Sunday, September 28, 2008

BE PROACTIVE IN YOUR JOB SEARCH--contact organizations directly

As the Bay Area job market slows down, it’s going to be even more important for job seekers to practice proactive job search strategies. One of the most effective proactive approaches I encourage my career clients to pursue is contacting organizations directly.

When I compare job seekers who struggle to get interviews with those who maintain a strong level of interview activity, I usually see a difference in their approaches. The ones who struggle tend to be more passive about their search. They rely heavily on job boards, and then versus customizing their resume to match the opening, they send the same resume in for jobs they see posted. Usually they aren’t sure who even posted the position, or who is receiving their resume. They are completely dependant on the recipient of their resume seeing them as a fit for the position.

They may also have their resume with a few recruiters. Working with recruiters certainly enhances one’s exposure to the market; however, one still must wait for the recruiter to decide which, if any job, they want to contact you about. That’s as far as most job seekers usually go.

I believe looking at job boards and working with recruiters is a basic necessity for your job search. However, you shouldn’t stop there. The people I work with who tend to have the most interview activity, certainly use job boards and recruiters, but also spend time working with and expanding their network. Linked In, , is probably the most popular networking tool out there.

The most significant edge I see in successful job seekers utilizing is reaching out to organizations directly. A few weeks ago, I showed a career coaching client of mine a web site where one can find companies in different locales within the Bay Area. When we visited a few of the company web sites, she was amazed that jobs she was qualified for were posted on the company websites, and not posted on mainstream job boards. Doing a little homework, and finding leads that the average job seeker is missing can feel like discovering gold.

For more information about how to target and identify prospective companies of interest, as well as learning what to say once you’ve contacted them, check out Alchemy’s Career Services practice:

--Steve Hernandez