Today the blog features a guest post by Ryon Harms who writes The Social Executive.
find a job, finding a job, 60 days, career strategy, job searchThey say luck happens when preparation meets opportunity. Without the years of networking, personal branding and a voracious consumption of career related blogs like this one, the learning curve of a recently out of work executive would have added three to six months to my unemployment. And while many of you may be out of work for the first time in a long time, there are still some essential lessons I’ve successfully implemented that I believe can get you back to gainful employment within the next 60 days.
Here are the 10 ways to find a job in 60 days or less:
1. Be Together. The first thing I did was organize a team of executives going through the same challenges. I read Keith Ferrazzi’s book, Who’s Got Your Back, and used those principals to recruit five peers from various industries to help vet my transition strategy and keep me on track despite my excuses. Being unemployed can be lonely. Finding the right support group makes a measurable difference, both tactically and emotionally.
2. Be Networking. I didn’t write a single cover letter unless I could get at least one introduction into the hiring company. I refused to waste time sending my carefully written resume and cover letter into the black hole of HR. It’s not HR’s fault, they’re just inundated. Focus your efforts on companies where you’ve got a human connection and you’ll get a human response.
3. Be LinkedIn. LinkedIn isn’t just a place to collect contacts. While most job seekers are on LinkedIn, a tiny minority is actually maximizing it. If you want to master LinkedIn, read blogs like Windmill Networking by my friend Neal Schaffer. The first thing I did was create a list of 100 people from my LinkedIn contacts that I knew had my back. I scheduled a meeting with everybody on that list first, and then I moved on to the rest.
4. Be Relentless. However much work you think it’ll take to find a job, double it. Then double the amount of time. The only way not to underestimate just how much effort it takes is to work harder than you did working full time. That means sacrifices, like not spending a bunch of extra time with your family just because you’re out of work. There were times when my wife got frustrated because I didn’t have a job and still couldn’t help out around the house. I told her that I actually had less time and more pressure than before, and she understood.
5. Be Specific. I can’t tell you how many people I met networking that couldn’t give me a clear answer on what they sought. Sometimes months or years after leaving their last jobs. If you are not crystal clear about what you want, and I mean laser targeted, people won’t know how to help you, even when they really want to. I knew what I wanted and only communicated my experiences that supported that goal. Start with your dream job description and be like a dog with a bone.
6. Be Positive. Even in my lowest moments, I let very few people feel my pain. When I met with a connection or potential employer, my attitude was that I didn’t need a job, but that I would take one if I found one I couldn’t live without. And mostly that was true. There’s no bigger turn off than the smell of desperation. There’s a visceral response to people that are either very optimistic or depressed. The former elicits the response you need to get hired.
7. Be Open. For job search, I highly recommend the shotgun approach. That means reaching out to everybody you’ve ever met, no matter what their industry or background. And since you’re working overtime, you’ll have time to meet them all. It helps to aim generally towards the executive level and at those currently working, but the truth is you never know where the final introduction will originate.
8. Be Blogging. If you don’t have an online presence, you don’t exist. Plain and simple. Your resume can only take you so far. Even well written resumes aren’t much better than a self-written obituary. A blog allows employers to dig deeper for a broader understanding of what you can offer. They also allow you to talk about the present and future of your industry, rather than the past. If you want to live in the past, stick with your resume. If you want to show a company where you’ll take them in the future, write a blog.
9. Be Nostalgic. You don’t always have to be expanding your network with new relationships. There’s a time to meet with new people, but I found my current position by reigniting relationships from transitions past. That meant reaching out to all of my connections on LinkedIn that I made more than two years ago. I spent the vast majority of my time meeting old connections for coffee and whatever was left meeting with new people.
10. Be Giving. Last, but certainly not least, you should be spending 80 percent of your time giving to others, and just 20 percent asking for something in return. Most people flip that equation because they can’t handle taking on the risk of helping others without a guaranteed return. However, the truth is that not helping others is the much bigger risk. Risk isn’t really a good description at that point, because you are almost guaranteed not achieve your goals without first paying it forward.
The story of how I landed my job was unique. I was able to ask and get two warm introductions into my employer. Despite being told by HR that I would be getting a second interview with the hiring manager, one never materialized. Luckily I had met with another executive in the company through an introduction, in a totally unrelated department, and he was able to figure out why my interview process had stalled. Turned out that they had me down as already having been hired somewhere else and so my resume was taken out of circulation. That’s just another example of why you can never rest and why you must take advantage of every possible angle.
Ryon Harms (@thesocialexec) writes about networking, careers and social media for executives at TheSocialExec.com.