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The Job of Looking for a Job

For those who are struggling to find something, even if you already have a job, I know it can be frustrating, even demoralizing. Given all the connectivity and big companies failing, there are a lot more talented people in the pool looking for good roles. Just keep swimming and leverage your contacts!

For those out of work, there will be bad days. Some of the best advice I’ve heard is to “focus on small wins” – Watch this Navy Seal Admiral Shares Reasons to Make Bed Every day. Stay current (tips here – “My” Daily Marketing Shortlist), consider some pro-bono work (I like Taproot)… And I know how crazy it sounds when you’re out of work but try volunteering for a cause, Make-A-Wish® AmericaBig Brothers Big Sisters of America, etc. It may open doors, it will certainly open eyes – PERSPECTIVE IS EVERYTHING!

Much of below may not be as relevant for more senior level folks but I did this for a close family friend who was just laid off after 30 years. Apparently, it’s been making its way around so if it can help anyone, I’m happy. Reach out to me directly if I can be of any help (greg@gcann.com).

My “Top 5” Tips:

1. Update Your Resume – You want something “ATS Friendly” (Applicant Tracking Systems), which means it will get through all those filtering tools like Taleo, ADP, etc.

2. Update your LinkedIn Profile – Reference mine – it’s pretty well optimized.

3. Setup Alerts – Indeed.comZipRecruiter, and LinkedIn (I also recommend upgrading to LinkedIn Premium so you can reach out to people/recruiters directly and “they say” it offers more visibility).

4. Connect with Contacts – Let them know you are on the market. DON’T BE SHY! Given how large the applicant pool is today, odds are, your next role will come through a friend in some way. Have lunch/coffee/drinks with people that are well connected in the space you are interested in. Join online professional groups (engage, post comments, etc.) and attend networking events. Also, try joining some activities, yoga, dance, cooking, acting, try Toastmasters, and/or join a gym (getting fit will also be a big help).

5. Do Some Work:

  • Research Companies – I always suggest those earlier in their careers to identify the companies they are interested or agencies that do the work for them (that’s a good way to get exposure or find a way in). Tips for identifying: look at the communications/messages the company puts out, e.g., press releases, content, ads, etc. Really research the culture. Look at the companies/brands they associate themselves with and who they are compared to. Look into the leaders (from top to middle mgmt.) I’ll go as far as to hang out at the nearby bars to observe/meet some of the team.
  • Write Articles – About your experiences and/or best practices in your space (short is fine, 3-5 paragraphs). Don’t worry about not having many people comment/like your articles. That’s not as important as you’d think. It’s important that you are getting visibility by showing up in contacts feeds – keeping you top of mind. Pro Tip: Having articles will also be very helpful to reference in introduction emails and/or interview follow-ups.
  • Pitch Something – This is a bit riskier and laborious investment but can pay off big and seems to be more and more expected with the growing saturation of candidates. It doesn’t have to be exactly right – conceptual is fine – the hiring exec understands you are on the outside looking in (it can even have segments referencing something you did somewhere else) but if you can offer a good logical/creative idea that presents your approach, that can really set you apart.

And lastly, the provocative topic: “Recruiters”. You’ll hear different things from different people – and like every other profession, there is a heavy proportion of mediocre to great (but I have met a few that were amazing). My experience has been that recruiters are focused on filling positions they have been retained for vs. playing the role of “agents” for job seekers. To be clear, I’m not suggesting you shouldn’t reach out to recruiters, you never know, there might just have a role that you are perfect for on their board. At the least, you want to be on their radar. I’m just suggesting that you shouldn’t expect them to stay closely connected like your real estate agent might 😉

Oh, and don’t do this!