by Kim Monaghan
One of the greatest benefits the internet offers is the ability to find employment opportunities in the comfort of our home. It’s also one of the biggest downfalls. Although the computer is still a proven avenue for job leads, the odds of finding the perfect career via the Internet ranks low on the list of productive employment seeking methods. The hard truth is that finding a career, which builds on your interests and strengths, requires research, exposure and dialogue. Networking is the number one way of developing job leads and securing positions. In fact, traditional networking methods including word of mouth, capabilities demonstrations and cold-calling are still great strategies for finding the perfect career.
Word of Mouth
This covers a large expanse of avenues to employment. Certainly, social media sites, like Linkedin and Facebook expand your network exponentially, but the savvy seeker recognizes this is only the foundation for fruitful conversation. It’s rare for a job seeker to land the perfect career without ever having an in-person conversation. Networking is the key. In order to find the golden opportunities, the ones that don’t exist online or on paper, you need to get out there. I’m always fascinated to hear from professionals how they landed their perfect job. Sometimes, I’m amazed that these great opportunities exist; you know the ones that make you wonder where you were when this position opened up. All these happily engaged professionals have one thing in common. They were in the right place at the right time. Being present, involved and contributing is source for emerging word of mouth opportunities.
The second, and crucial, part of this valuable strategy comes with “the ask.” You must be willing to share with others your desire to transition to a new position. If you don’t ask, others won’t know you’re interested. Begin by inquiring about what individuals or organizations they know of that are currently seeking someone with your strengths. Then by all means follow through and follow up. Make this a win-win by demonstrating that you’re someone they can count on and will highly recommend thanks to your integrity and professionalism.
There’s been recent buzz about a job search strategy involving showing up at the work site and doing the job without even being offered the position. The idea is based on the concept that once the employer sees you in action, they’ll hire you on the spot! Although I applaud creative strategies, I’m not certain this is the best tactic. Still, the fundamental idea is sound. When people see what you’re capable of they are far more impressed than any claim made on your resume. So how do you begin to demonstrate your talent? Career experience tops the list. Peak performance and the “likeability” factor are strengths not found via the Internet. Volunteering, collaboration, sharing best practices through committee and project work should be your ongoing capabilities demonstration strategies.
This phrase typically conjures up the image of a salesperson knocking on doors and peddling their wares. Today’s cold calling methods are much less daunting and more collaborative. In essence, cold calling can mean a number of things and include various approaches. Phone calls and emails directly to professionals within the organization you’re targeting is certainly one method that generates interest. But the real results come from informational interviewing. Requesting the time to meet and learn from others is still the best way to develop on-going productive relationships, mentoring and sponsorship. Developing a network of people with a vested interest in seeing you succeed begins with calling on them regularly and giving back just as much as you gain. Yes, some interaction will take place via the Internet, but one-on-one is when the real learning takes place. Personalities, strengths and passion come to light in this process, that’s why meeting others face-to-face is such a valuable process. In summation, it’s time to cut the cord, get out from behind your computer and call on someone today!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Kim Monaghan is a coach, management consultant and proponent of “A Healthy Career” (www.aHealthyCareer.com). She is a professionally trained coach, certified resume writer, West Michigan Careers in Transitions Coach and a member of the Professional Coaching Association of Michigan and International Coaching Federation.