How To Take Your Job Search Power Back

March 15, 2016

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When you’re a smart professional who’s probably networked your way into virtually every job you’ve ever had, it can be frustrating to find that – all of a sudden, today – sliding into that next great role isn’t happening as easily and quickly as you thought it should.

What also happens quickly and easily: candidates fall into the mode of chasing opportunities, hunting people down, and waiting for a response from the real decision maker. And as you wait, and wish, and hope, guess what? You’re giving up your power. That’s because you’re depending on someone else to do something that secures your professional future. No. Don’t do that. Take your power back. Here are 3 ways to do it:

1) Upgrade from “job search” to “company search”

Understand this: when you search for a job, reach the decision maker, interview, but don’t get the job, then that opportunity is over. You’re done. It’s a finite scenario. Instead, turn that into a virtually infinite scenario by not just looking for an ideal job. Rather, look for an ideal company.

Start literally in your own back yard. Find out what companies are within a 10, 15 or 20-mile commutable distance from your home. Use Google news to identify the companies that are growing, which could come in the form of launching a new product or opening a new division. Those are the companies where you need to apply.

Here’s what happens when you do a company search: the 1 job opportunity you originally saw may turn into a dozen opportunities. Then, it doesn’t matter if that 1 job doesn’t come to fruition. You can still leverage those contacts and whatever “in” you got with the organization to identify additional opportunities. Pursue multiple avenues in the organization you like, rather than multiple jobs at random companies.

2) Change from blasting your resume to targeting your resume

All over the Internet, it says job search is a numbers game. That’s true. However, most people are looking at the wrong numbers. What’s wrong is to blast your resume all over every job board, and applying to every opening online – it’s not the most productive use of your time.

What will bear the most fruit is first identifying a potential role, then identifying a potential influencer or decision maker, and finally, applying for that role AND targeting your resume to that influencer in the same moment. Craft a short email to the person saying you came across the position, applied, and you were wondering if they’d be open to a 5-minute discussion this week. Keep your email short and sweet. You’d be amazed at the number of responses you can get.

3) Pursue the stretch goals the same way you pursue your regular goals

So many of us have the real-world job that we qualify for, as well as the dream job or dream career that we’re building up for – that’s your stretch goal. You can go for both at the same time. To do this, use 2 versions of your resume. The only elements of the resume that vary are the opening summary and keywords – use each to showcase the areas of expertise you want to highlight in each of the 2 scenarios.

Do some math: make sure 75% of the opportunities you pursue are in your real-world category, and 25% of the opportunities are your stretch goals. Doing so allows you to hold on to your safety net while still taking some realistic steps to following your dreams.

I believe in taking your power back. There is no way your job search results should be left 100% up to someone else. Go for the companies you want, those you like, and those which demonstrate a corporate culture in which you see yourself thriving. Get your resume in front of only those who are relevant to you – the recruiters and decision makers who can actually move you along in the hiring process. And allow yourself space to go after your dreams – you’d be amazed at the number of times I’ve seen people pursue that dream job, and land it!

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