I was coaching a senior professional who is between jobs for quite some time. Although highly qualified, in the last few roles, he has had several very short stints.
I have a term for such short stints in a resume: HOHO (Hop On Hop Off) Effect. The term, ‘HOHO’ is borrowed from the world of tourist bus services where you board a HOHO bus and get down at any of the stops. After touring that area, you can continue the journey by taking another HOHO bus and get down again at any of the stops. This way you follow the pace of your choice.
When a resume shows several short stints, it appears that you have been taking a HOHO bus in your career. A recruiter sees it as a red flag.
In the case of this senior professional, the HOHO Effect was coming up during his interviews and the process was stalling.
Not the best time to go searching for a job
Anyway, these are not the best of times to search for a job. The lockdown is on. Organizations are cautious. Existing hiring requests have been put on hold. New requests are not being processed. Nobody knows when things will return to normal.
So what does one do? Nothing is going to change on its own. One has to act.
What if you are this person?
You need leverage.
Especially in a case where a prospective employer could use the HOHO Effect as a justification to deny you an opportunity, you cannot leave it to the natural course of events. Even if it is not a case of HOHO, given the conditions of job search today, you need leverage.
So, what is the leverage?
The leverage while searching for a job is to connect with senior people in the industry who know you personally, who can vouch for you, and who would leverage their influence to not only nudge a door open but also hold the door wide open for you.
You need to have a professional-looking resume. Ensure that you have fully leveraged the LinkedIn features including Recommendations. Have you been active on LinkedIn? In the resume, have you provided a link to your LinkedIn profile?
Now, where do you begin? Here are 10 things you need to do:
1. Make a list of all the senior people in the industry that you know. While making the list, be liberal. Make sure you go back in time and include the names of your colleagues (managers, peers, and subordinates) from your earlier roles. Even customers. And acquaintances. When in doubt, add the name.
Please remember that Employee Referral schemes are quite popular in the industry. People who could be much junior to you in the industry could also refer your case within their organization.
2. Prioritize. Below is a helpful grid:
The above grid is a function of the professional opinion they hold of you and how comfortable you are in requesting them for support.
Priority 1 (Best Case scenario) is a convergence between people who hold a high professional opinion of you and you will find it ‘easy’ to request support.
Priority 2 is composed of people where they hold a high professional opinion of you but you are not so comfortable requesting them. Find ways to move those in Priority 2 to Priority 1.
The other 2 Quadrants are not very useful since they hold a low (or no) professional opinion of you. They could refer your case as an Employee Referral but there is no way they will recommend your case.
3. Once your Priority 1 list with contact details is ready, be ready with a pitch. How will you recall your relationship with them? How will you introduce the topic? What would you like to share? What are you unwilling to share?
In my view, authenticity helps. Since people are expected to leverage their influence, it is important that they get to hear the full story. It is like speaking to your doctor, advocate, or coach. Why would you hide?
4. Look at the Priority 2 list. What is stopping you from seeking their support? Is it your ego? Or some unsavory incident in the past? Is it that you wouldn’t like them to know that you are stuck? Take your call. If it is the ego, try reasoning with yourself. This is the time to cast the net wide – the more the merrier.
Building relationships – your call
5. Make the calls with your introductory pitch to seek their time. Recall your relationship with them. For the actual meeting/call, make sure you set up a video call in case you cannot meet them. Send off the resume to them with a link to your LinkedIn profile.
6. During the main call, let them know of your journey. Let them know of your sincere attempts at securing a job.
Make the ‘ask’ clearly. This is not the time to be hesitant. Tell them that you need their support to introduce you to the relevant people. Remember that YOU are searching for a job. It is YOUR need.
Manage your expectations
7. Don’t be disappointed with a lackluster response. Nurture the relationship – it is a small world. Thank them. Take a call. Move on if that’s the best course of action. Update your list.
8. If you receive an encouraging response, ensure you set up a follow-up schedule. A lot of people will tell you that they will revert to you. Find a way for you to call them. Update your list. Make sure you call them on the scheduled date. Don’t act pushy!
Read my post, ‘Downtime is Upskill time’ here.
9. When you secure a job, make sure you inform all the people that you have contacted thus far. Many a time, we do not close the loop. Use this opportunity to let them know that you care for the relationship, irrespective of whether they helped you or not.
10. Celebrate! Update your LinkedIn profile with the new coordinates.
All the best!
PS: for those in comfortable careers: As a Karma strategy, make it a point to support a fixed number of people get a job every year. Check out if you have met your ‘target’. As you climb the ladder making you more influential, do raise that number.
It is easy to ignore a request, but remember that you can make a difference and if you can, you should. For a person who is in dire need, it makes all the difference while searching for a job.
As a Career Coach, I work with people on several areas. Click here to know more.
Reach out to me at [email protected]