How to personalize your job search

By Scot Herrick | Job Search

Nov 13

The job search is moving from art form to science. With the changes in the job market, plus how companies are posting for positions, what you did in 2001 to find a job won’t work in 2010. Or, at least, not work as well.

Cubicle Warriors know that when you have six people competing for every available position, the beginning of an inefficient job search begins when you start looking for a job without having a job search strategy for you. In the past, it was simple — check the newspaper, check a big job board, get the job.

That was then. This is now and the world changed.

Your job search strategy needs to focus on three different areas that will personalize your job search:

Job boards still work — if you use the right ones

If you want to get lost in Monster, be my guest. Far better to use job boards that are targeted to the types of jobs that you have skills and experience that you can use to focus your search.

While I don’t know the exact number, it is safe to say that many job postings on job boards are being used to see what type of talent responds to the posting with no job opening in sight. Companies and their recruiters do this to find talent, judge the level of competition for the job, to see the competitive salary requirements (read: lower) and to see what competitors employees might be looking for a change.

But you can still create employer and recruiter interest in your skills and work through job boards and using ones focused on your career is the better way to use them.

Plus, if your targeted searches on the job boards brings up hundreds of good jobs, it tells you one thing. If your targeted searches used to bring up hundreds of job openings and they now bring up one, that tells you something else.

And don’t overlook directly going to company web sites to see job openings and register with their site. It makes sense that companies will post their jobs there first since it costs them little and they can see the unfiltered responses for their effort. This is especially true of medium to small companies who want to minimize cash outlays for job boards.

Social networks are in the mix

Social networks are increasingly good ways to to know about and find potential openings. LinkedIn is probably the best known for jobs and they have their job postings.

But another way of using LinkedIn is targeting one of your linked associate’s connections as a gateway to a company. For example, if there is an opening at XYZ company, you can search your linked associates to see if they have any connections through LinkedIn with people that work for that company. A competent introduction is done and now you are talking to a real live person instead of trying to beat a computer at accepting your resume for a position you are qualified to do.

Twitter is trying to be a gateway into the job market as well. Searching for jobs or following recruiters in your area of expertise can provide leads that you might not see through the traditional job boards. And, through examining the posts on your type of job, you will get a sense of the market.

Now companies are starting to place positions on their own Fan pages on Facebook. This is yet another way of avoiding the fees for different job boards, advertising in other media or even using recruiters to fill positions. Although, in my opinion, a good recruiter is a great asset for a company to use to find good people for job openings.

And if you don’t know how to use these social media tips or wonder what all the fuss is about, it’s not 2001 anymore. Time to learn.

Networking still rocks

A good friend of mine just ended an eight-day job search by accepting an offer that was known to him by one of his former co-workers. The candidate walked into the door with a recommendation from that former co-worker as well.

Cubicle Warriors know they get an unfair advantage going into job interviews when the job opening is unadvertised and accompanied by a recommendation from someone in their network. Wouldn’t you like to have that advantage?

The key question is how to utilize your network so that you can help people as well as your network helping you. There are tools that can help you manage your network (and I don’t mean your LinkedIn network or your Facebook or your Twitter network — but your network…).

My favorite tool is Jibber Jobber. It is a tool that not only helps you do a job search, but also helps you manage your career. Networking and managing your network is part of this comprehensive tool. Remember, our job environment is one where people need to know when they think their job will end and will continuously need to know of open positions in their field. Jibber Jobber is a great tool to do just that.

Another good tool is UpMo, which stands for upward mobility. Basically, this tool is used to help you identify your network and then looks at your career goals. Based on how you do your work, UpMo then provides you a networking pattern that can be used to consistently communicate with your network and help you reach networking goals.

The point here is that ad hoc networking doesn’t cut it anymore. Cubicle Warriors know that constantly building, maintaining and communicating with their business network is one area where they have control over their career. Having a robust business network gets them into the know about positions, jobs and opportunities faster than those who simply think networking is where you hand out your business card at a meeting somewhere.

Using these networking tools gives Cubicle Warriors a big advantage over others who don’t.

You can’t job search like it was 2001 anymore

If you want to inefficiently use your time to find a job and have poor results, you can do what you did in 2001. People focused on their careers adapt to the changes in the job market as well as embrace the tools that support the job search.

Are you still doing a job search like it was 2001? Or have you ramped up your game so that you are ready for 2010?

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About the Author

Scot Herrick is the author of “I’ve Landed My Dream Job–Now What???” and owner of Cube Rules, LLC. Scot has a long history of management and individual contribution in multiple Fortune 100 corporations.