Know what my single biggest piece of advice to achieving career hunting success is?
It’s a complex, yet VERY simple concept.
It is: BECOME OBSESSED.
Yes, become obsessed.
It’s that simple. If you want to accomplish something, get great at something, or attain something, you need to become obsessed over it.
In the career searching realm (whether laid off, unhappy in your current role, switching industries etc.),
this means getting creative with the ways in which you market yourself. Think about yourself as a brochure that is currently sitting on your grandma’s kitchen table that no one reads and is heading to the recycling bin soon. Instead you want to be the billboard poster on a New York Times Square building that 900,000 people read every single day. We need to get you to THAT level but it doesn’t happen through the traditional ‘apply online’ method you may be limiting yourself to.
Here are some of the ways in which becoming obsessed with your career search can translate into landing your next career role.
1. Make a list of top 25-50 companies that are a) currently hiring and b) you are interested in and align with your career trajectory. The reason we want to make two separate lists is because while the companies that have a open role posted online and have a clear immediate need to hire should be focused on, other companies may have a need for the role you are looking for too but don’t have it posted online. It’s important to have a solid idea of the specific role you are looking for, down to the title within the companies.
2. Once you have crafted the list of companies you are interested in joining, make every effort to research and understand the industry, each business and ultimately find out what challenges the company may be navigating right now (especially in the middle of a pandemic). When you have obsessively researched the companies you are interested in, you are going to craft problem solving and tailored deliverables that makes you stand out from all of the applications by a MILE (eg. similarly branded cover-letter, resume, PowerPoint presentation, brochure). The deliverable should be appropriate to the industry and role you are applying for. I remember in one of my past roles, we were hiring for a Vice President, Strategic Communications. This was a high-profile role making a SUBSTANTIAL income for a very large employer. Do you know what one of the candidates did that not only made his application rise to the top of the application pile but also landed him an interview within one week, second interview within another week and ultimately a job offer? He created a company branded resume brochure that not only highlighted his past experience but also talked about what he could do for this potential employer. It. looked. awesome. Oh, and know what else? He spend the time and money (I’m sure less than $10.00) to print the flyer off in color so it looked professional and fresh then hand delivered it. Clearly he was passionate, driven and stood out in my mind (even years later). Make it your goal for this to be you.
3. Make a list of employees within each company you have obsessively researched and start networking. You need to find people who not only know about the role but could potentially have an impact on hiring for it. Time to fire up LinkedIn. Does their profile list their email? If not, can you find it through a email hunting tool? Phone number? There are many tools you can use to source someones email such as Email Hunter and Mailscoop etc. Once you find your potential influencers (the list you created), it’s time to do some stalking so you can effectively reach out and build that relationship! The key is to understand what is kosher to bring up out of the blue and what isn’t. People are OK with you checking out their LinkedIn, but they may be a little weirded out if you mention that picture from Friday’s party that you saw on Facebook. If it exists on LinkedIn, it’s fair to bring up as a ice breaker. Next, you move to crafting the networking email. This can be an extremely nerve-wracking part in the process but this is one of the most important steps. Some ice-breaker topics include:
- Their non-traditional background
- People you know in common
- An interesting career transition
- A current or past project of theirs
- The same school or program you attended
- A blog topic they wrote
- Something interesting from their personal website
Here are some sweet cold email templates that can help you make the introduction easier: how to cold email like a boss.
Now, if and when you get email responses, use those networking skill to grab a coffee, ask them about their experience and display what you crafted and how YOU are the ONE they should recommend.
Chances of getting a response through traditional ‘apply online’ methods? <5%
Chances of getting a response from BECOMING OBSESSED? My guess is 95%
This is career coaching 101.