The Labor Department announced in June that the average length of unemployment is at an all-time high, the average being 39.7 weeks. Are these just the times we’re living in? What can people be doing differently?
Based on my recent experiences with Career Coaching clients from a variety of backgrounds, the answer is in the method of approach. Many people use what I call the “Being Found” approach. This consists primarily of placing your resume or profile on multiple career networking sites, submitting resumes through online applications, tagging your resume/profile with strategic keywords so that it might get picked up via searches, etc. The hope in doing all this work is that someone will stumble upon your resume/profile/portfolio, discover your expertise and contact you.
Have people found jobs using the Being Found approach? Sure. Recruiters are absolutely using tools like LinkedIn to find great talent. But the reality is that you’ll be one of 100 other people who look great on paper. Heck, sometimes it’s not even real people who are filtering through resumes. I recently blogged at CareerStr8Talk.com about how recruiters often lean on computer software that scans keywords across resumes and “filters” a list of qualified applicants. But people take advantage of this software, using keywords all over their resume to get matched. This results in recruiters having to weed through a stack of unqualified applicants. My point? That while you’re sitting and waiting, recruiters are having a hard time realizing what even sets you apart.
This being the case, I recommend you embrace the Find Approach. To “Find” means having the attitude that you’re not waiting for someone to find you, but will rather put yourself in their path. There are multiple ways of finding decision makers through focused strategies and the use of social media networks like LinkedIn. Some of these decision makers may not even have job openings… yet. Even then you want to meet and seize the opportunity to make a lasting impression.
Finding these decision makers starts with targeting a specific role and industry. Connect over social media or through a referral, then YOU set up a meeting, even if it’s just for coffee. Do this with as many key leaders within your target market as possible so that you become a known identity within the industry. This will set you apart in the minds of decision makers, meaning you won’t get lost in the resume shuffle.
Remember that leaders are always looking for good people before they need them. So when an organization expands, or a manager has poor performers and wants to make a change, or they’re thinking about restructuring their department, YOU will be top of mind and the one they reach out to first.
Every hiring decision maker would take someone they know and trust over who they might find in a stack of resumes any day.
So take the first step. Start finding until the career you want is found.