By Liz Ryan
I am getting nowhere in my job search. I’ve been responding to job ads and so far I haven’t had one nibble.
I think it might be because my background doesn’t fall into any neat bucket. I’ve been a receptionist, a bookkeeper and the manager of an HOA so I know office work inside and out, but I don’t look “perfectly qualified” on paper for almost any job I’ve applied for.
What can I do? I’m wasting my time so far and I need a job!
Responding to published job ads is not the only way to get a new job. It’s not even the best way. There’s a reason online job application portals are called Black Holes, because resumes die by the thousands in those portals every day.
Here are ten ways to get hired that don’t require you to fill out online job applications (or any other kind of job application) and don’t require you to read, much less respond to, published job ads:
2. Your network
4. Attract recruiters’ attention
5. Raise your profile
6.Your current job
7. Alumni connection
8.The direct approach
9. Temping and Temp-to-perm
10.Grow your mojo fuel tank
The key to a successful job search today is targeting. You cannot get the job you deserve by tossing applications into online Black Holes and hoping for the best. Filling out online job application is the most passive, powerless job search approach — and that’s why it is so frustrating and yields the worst results.
Your first step is to decide what you want to do next and then to brand yourself for those positions. Your branding has to ring out strongly through your resume and your LinkedIn profile. When it’s obvious that you are perfectly qualified for a certain set of jobs you’ve decided to pursue, everything about your job search will get easier.
Then you can create a Target Employer list and start researching individual firms. You can identify your hiring manager — that is, the department manager who will be your next boss if you end up working in the firm — and start learning about the organization, its plans, its challenges and its strategy. All of that learning will be incredibly useful — and empowering — in your 2018 job search!
With your Target Employer list, your amped-up personal branding and your new knowledge about the set of firms you’re targeting, you can stop completing online job applications and hoping for the best.
You can begin networking with people you already know and new people you will meet at industry events, through your current friends and contacts, and through your own outreach on LinkedIn.
You will let these new and old contacts know what you want (and intend) to do specifically in your next job — the opposite message from a sad-sack job seeker who can only tell people “I just need a job!” You will, of course, be just as helpful to everyone you meet as you can be — whether they are able to help you advance your own job search or not.
With your Target Employer List as a guide, you can tell people you meet “I’m looking to get into one of these fifteen companies — would you be comfortable introducing me to one of your friends in one of these firms?” That’s a much more powerful and specific request than “Know anybody who might be hiring?”
You may not have read your Target Employers’ job ads. That’s okay! Every hiring manager has pain. You need to start conversations with hiring managers much more than you need to lob another dozen applications into the void.
Now, go to Vistaprintonline or walk into any office supply store and get your own business cards. In 2018, you will rebrand yourself as a consultant —because you are a consultant! You have already solved countless business problems for your past employers (and that’s not counting the gazillions of personal problems you’ve helped your friends and family members resolve).
You need to brand yourself as a consultant, because it’s much easier to start conversations with hiring managers about short-term consulting projects than it is to get them to talk to you as a lowly job-seeker.
Think about the types of Business Pain you solve in your work. Branding yourself as a consultant — whether you take on any consulting projects in 2018 or not — forces you to think about the pain you relieve in your work, and who experiences that type of pain — and what the pain costs them while they’re experiencing it!
Now you have to get recruiters to contact you so that you won’t have to do all of the work in your job search by yourself. Your LinkedIn profile needs to come up a big step. Get a new head shot for your profile, and work on the headline just under your name.
If your current LinkedIn headline is “Capable Office Pro looking for new assignment” then your branding has no juice. It says almost nothing about your power or your intention. You sound like any random office manager, not a specific person with a specific approach and point of view.
Let’s say you decided to zero in on Office Manager jobs. In that case your headline might say “Office Manager/Business Air-Traffic Controller Seeking Busy Office To Organize” or “Office Manager with HR Focus ISO Overstressed CEO to Keep Sane.” Your personality is a big part of your brand!
Make it easy for headhunters to see that you’re perfectly qualified for the jobs you want. Add plenty of success stories to your LinkedIn profile so that recruiters know they won’t be wasting their time getting on the phone with you.
Even though third-party recruiters and internal company recruiters may become instrumental in your job search, you won’t sit around waiting for them to contact you. You’ll raise your own visibility so that as many people as possible know how smart and capable you are.
You’ll do that by blogging on LinkedIn, attending local events and even speaking in public. It feels scary to speak on a panel the first two or three times you do it, but after that it gets much easier. The more people who see you out and about the easier your job search will become. An empowered job search is an active job search.
Get out of your house. You will never get the job you deserve by filling out application forms — but you’ll get it by interacting with new and old friends at every opportunity!
Don’t forget to give everyone you meet one of your consulting business cards!
If you are working right now, your current job can also be an incredible platform for your job search. If your job involves interaction with clients, vendors or other partners, your next step is to tell the folks you trust the most that you are ready for a change.
Too many job-seekers are afraid to tell their own vendors and customers “Don’t say anything to my co-workers about it, but confidentially, I’m looking.” It’s too bad these folks are so fearful, because your current job can be a fantastic portal to your next job — but only when you face your fear and confide in people!
Business is all about people, and it always has been. People love to help their business friends by making introductions for them. Don’t forget that when you are smart and credible — and I know that you are — it not only helps you when your business contacts make introductions for you, but it helps them as well!
Get in touch with your alma mater’s alumni association — an instant professional network that you earned entrance to when you got your degree. Volunteer for the alumni association. That’s empowering in its own right!
Once you’re ready, start reaching out to hiring managers in your Target Employer firms directly — here’s how.
Don’t overlook temp, contract and temp-to-perm assignments, especially if you’re not working right now. Sign up with the best agencies in town (ask your friends to recommend them or check out their Yelp reviews) and start working short-term assignments to make some money, build your confidence and make new contacts.
Finally, take care of yourself. It is easy to overlook the importance of physical and emotional health on your job search, your career and your life in general. It is very hard to step into your power when you feel discouraged and depleted, but as your mojo fuel tank gets refilled it gets easier and easier to see — and feel — your own power.
Taking care of yourself means getting out of your head and away from your computer every day. Take a walk. Get outside. Dance to the radio or YouTube, or take a yoga break. Play with your dog, cat, guinea pig or hedgehog. Cook homemade soup or something else that will make you feel strong and whole.
Remember that you are powerful whether you are working or not — but you have to feel your power before anyone else will see it!
Read the full article here.
This content was originally published by Forbes Magazine. Original publishers retain all rights. It appears here for a limited time before automated archiving. By Forbes Magazine