If someone started looking for a job today, there is no way of knowing how long it will take. You have to make looking for a job a job itself. It needs to be a 24-hours-a-day, seven-day-a-week, 365-days-a-year job. I’ve known people who have taken one year and nine months to find temporary work. There are still jobs in healthcare, education and some in IT, but finding a job in this economy and in these fields may take some reeducation. You can’t just get a teaching job if you don’t have a degree. It takes a while to reinvent yourself. There’s always the opportunity of working in the temporary arena. People should be calling temporary employment firms to find light industrial jobs, or jobs that will make a minimum wage or maybe a little more. For example, if you’ve been an accountant your whole life, there are opportunities out there, and you might be able to find some temporary jobs. Develop a system of looking for a job. Check out this list from CBS 2 Chicago. This way, you focus on the process without having to worry about the results. Keep track of the calls you make and the interviews you get. That way you can follow up on the interviews. Sell yourself very well in an interview. What is it that you can offer that others can’t? You have to be able to sell yourself. Keep selling until you get a job offer. You’d better have good features, advantages and benefits in your presentation on yourself. You need stories that show you’re successful. It’s a numbers game if you’re in sales: What are you numbers? What are your results? Most people get in cycles with going on a couple of interviews and then they stop. You can’t stop. Until you have an offer, you have absolutely nothing. People don’t realize that there’s no such thing as a hidden job market. You may not know about it, but it’s not hidden. Finding a job is all about catching a potential employer at the right time when they need to hire someone with your skill set.
FIRST LESSON: Looking Online Is Not the Answer
The number of people who find jobs online is between 2 percent and 5 percent at most. We don’t even know if those facts are accurate because no one can define what finding a job online means. It’s very hard to define the term, but the odds are stacked against you. Sixty-nine percent of people only do two things when they go to look for a job: People either call their friends or look on the Internet. People have to call every person they know, every contact they have. People have to make a passionate approach. Call friends, neighbors, relatives, previous employers, former colleagues, frat brothers, sorority sisters, friends of friends, or whomever. People assume if they call their church or their friends to ask for help, it’s begging, and it’s beneath them. It’s a matter of picking up the phone and really putting in a lot of effort in talking to anybody who will listen. People confuse activity with productivity. They update their résumé and keep hitting the send button.
SECOND LESSON: Sending Out Your Résumé
It’s not about just sending out your résumé. It’s about talking to people who need to hire. Sending your résumé is a waste of time without picking up the phone and calling people. The average résumé is read in 10 seconds. You need to hit the reader in the mouth. Your résumé needs to show: This is where I worked, how long I worked there, and this is what I produced. Performance needs to be on your résumé.
THIRD LESSON: Making Calls
After you send your résumé, you need to pick up the phone, and call and introduce yourself to a supervisor. If you apply to State Farm Insurance, you call every office in your area. You call the owner, franchise manager, etc. Ninety-eight percent of companies in the U.S. have fewer than 100 people working for them. Calling one of those managers is not that hard to do.
FOURTH LESSON: Interview Mistakes
Most people go into an interview thinking, what can you do for me? If you give them good enough reasons why they ought to hire you, then you won’t have to worry about whether or not you want to work there. People think interviewing is a two-way street. It’s one way until you get to the altar. Once they decide they want to hire you, then you can ask what they can do for you. After you have a job offer, then you can start qualifying what you want from them. Your job is to get an offer. You can decide if you want the job or not afterward.
FIRTH LESSON: Attitude Toward Finding a Job
Winners do what they have to do and figure out how to make ends meet. You pick up the phone, and you go to work. Sitting there, thinking that you don’t want to do that job or “I’m too good to do that job” isn’t going to help. Next to dealing with the death of a spouse, child or parent, the fourth most emotional thing we do is look for a job. People need to deal with the emotions. Recognize that you are emotionally strained and drained. You need to get over it because the sooner you do, the faster you’ll be able to look for a job. The longer you put it off, the harder it will be. It’s a process. If you focus on the process, you don’t need to focus on the results. The process is: Have a résumé that sells you, pick up the phone and call an employer with “pain” (someone that needs to hire somebody), create a need for yourself. You need to make a boat load of those calls. Make a quick, to-the-point presentation of yourself.
CITY OF CHICAGO RESOURCES: This division within the Department of Human Resources employs Human Resource experts with years of public and private sector experience, many of whom are certified by the Society of Human Resource Managers (SHRM). These individuals work as Managers, Recruiters, Analysts and Testing Administrators. This division governs the City’s hiring and promotion processes, and maintains and updates job classifications and compensation programs.
SPECIFIC STEPS TO TAKE
1. Tap your Chicago area social network. Everybody knows somebody. Within your existing network there are probably three jobs that would be appropriate for you, but the people who could help open doors to those jobs just haven’t thought of you. Make a list of everyone you know. Set a goal to touch base with three people you have not talked to for a year or more. Meet one of them for coffee or lunch. Identify the 25 most influential people in your network and brainstorm ways to strengthen your relationships with each.
2. Connect with alumni. We generally like people who have something in common withus; who share the same values or hobbies; or have gone to the same school. Call the alumni in your region, go to meetings and grow your network. Adding three new alumni per week (through alumni directories or LinkedIn) is a solid approach–even better if these are in your industry.
3. Attend Chicago events. These include ones hosted by charities and professional organizations. Talk to at least one person at every meeting who you haven’t met yet. If you can get the list of attendees beforehand, identify at least one person who you would like to meet and make arrangements to connect there in person. Without imposing, look for an excuse to follow up—by meeting again, or getting a referral to someone else. (See also, “How To Work A Room Like You Own The Place.”)
4. Use LinkedIn to maximum effect. LinkedIn is a powerful tool to easily connect with the right people. Search your target market based on your industry, qualifications, university and interests, and connect with the people who interest you. For example, if you work in the insurance sector, you could aim to connect with all potential bosses and human resource departments in this industry and in your market. You can even set goals for yourself, such as, “Connect to all general managers and human resource managers in the insurance industry in my city by the end of April.” (See also, “What To Say On LinkedIn When You’ve Been Laid Off.”)
5. Check Chicago area job boards. Many companies and recruiters use them to find the right candidate. Define the top job boards for your skill set and put your resume there. Choose a catchy, succinct headline that encourages the reader to open the attachment. Many show when your resume was last updated. To avoid getting shifted deeper into the pile of applicants, update it weekly.
6. Contact Chicago area headhunters. Senior-level professionals are recruited almost exclusively though recommendation or by headhunters. We know about jobs that will never be advertised and we have experience finding openings. If you work with a headhunter, choose carefully. Identify several (but no more than five) whom you trust and be prepared to follow-up. (See “How To Use A Headhunter.”)