DerrJones Recruiting Solutions

Job Search Advice from DerrJones

Our job search advice is grounded in years of recruiting experience. Understanding how to find a job is not necessarily intuitive. Finding a job takes time and effort. The old outplacement rule of thumb was to expect your job search to take 1 month for every $10,000 you make. While that's likely to be on the high side, this ratio is affected by a number of variables, including the current economic climate and the amount of effort you put into your search.

We are going to share our best job search advice in an easy to follow checklist. Keep in mind that it will take some work on your part to make your job search successful.

What we're not going to do here is launch into a discussion about resume development and interviewing. We have plenty of information on the DerrJones website about these topics (see How to Write a Resume and Job Interview Tips). Instead, this job search advice is going to focus on the most productive way to find a job - target your search and network your way in.

So, let's get started by taking a closer look at our job search advice.

Target Company Research

When I'm coaching candidates on how to find a job, I'm always amazed by the fact they have not taken the time to identify a target list of the companies they would like to work for. This means that their job search is totally random. Candidates are applying to opportunities with companies that they know little, if anything about.

A much better way to find a job is to map out a company strategy. Think about the following characteristics:

  • Industry segment - either in your direct industry or a compatible space
  • Geography - are you willing to relocate, or are you going to limit your search to local companies?
  • Size - in terms of revenue and employees
  • Public vs. Private
  • Financial results - pay attention to current results. Companies that are losing money might not be off your list, but you will want to think about an employment contract, negotiating a severance agreement up front, and perhaps a sign on bonus to come on board.
  • Corporate Culture - what is the company like to work for? What's their reputation in the market?

What resources can you use to compile a list like this when you're following our job search advice? Several ideas come to mind:

  • Hoovers - Hoovers provides access to a database of over 25 million corporations and organizations. Some of their content is free; some is paid. You can get a good head start on building your target list here.
  • ZoomInfo - contains profiles on more than 45 million people and 5 million companies.
  • Google Search - Google is a simple solution for generating a good list of company prospects. Type in "list of" along with the industry you're interested in and "companies" (e.g. list of pharmaceutical companies) and you'll get some great information.
  • Business Journal - most cities of any size have a Business Journal publication. Their annual Book of Lists provides a great snapshot of information on companies in that particular market, sliced and diced a number of different ways.
  • Your local library - probably the most under utilized resource in the age of technology! Your reference librarian can help you if you let him/her know what you're looking for. Some libraries will have a subscription to Hoovers; they will definitely have the Thomas Register (for manufacturing companies). Use your librarian!

Armed with a good list, you can now move on to Step 2 in our job search advice...

Company Websites

Check out the websites of the companies you've identified. Take a look at their Career sections to see what kinds of openings they currently have.

DO NOT apply to anything you see posted there!

Job Search Advice

This is not how to find a job! Resumes that are submitted through company websites are often not even looked at by a human being. Resumes often go directly into a company's Applicant Tracking System, and it's questionable whether they can ever be retrieved...OK, maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration, but there are better ways to find a job.

If you see something on a company website, you'll need to find out who the hiring manager is and communicate directly with that person.

How do you do this??? Here is some good job search advice:

  • The ad for the position likely referenced who the position reports to. This is the person you want to call. So, if the ad says "...reporting to the VP Sales North America..", this is the name you want.
  • Company website - usually lists top management
  • Linked In - if you are not on Linked In, you should be. Linked In is a great resource for finding people.
  • ZoomInfo - you can look up the company and find names of people who work there. Start networking!
  • Call and ask. But, don't ask the company receptionist - and don't get transferred to HR!

Once you have the right name, call and ask for that person directly. Make friends with the gate keeper. Call early/call late. Try calling into another department after hours and ask the person who answers to transfer you.

If you can figure out the email configuration for the company (ZoomInfo is good for this!), try sending an email with your resume.

Networking: The Best Advice on How to Find a Job!

If you're in a job search, you need to get comfortable with networking. This is the "hidden" job market people often refer to. It's figuring out who you know, who they know, and having conversations with everyone who's identified through this process.

You're not going to directly ask for a job. This is not how to find a job! You're going to try to set up informational interviews with influencers - people who can actually help you in your job search.

How to Find a Job

To start this process, make a list of everyone you know - people in your industry, your neighbors, your service providers (accountant, lawyer), people in your church, people whose kids go to school with your kids, etc.

This should be a very wide net. Once these people are identified, you need to reach out to them to let them know that you are looking for a new opportunity, and ask if you can spend a few minutes talking to them about your search. This is the best job search advice I can give you!

The vast majority of jobs are filled by networking referrals... not recruiters...not through job ads. Work your networking contacts and you'll be surprised. People genuinely want to help.

For more in depth information on networking, check out these important sections:

Resumes and Interviewing

Once you've successfully gotten the appointment with the hiring manager, you'll need to make sure that your resume is up to date and your interviewing skills are polished. You can find everything you need to know on these topics by exploring the links below:

Closing the Deal

You've followed our job search advice, and your interviews have gone well. You're on your way to getting a job offer. The company now wants references. Our References section will outline how to make a great impression on your prospective employer.

You'll also need to start thinking about what kind of financial package you're willing to accept. How do you know whether you're receiving a competitive offer? Our Salary Negotiation section will help you decide. There's more to evaluating a job offer than knowing what the base salary is. We'll make sure that you understand the components of your offer and give you some tools to make sure that you're analyzing the data correctly.

Final Steps

Often times, the final steps in your job search will be resigning from your current company and dealing with any counter offers that might come your way. Resignation can be tough - especially when your current company has treated you well. We provide some great tips on getting over these final hurdles. Read about this final job search advice here:

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