Blog Archives

Job hunting strategy and 16 tips

If you are looking for a job, this post will explain the single most important thing you need to know about your job-seeking strategy. It also delivers 16 tips to get you on your way to employment…

 

First of all, a few assumptions

  • Assumption number 1: There are enough jobs for everyone
  • Assumption number 2: Most available jobs are not advertised
  • Assumption number 3: Most job seekers only reply to advertised jobs, in the normal way

 

 

Let’s use the following example to see what this means for you. I have applied the Pareto Principle and am convinced that even if the numbers are not exact, the point is true:

  • If there are 100 available jobs and 100 job seekers, there is enough work for everyone.
  • Of those 100 available jobs, up to 80 of them may not be advertised at all. And certainly not everywhere.
  • Of the 100 job seekers, 80 of them will only be looking in the usual channels for advertised jobs and will respond in the usual way by sending a CV and motivation letter and then waiting.
  • The other 20 job seekers will expand their searching horizons and use different methods to make their applications.
  • This means that 80 people are looking at 20 jobs (with a 1 in 4 chance of success) while the other 20 people can choose between 4 available jobs.

 

So: You need to be in the 20 group!

And you need to apply these 16 tips to look for a job:

  • Recognise that everyone you know is a potential lead. And considering “The Obama Effect”, the potential leads are far more numerous.
  • Email all your friends and family to tell them what kind of work you are looking for and ask them to send you any leads.
  • Think about your added-value and created a polished tweetable message about yourself.
  • Ensure any presence on social networks or the www reinforces your personal brand.
  • If possible, announce your intentions via social media platforms and request input and feedback from peers. Update your LinkedIn profile and get some relevant recommendations.
  • Research people with similar jobs in their targeted company and talk to them to get contact details, job leads and other relevant information.
  • If you see any news about your targeted company winning new contracts or creating a new product, service or office strike while the iron is hot.
  • Go to conferences in your field of interest and talk to people.
  • Email the person you actually want to work with. Tell them you want support and ask for a phone conversation. If you don’t get a reply, try cold-calling them anyway.
  • Adapt each CV and its content to the company you want to work with.
  • Be FAB and answer the 3 most important questions.
  • Use creative techniques to make sure your CV stands out.
  • If you make a formal application, make sure it gets in the hands of the right people, bypassing reception and generalist recruiters at all costs.
  • Follow up on your applications quickly.
  • Spy on your prospective company building at arrival and leaving times to see how people are dressed. Now you know how to dress for the interview.
  • Practice interview skills with a friend or coach.

 

To conclude, it is only fair to note whilst assumptions 2 and 3 are based on my experience with job seekers and recruiting companies, the first assumption could just be a wildly optimistic statement. All the more reason to apply the strategies noted above…

 

Good luck!

 

Follow me on Twitter

Leave a comment

Share with a job-seeker!

 

 

4 quick sure ways to screw up strategic thinking + action

If you want more ideas on creating strategic action, read my other blog post.

This is about how to get it wrong!

4 simple ideas to keep in mind….

 
Not taking time to think things through

When I ask people how I should best get ready for an IronMan, they always reply “Train”. But in my working schedule, I don’t have time and if I DID train, it would surely lead to divorce and that would make every even harder (for the IronMan) …as well as decidely less nice.

I know training is not the answer here because I’ve done my SWOT and I have been thinking about my position. I am tackling first-things-first (liberating time by improving business …. THEN training)

 

Stubbornly sticking to the plan or just never reassessing your position

Strategic thinking is not something that happens once a year. By definition, it is about linking your current position to a mission. Since your current position is ever-changing, this means that strategic thinking and action must be a dynamic process, rather than just setting a bunch of rules to apply in any situation in the coming 1,2,3 years.

 

Not thinking things through before acting

I see a lot of great promises made in training rooms by people about how they are going to tackle leadership and teamwork situations. On paper it looks really good.

Then I give them a task to work on. As soon as I do, everyone forgets what they said about “taking the time to assess position” and “assigning roles based on competences” and “creatively looking for new resources”. They just start doing stuff. One of the biggest tips for strategic action I can think of simply to SLOW DOWN.
Not seeing and seizing opportunities when they are there

One of the by-products of not slowing down is that you don’t tend to see things for what they are. The more quickly we treat our situation-assessment, the more likely we are to just filter all the new information through our existing ego-filters and come to the same conclusions as usual. To be really strategic, its important to look at things from different angles and be open-minded. In this way, we are likely to see a lot more opportunities.

 

 

Follow me on Twitter

Visit www.infinitelearning.be

Leave a comment

Creating Strategic Action in 4 Steps

This blog post has been written as support for homework for participants from my training on “Creating Influence”.

…but the exercise described below is an excellent approach to defining strategic action for any mission you may undertake.

 

First, let’s describe “strategic action”

How is strategic action different to normal action? It considers one’s current position in close relationship to the mission. In this way, strategic action is focussed on high level priority-driven steps that are more likely to get us to where we want to be.

Example: Suppose I want to complete an IronMan race. I might be inclined to imagine that swim-training is the best action to undertake. But if I first do a good strategic positioning exercise, I might realise that my priority is in fact to first develop my business offer in order to earn more more so that I can liberate more time for training. If I don’t do this, I will have to a) squeeze in training in an already busy schedule and b) end up paying divorce costs due to marital negligence 🙂

 

Ready to think strategic??

 

STEP 1: Start by defining your mission

There is no sense in doing a positioning exercise if you don’t know what you are trying to achieve.

Example: If I ask you if I am strong, depending on what objective you imagine me working on, you may come up with completely different answers…

When defining your mission, be sure to use quality goals. Read my other blog post on PERSONAL goal-setting for some starter ideas..

 

STEP 2: …then assess your current position

One of my favourite tools for doing this remains the SWOT analysis. A good SWOT will give you ideas on recurring themes for improvement. Note: I said a GOOD SWOT !

 

Another tool I really like regarding personal influence is the network influence-grid proposed by Jo Owen in his book “How to Influence“. He suggests that for all the people in your network, you need to assess them in terms of whether or not you have a good relationship with them and whether or not they have power (to help you in your mission). A network influence-grid therefore has 4 quadrants…

 

When the people you know are mapped out in their relevant quadrants, you will better focus on people who are realy useful (top-right) or think about how to better leverage the existing relationships you have to get what you need.

 

STEP 3: Now, look for priority areas for action

I find that if I have done a good job of assessing my strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, when I look at the results there are recurring and linking themes. These are the things to work on. Don’t worry about action yet, just look at which things seem to come back and back.

For example, in my last SWOT exercise I saw that:

  • My network was very complete
  • …but that I wasn’t using it well enough
  • I have great references for training work
  • …but never ask for referrals
  • There was an opportunity to better develop my own client base

An obvious priority strategic action: Leverage own network.

 

STEP 4: When your priorities are clear, plan baby steps

I am finally reading “Getting Things Done” by David Allen right now. One of my clients said it was a great book, but I thought: What else could there be to learn about priority management? In the first 10 pages I had my answer:

Turn unmanageable TO-DO lists into “next concrete action” (baby-steps) lists.

 

In the scope of our exercise, this means asking 2 questions for each of the priority strategic actions noted previously:

  • What would be an ACCEPTABLE outcome?
  • What is the NEXT CONCRETE ACTION you need to take?

 

If you’ve followed the 4 steps ahead, you should have some good ideas to get moving with.

 

Good luck!

Thanks for reading 🙂

Please leave a comment

…or follow me on Twitter

…or visit www.infinitelearning.be