Why Job Searches Stall – Part 2
In Part 2 of this series on why job searches stall, we’ll look at common strategic mistakes executives make that slowdown their transitions to new roles. We’ll also offer suggestions for overcoming them.
With companies using job eliminations as a “go-to” business strategy, knowing how to launch and direct a job search is a “must-have” skill which every executive needs to master.
Searching Only Online: Many job seekers spend too much time applying for positions online. Research shows that online applications work for maybe 5% – 10% of job seekers (probably it’s even less at the more senior levels). One reason for the low success rate is that applicant tracking system’s (ATS) use software to eliminate resumes before a human ever reads one. Another is that online postings generate 300 or more resumes for each role so competition is fierce. But the biggest issue with online postings is that you miss the “hidden” job market where positions get filled through other channels, including who-you-know and word-of-mouth. We’re not saying that you should never apply online for a role which you think is a great fit. We are saying do it selectively, and spend a lot more time swimming in other lanes in the job search pool.
Leading with the Resume: Many clients rely too much on their resumes to land their next position. They give it to friends and colleagues and get excited when people tell that them that they’ll send it along to someone else. Or they meet with a networking contact and give them the resume and ask if he/she is hiring or if they know someone who is hiring. The problem is: nine times out of ten, the networking contact doesn’t know about any open jobs. We need the resume when there is an open position because the resume is what search firms, talent recruiters and hiring managers use to decide who gets interviewed. We need an additional approach to engage with our contacts so that they can help us with information and connections. That’s another swim lane entirely for the job search.
Not Having A Marketing Plan: How can we help our networking contacts to help us? That’s where a one-page marketing plane comes in. It’s a one-page document that helps you articulate your goal, brand, expertise and value. It gives your networking partner a more strategic understanding of your capabilities. It also includes a list of companies you’d like to learn more about. This brings focus to your search and helps avoid wheel-spinning. It also helps your networking contact offer perspective on your messaging plus introductions to companies on your target list where he/she knows someone. The idea is to get introduced to potential hiring managers now, even before a position is posted.
Not Talking to a Lot of People: Executives in transition greatly underestimate the number of people they need to talk to during their searches. Experience shows that job seekers may need to talk to dozens of people every month during their searches. From those talks come introductions to hiring managers. This means that job seekers need to start with who they know but quickly expand outside their circles of known family and friends. That’s because most job seekers get introduced to their next role by someone who they don’t know today. So if you’re talking to just a few people you know every week, you’re search likely will take a very long time. Instead, aim to have three conversations per day – or 15 per week – about your search, as you cultivate new relationships with executives connected to your target list of companies.