Avoid the Job Search ‘Void’ with an Action Plan

One of the key parts of any job search happens before you press send to submit your resume online. Once you have developed your story and your elevator pitch, you need to refine and organize you network. This includes not only those who are in a position to employ you, but also anyone you feel can help - even tangentially – help you move closer to your goal.

Clients often find me after months of conducting their job-search virtually, sending resume after resume online with little or no results. They are up against what I call the ‘black hole’ a discouraging space devoid of feedback and progress. Driving your job search online is disheartening and ineffective.

Many capable job seekers - especially recent grads - are shocked when I explain to them that the actual response rate for online resume submission is only 3-6%.

The sophisticated software and automated job tracking systems HR professionals now use screens applicants with an algorithm that uses a point by point system to find the best matching resumes. The move towards efficiency means that often extremely talented candidates are left out in the cold. 

That's why I advise my clients: there is a "job before the job" that they need to do to improve their odds and outcomes: networking and developing key professional relationships.

The critical step - and by critical, I mean essential – is to organize and chart that target list, whether it’s a computer spreadsheet or hand written chart. If you are generating lots of outreach you can expect your contact total to grow and this is the only way to keep abreast of dates called/emailed, follow up, and next steps. This will help you avoid feeling overwhelmed: make it easy on yourself and don’t expect to remember it all. 

Over the course of my career as a successful business executive and career coach I have learned that hiring is a very personal process. Soft skills are in high demand now and the candidate has to be a good fit for the company culture. Who shows up for the interview just is as important as who is on the resume. Working your network: speaking, meeting, all forms of interpersonal contact improve your odds at creating opportunities.  

What do you do when you hear ‘we aren’t hiring’? 

Think ahead. You’re not just trying to land a specific job, you’re also creating a network of individuals who will be resources for you in the future. You don’t know which seed will take root.

You may not be catching people when they are at their buying moment, but they may know someone who is. Remember: if it’s not a job opportunity, it’s a networking moment. Share your objective and suggest that, while they may not be hiring at the moment, they may know others who need your skills.

If done in a disciplined, organized fashion - with an optimistic and gracious attitude- your network will lead you to someone who is in a position to hire and who will be grateful your mutual contact led you to them.

Fran Berrick