One of the first things executive recruiters do when we kick off a new search assignment is to develop a Search Strategy. Once we complete the Recruitment Profile (a.k.a. Job Description) and identify target companies, we conduct a thorough study to identify those individuals within a target company who should be approached for the position. Our networking takes advantage of relationships we have built with people who are willing to help us understand industry sector dynamics and further identify companies while providing direct recommendations of candidates with strong records of performance.
Developing Your Job Search Strategy
This same concept of a Search Strategy can be utilized on the candidate side, too. An effective search strategy can help any active or passive candidate more deliberately and efficiently think about the industries, position, and even specific companies that may be able to best utilize their talent and experience. In addition to the requisite to-do list that most any candidate follows when beginning a job search, I often recommend the following:
- Take Advantage of Your Personal Network (which is bigger than you think).
Develop a list of twenty-five to fifty names (may be more or less) of people you know. This can include former colleagues at a company, suppliers, customers, and just plain friends and family. While I would not include any strangers, this list does not need to be limited to just your “A” relationships, those you are frequently in touch with. We have all let relationships lapse, but there is never a bad time to try to revive an old relationship.
- Develop a List of Target Companies
It makes no difference if you know someone at the company or not. This is a list of companies you feel you may want to work for. Divide the list into three baskets: the first for companies in which you know someone well; the next in which you may not know someone well but you at least have a name; and the last basket in which there are no relationships. Then, begin your networking and approaches just as you would with your personal network.
This works. I hear success story after success story. While the current market is improving, it is till choppy. Years ago, you could sit back and wait for the opportunities to come to you. In this market, however, while some opportunities may still find you, increasingly, you will need to go to the opportunity versus waiting for it to come to you.