To get the job that you want: Focus on the people, not the postings

I get a lot of people asking me to help them find jobs. I’m not sure if they read about my job interview failures before they asked, but I digress.

Their story is usually the same:

  • They hate their current job, or don’t like how much they get paid
  • They want to find a job outside of their current industry.
  • They have been applying online for 2 months without any luck.
  • They know they can succeed in the job that they are going for.

The last bullet point is the one that hurts them the most inside. They know that if someone gave them the opportunity to do a specific job, that with little training they can knock it out of the park. They can become an expert in no time. I also believe the same thing when talking to them. Why can’t someone just give them an opportunity?

Their problems usually comes down to this one point: Their network sucks. To even say that they have a network is pushing it. Their network is their friends, and 9 out of 10 times their friends are in a very similar situation as them if not worse.

The economy is also a big factor in these types of situations.  The economy has forced companies who are hiring to find someone who has work experience in that specific role AND that specific industry. If you’re a sales manager at a a Car Dealership and you want to become a Sales Manager at a Wireless Store such as Verizon, you have about a 0.00% chance of getting that job. You were 1 for 2, and they NEEDED 2 for 2.

HOWEVER, let’s say you knew the hiring manager from a previous job and he liked your work. He reached out to YOU, to see if YOU were interested.  Your chances of becoming the next Sales Manager at the Wireless store has risen DRAMATICALLY.  Even though you’re at the dealership, he’s willing to give you that opportunity. You were connected with him in the past, and he’s confident you can learn on the job.

You got lucky that you knew him, but here’s the deal: If you didn’t keep in touch with that person, he would have never reached out to you. It’s a long term effort, so keep your connections close. You will never know when you will need them or they will need you.
Let me cover some basics about getting job interviews and job offers:

  • The job that you want is almost never posted online.
  • The job that you don’t know you want is also almost never posted online.
  • The job that you want will almost always come to you unexpectedly and it has everything to do with who you know.
  • If you are applying to more than 3 job postings in one night, you’re in desperation mode. Stop and think about who can help you get what you need. Find the right people within those companies.
  • You need to tell your connections that you are looking for a job. This usually can not be done in stealth mode. The reason is so they can help you with your search.  Ask for assistance.
  • Focus on the people that are willing to help you find a job. Focus on your most connected and successful friends / family. But again, you must ASK for assistance. ASK to be connected with others.
  • Build your network and the jobs will come, I promise.

I can write a whole book on this, but I’ve covered what i think is the framework for job searching. I will write another post about how to build connections when you don’t have any. It’s a situation I found myself in many times.

PS: Read the only resignation letter template you’ll ever need.