As you begin your executive job search or hit the reset button due to a lack of success in your job hunt, I want to share a strategy that other recruiters might call blasphemy and that HR departments don't want you to hear about. Employing this strategy is absolutely the fastest way for you to land a job. Ready?
First, a disclosure. Prior to beginning my executive search and executive coaching business, ALL of my jobs (except for one) came through someone I knew. That's right, someone I personally knew or someone who was a professional colleague recommended I apply for a specific job and referred me to my future manager. Again, none of these jobs came through a recruiter or a job posting (except the one). This is networking in its purest form...someone you know helps you land an opportunity (in this case a job) with someone you don't know. Don' worry, I'm no better at networking than you and after you follow the steps below you'll be a networking ninja!
So, with this in mind, here's the strategy to get you from here to employed in the fastest time:
- Once you've gotten over the setback of losing your job OR decided it's time to find a new one, it's time to reinvigorate your personal network. Go through the contact list on your phone or in your email client and reconnect with everyone you've lost contact with or who doesn't know your beginning a job search. Tools like LinkedIn and Facebook make it easier than ever for us to find old school mates, friends and colleagues we used to work with. Reach out to them to say hello, catch up on lost time and to let them know you are looking for a job. They may not be able to help directly, but as Robert Frost once said "way leads on to way." So, what you will find as you begin to reconnect with your network is that word spreads that you are looking for a job and maybe, just maybe, out of the blue, you get a call from someone who was told you might be the perfect fit for the job they're trying to fill. And why will they call? Because hiring great employees is really hard and referrals from friends, employees and colleagues tend to be the best future employees.
- Then, after you've decided exactly what you want to do in the next chapter of your life, I want you to build a list of 10 companies you think you would like to work for and figure out who you personally know at those companies. If you do know someone, ask them if they can recommend who you should speak to for the position you're hoping to win. If they do know WHO, then see if they will provide you with a referral directly to that person. On the other hand, if you don't know anyone who works at the company or who knows anyone who works at the company, go to step 3.
- Assuming you don't have anyone in your network who works at the company you are targeting, or knows someone who works at the company you are targeting, then it's time to employee your internet search skills to find contact information for the person you think might be your future manager at the company. For instance, if you want to win a sales role in the southeast, you might look for the contact information of someone at the company with a title like "Regional Vice President of Sales" who lives in Atlanta, Georgia. You might find this contact information on the company's website, or through research tools like zoominfo or Data.com. You will also want to look for them on LinkedIn for a couple of reasons. First, you'll look for them so you can connect with them if you can't seem to find their company email address or direct dial office number. Second, you'll use LinkedIn to learn about them prior to beginning your direct outreach and emailing/speaking with them.
- Once you find your future manager's email address or you connect with them on LinkedIn, reach out to request a conversation. Be brief in your message and don't include your resume. But, do include 2-3 of your greatest results oriented accomplishments that you think would benefit them too.
- Once you make contact and have a conversation, strive to sell them on a face to face meeting/interview.
- If you are unable to reach the person after a couple of tries using the methods above (or you want to skip those steps altogether), pick up the phone and call them to deliver your elevator pitch.
- If, after using both of these methods, you are still not receiving a response, try to connect with other people in the company who could help put you in contact with the person you are trying to reach.
- Finally (or even before you email, call or connect with others), purchase and send one of your favorite business books to them. Include a slightly longer letter than your emails, but keep it results oriented on how you can help them increase sales, cut costs, become more efficient, improve customer service, generate greater ROI from marketing, etc. Send it using an overnight courier like Fedex and call the day after it has been delivered. You can even specify in your letter the exact time you will call. This exceptional step will make you memorable and should at least guarantee you get a conversation.
- Once you've exhausted all of these steps on one of your target companies (but preferably at the same time), begin reaching out to the next company/hiring manager on your list.
- One last thing, should you find your dream job posted on some job board, do not, I repeat, DO NOT blindly submit your resume without first exhausting the steps above to win the job!
Employing this strategy and going beyond conventional job search methods will take courage and probably require you to get out of your comfort zone. But, the reward of a great new job (maybe your best job ever) will be worth it! And, I promise you it is the fastest way to employment and 99% of job hunters aren't doing it. What are you waiting for???
Lagniappe: A little something extra! More resources that might help your effort:
- We're assuming you already have a great LinkedIn Profile and Resume to ultimately share.
- Find Anyone's Email Address
- Writing Effective Networking Emails
- Want a Job? How good is your PITCH?
- Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters