Job search can be a frustrating experience, especially since the old ways of searching for jobs simply don’t work so well any more. Want ads, anyone?
But the best way of finding opportunities is to learn about them from the people you know in other companies. Those people already have a good idea on what job opportunities there are in their company. Plus they already know the corporate culture better than any hiring manager or HR group will tell you about in an interview.
And, most importantly, they can recommend you to the hiring manager.
Ringo Nishioka epitomizes the new mantra of job hunting: Who you know and what you know count more than ever.
The jobless executive landed the top human-resources spot for WhitePages Inc. in March, thanks to an introduction by a business-intelligence analyst there. Lotus Kam told executives that Mr. Nishioka shone in the same role when they worked together at another Seattle start-up.
You know what the biggest problem most people have succeeding in this job hunting technique? They don’t stay in contact with enough people.
So how to you build a better business network?
I consistently tell people to not keep their important career information (resume, performance reviews, or Cube Rules newsletters…) on corporate systems. That includes all your contacts on corporate systems (read: Outlook) with their corporate phone and e-mail address information. Get laid off and there go all of your resources for getting your results for your resume and career advice at the exact time you need it the most. Despite the ongoing advice, I still get 50+ “Out of Office” returns on my e-mails, interspersed with 4-5 “no longer with the company” responses.
You need the personal e-mail addresses and cell phone numbers of the people you want to stay in contact with, not their company information. That is the only way you are assured of communicating with these people over time.
People who leave your company tend to go to work at other companies. It is conceivable that if 25 of your coworkers leave your company over the course of a year, they will work in 25 different companies in your community. This is a terrific advantage: you have access to information about opportunities in 25 other companies.
Provided you kept in touch with those departed coworkers, of course. Do you keep in contact with them? Sadly, most people don’t. Sorry about missing those five openings perfectly fitting your qualifications; they didn’t need advertising because other people filled them and no one remembered you…
In your field, professional organizations can help you build other contacts in other companies. This is especially true in support fields such as information technology, finance or project management. These are roles that cut across companies, regardless of the type of business being run.
The good news? Almost all of these people work in separate companies where you can now have contacts.
Yes, who you know is now more important than ever. Yet, with eight million jobs lost, people don’t keep track of their colleagues and coworkers outside their little work environment. They don’t have a system for communicating with these people. They don’t hear about the jobs before the job posting from their business network because they didn’t keep up with people. Worst of all, they abdicate the incredible “recommendation from inside the company” advantage they get from a former coworker who is now a current employee recommending them to the hiring manager.
But, you know, who needs advantages like that in this jobs environment? The want ads are just as good for finding a job, aren’t they?