Don’t overlook the obvious. Reach out to people you know, including family and friends, as well as people you have worked with or helped in the past. This is your goodwill network, i.e. people who want to help you because they like, love, respect you. Your job is to make it easy for them to help you!
Let me illustrate with a real-life example. I recently worked with a young woman who moved from Vancouver to Toronto in August this year. She had a specific job target to work as an Underwriting Assistant in commercial insurance.
She started applying to postings online in September but got no callbacks. She was convinced that employers would not hire her until she had completed a CIP credential (she was 1/3 of the way through). I assured her this was not a major obstacle to her job search.
Instead, I explained to her how employers get hundreds and often thousands of resumes in this kind of stagnant economy and look at only a few, maybe the first 25-50. In this kind of economy, employers can afford to be choosy and they will not hire until they feel ‘safe’ with a candidate. It is so important to understand why this is the case and how to overcome it.
Her previous job had been with a B.C. regulatory agency but she did have 1.5 yrs experience with an insurance company prior to that. I suggested a more effective job search would be to contact her previous employer and other insurance industry contacts in Vancouver and ask them if they knew anyone in Toronto that she could talk to.
I revised her resume to highlight the knowledge, skills and experience she offered as an underwriting assistant, specifically how she could help underwriters do their jobs better, get more clients, serve them better, and make more money.
She started by contacting family members that worked as insurance brokers, which led to several referrals and 2 interviews but no job offers. I suggested that she follow up with people that she’d contacted the first time around but who did not respond, to remind them what she was looking for. It’s sometimes difficult, I said, to understand that your job search is your top priority but other people are busy with their own priorities. Reminding them of your request is not bothering them, it’s simply making it easier for them to help you.
By doing exactly this, she learned from her previous supervisor at an insurance company that they were opening a small office in Toronto. He immediately forwarded her new resume to the head of that office. She was invited to an interview. I prepped her, a week later she got a job offer, and she started her new job the following week!
In summary, make a list of everyone you know and tell them your job target, i.e. a specific role with a specific org or kind of org, then ask them, “Do you know anyone I can talk to?” Make it easy for them to help you. By giving them this targeted niche, all they have to do is go through the Rolodex in their head and pull out names. Then follow up!
If you need help following up in an efficient and effective manner, then call me 1-800-798-2696 or email firstname.lastname@example.org