Being Human in the World of Job Hunting

Being Human in the World of Job Hunting

I would bet that everyone reading this has at some point been a jobseeker. It seems impossible to me that you cannot at some point have been looking for work. If you were the child entrepreneur, then maybe the last time you looked for a job was from the cornershop owner who paid you do a paper round – or when you were looking for babysitter gigs. But I bet you have looked for work at some point in your life.

And we all know some of the most stressful things in life – weddings, moving house and, of course looking for a job. And it’s equally as stressful for a grad fresh out of university as it is for someone who’s been in there job for a while and needs to look for something new.

I have been a recruiter for 20 years now and have recruited in the UK and globally. During that time, I’ve spoken to thousands of people about changing jobs. Boy, trust me when I say the world of job searching has changed more than I could ever imagine. People talk about how lastminute.com changed travel, about how Uber changed taxis, about how AirBnB changed hotels. I think how LinkedIn and Indeed have changed recruitment is up there with all of these.

What has happened is that finding your next job has become a vast universe of online data that can be easily entered by anyone, but not easily accessed to get where you want to get to.

Think about it. You have lost your job in these crappy COVID times, you need to secure a new role. What do you do? Talk to some recruiters, which ones – there seems to be so many. Do they all have the same jobs? Are these jobs even real?

What about looking on the job boards, which ones? Do I register on all of them? Are they advertising the same jobs? What about LinkedIn jobs, where do I start? There is so much data out there and I don’t even know how much is true.

Even when you do start, you spend time on a well-written CV, you upload your nicely prepared CV on to that website and of course your well-written cover letter, you click on the send button and off it whizzes into the system. You then get a nice polite automated message back thanking you for applying and then 9 times out of 10, never hear a word again!

And when you have done that 10 times, 20 times, 100 times, how do you keep motivated and how do you stay positive?

I’d like to share with you an idea on how you can make your job hunting a more personal, human experience that will also keep you motivated and result in finding opportunities that aren’t even out there on the LinkedIns and the Indeeds of the world.

This might sound pretty obvious, but I am jumping ahead of the basics here – I am assuming you are already clear on what you want to do and have confidence in yourself that you can work in that field. Self-confidence is a vital ingredient in securing that role that you want. You need to stop short of arrogance, but demonstrating confidence in your desire to do a role, you will come across well to those you want to impress.

So let’s talk about what you can do – I have broken it down into three parts…

  1. Step one is to build relationships with a variety of people across your target field – not just the head honchos in those top companies you want to work at – they get inundated with people contacting them and you will get lost in that myriad of data and emails I mentioned earlier. Look to develop relationships with others at that organisation or who work within the field. The recruiters – both internal and external – who work specifically in that field (look at their posts on Linked In, see what they talk about, make sure it’s specialised to what you want to do, look at how long they have operated in that field, watch out for newbie recruiters and generalists). Seek out the key professionals who are at that company – they may not be the hiring manager, but they already have relationships with the hiring manager. Look them up and see whether they have a Linked In profile, a Twitter feed, an Instagram. Comment in a relevant way on their posts, read their blogs or their articles, engage with them and then, with these industry professionals and industry recruiters – step 2…
  2. Get offline – yes, as I have said, you will need to do a lot of job searching and research on the internet and that will form part of your job, you’ll certainly want to build your network and your relationship with those key people, but by putting all your eggs in one online basket and relying upon just email and social media, you will be missing out on the most vital of job search ingredients, the human connection. You need to be having an informal coffee with as many of these relevant people as you can, not to ask them about hiring you, but by expanding your network and looking for opportunities that may present themselves to you. They will open the door to hidden opportunities that never make it to the job boards.
  3. “But hang on a second, Pete, who’s going to meet with me – they are too busy, don’t know who I am.” Yes, exactly. That brings me on to my third and final step. The “Let’s meet for a coffee” message you send them – what’s in it for them? Well, that’s where you need to do switch it up a gear and make sure you are offering them something in exchange for their time – for instance, for the recruiter you want to meet – “Let’s meet for coffee – there’s a few people in my network that you might be interested in getting to know and I’d love to understand more about your connections.” Or the Professional, the Hiring Manager – “Let’s meet for coffee – I have been engaging with a lot of companies in our sector recently – I’d love to share with you some of the areas I have learnt from them and see if you are thinking the same.”

 

And those coffee meetings with as many people in your field is the mantra you need to find those hidden opportunities – you should be aiming for 50 informal coffee meetings with people in your target field as that will create some serious opportunities for you.

So yes, you will be spending a lot of time online building your platform, but then the human connection element will help you stand out in that busy job search – get it right and you will already have some relationships in place and they will want to talk to you about joining their organisation!

So to summarise:

  1. Build relationships with people across your target companies and target sector
  2. Get offline and meet people for coffee
  3. Get that coffee by offering something in return that benefits them

 

Pete Marston

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