Job seekers mentally carry one of 2 narratives.
The first narrative is that “isms” (e.g., racism, ageism, nepotism) stack the odds against them. Fueled by a sense of entitlement, this is the limiting belief narrative the “I’m a victim!” crowd carries. This narrative is easy to adopt. It absolves the job seeker from networking, being responsible for how they present themselves to employers and acquiring the necessary education and skills to be competitive in today’s job market.
The second narrative, which few job seekers embrace, is that you’re in complete control of your odds of finding a job that ticks off most of your “would like to have.” This narrative empowers job seekers.
Okay, “complete” may be an exaggeration. However, you have more control over your job search odds than you think you do.
Here are four ways you can stack the odds of landing your dream job with your employer of choice in your favour:
- Non-negotiable: Create and maintain a professional network.
My current job, and my previous three, presented themselves to me via my professional network. The most obvious way to stack the odds of finding a great job in your favour is to NETWORK!
A professional network will serve you well during your job searches (You’ll likely conduct several throughout your working life.) and your career. Those who network land the jobs you envy you’d have. Desirable jobs (aka. “plum jobs”) and C-suite executive and above positions are rarely advertised, thus the existence of the “hidden job market,” which I’m sure you’re aware of.
Don’t know how to network or where to start? I suggest you read the following two books:
- Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time, by Keith Ferrazzi
- Taking the work Out of Networking: An Introvert’s Guide to Making Connections That Count, by Karen Wickre
- Deal with the hiring manager.
Sitting at home applying online is fooling yourself, believing you’re “seriously job hunting.”
I equate applying online to playing the lottery; you’re hoping (fingers-crossed, praying) that a stranger will hire you. Why would you expect someone who doesn’t know you to hire you over those in their network, referrals or from within their company? Keep in mind, if the job opening is your dream job, then it’s also the dream job for at least 100 others as well, who are just as qualified as you. Therefore, as much as possible apply directly to the person who can say “yes” to hiring you.
Find out who the hiring manager is (I know this isn’t always possible, but often it is.) and apply directly to them. Not being part of the 100s, sometimes 1,000s, of applicants applying online for the one job opening increases your odds significantly.
Ideally, you’re able to leverage your professional network to be referred to the hiring manager. However, supposing a referral isn’t possible, then I suggest you apply online and send the hiring manager a brief email along the lines of:
I recently submitted my application for the role of [POSITION], which I’m very interested in, as well as joining [COMPANY]; therefore, I wanted to send you a copy of my resume. I would greatly appreciate the opportunity to discuss my [2-3 REQUIRED SKILLS LISTED IN THE JOB POST] skills related to the position.
I look forward to hearing from you.
- Look for your tribe.
The advice I give most often to job seekers: “Search for your tribe!” Seeking employers who’ll most likely accept you, where you’ll feel you belong, will significantly increase your odds. Think: “I’m not looking for a job; I’m looking for my tribe!”
Before approaching an employer, ask yourself, “Will I (holistically) be a fit?”
- Create a results-oriented résumé and LinkedIn profile.
In 2021 every employee needs to be an undeniable asset to their employer.
Your résumé and LinkedIn profile need to answer the question all hiring managers have: What value did this person bring to their employers? (READ: How did this person positively impact your employer’s bottom line?) Employers want to see a job seeker’s potential value and therefore gravitate to job seekers who clearly communicate how their results positively impacted their previous employers.
In Las Vegas, there’s one certainty: The house always comes out the winner in the end. That’s because all casino games are designed to provide the house with odds in their favour. Design your job search activities so the odds are in your favour.