The NFJS groups have been have been working on researching companies and opportunities and this process re-enforced the value of having a specific goal. There are all sorts of great old clichés for this, “If you don’t know where you want to go, then that’s where you end up.” “Plan your work, work your plan.” Etc.
A story will help illustrate: This is the story of a young(ish) single mom who was laid off just as the Great Recession was lurching to it’s bottom… early 2009. She’d had a terrific career so far, but found herself without any opportunities to even apply for! At that point she engaged with me and in the course of this process I asked her if she had a “Fantasy” job. She responded, “Yes, I would give anything to be the Marketing Director for XXXXXX…(we’ll call the company Ajax Widgets). Of course, they don’t even have a Marketing Department.”
Most of us would withdraw at that point and find another fantasy. She didn’t. Start with the fact that she is a single Mom though which means she has the very steady drum beats of her bills and her son. She does not have the luxury of having a single focus. She had to get work, and she did. It took a bit over a year and she got a part time job that mostly slowed down the drainage of her resources, then she got another part time job and between the two, she kept her bills paid.
She also put some processes in place that kept her aware of the what was going on at Ajax, then she followed up every time something interesting occurred. They hired a new Sales Manager? She had lunch with him. They got a new Director? She took them to coffee. They were in the news? She read the article and consolidated it into her files. Each time she met someone who might be an “influencer” in the organization, she would gently plant a seed. In August of 2011 the job was advertised AND she was invited to apply, then in September, she got the job.
So what were her mechanics? It starts with her having a goal or a focus. She knew precisely what she wanted. When she set up an automated search, she knew what to search for. Knowing this allowed her to evaluate the information she got from her searches. When they gave back bad info, she could change them until they worked. Once they were set up, she simply monitored what was going on. She was able to live her life at the same time she was able to track what was going on with Ajax. Her bills got paid, her son thrived, heck she even kept the same boy friend!
There are a bunch of tools that can help, all of them work better with a clear goal before you start. Cruising a job board is terrific when you know what you’re looking for and depressing when you don’t, so the need for a focus is the same with all of these tools. Equally, your time investment is all at the beginning. The more you know about what you want, the easier this works. My client that wanted to work at Ajax as their Marketing Director could create very specific useful searches. She wasn’t looking for “any” job, she wanted to be the Marketing Director. She wasn’t looking for “any” company, she wanted to work at Ajax.
Start with job boards:
There is a category of job board called an “Aggregator”. These tools are constantly searching other job boards and “aggregating” their results. www.Indeed.com appears to be the best of these, at least as of June 2012. My last post was on “Boolean logic” it’s pretty straight forward stuff and the more you play with it the easier it becomes. With Indeed, when you find a search you like, you can set it up as an RSS feed, a daily or a weekly email. RSS feeds mean that every time your search is fulfilled you get a new mail into the your designated folder. With a daily email, it’s just that an email that includes all of the prior day’s posts and Weekly is the same, just a weekly aggregation. When these come into your mail box, you can then read the ones that mean something to you and discard the rest.
I’ve been pretty clear that I’m no longer a big fan of Google, they simply keep and sell to much of my information, but when it comes to job search, that’s a luxury none of us can afford and they have some really terrific tools! Go to the basic page; in the upper left hand corner are a series of choices, “Search Images Maps…. More” Choose “More” and you will see a drop down menu that has a bunch more choices, the last of which is “Even More”; click this. You will be sent to a page with 45 choices and they are truly soup to nuts. Choose “Blogs” or “Alerts”. Turns out that Google Blogs is really a specific application of Google Alerts, so when you learn how to set one up, you’ve set up the other as well. At any rate, start searching. Do you have a company identified? Maybe F5 Networks? How about Swedish Hospital? Premera Insurance? What’s the name of a company you are interested in? See what comes back.
Now that you’ve started, the challenge is making a search useful. So, just for grins, I ran a search on Amazon and got 151 million hits! Yikes! Not useful. Clicked on the Advanced Search button, made it Amazon Corporate with the phrase “public relations”, down to 8 million, still not useful. Add Seattle to the search and we’re down to 800,000, better, but we need to be under 200. Put the word “Contract” in the words that can’t be there, down to 300,000. “Marketing & Sales” in the exact phrase portion and now at 150,000…
You get the idea; You need to work on this until it provides results you can actually get through on a normal basis. At this level, it might be worth setting up your daily report and reviewing it for a couple of days, just to see what comes up. 151,000 is a huge number, but it includes stuff going back years. If the limit is that last 24 hours, it may be useful.
Set up is the hardest part for all of these tools. Finding a “useful” search will take time, but once set up, it just keeps on giving!
All of this takes us back to having a specific focus. If you want to work “anywhere” at Amazon, there is simply too much information! If you want to be hired by the PR department, then it may will be easier, and it will definitely be easier to understand how the team works.