Tell me if you’ve experienced this one: You send your resume to an online job posting. You wait for weeks or months, but you never hear back—not even a rejection.
Unfortunately, job boards are one of the least effective means of finding jobs. It’s a reactive strategy—meaning you apply, and then you wait around to see if they accept you.
Don’t get me wrong—applying to posted jobs is still a valuable thing to do. But you really only want it to be about 20% of your job search strategy. So where does the other 80% go?
Easy. It goes into leading a proactive job search. Not sure what I mean? Then here are some steps to help you get proactive.
Set up your LinkedIn profile.
According to AdWeek, a whopping 87% of recruiters are using LinkedIn to find candidates. If you haven’t updated your profile, you might be missing out on lots of job opportunities.
Make sure to fill in your work history, complete with action verbs and demonstrated successes. You’ll also want to be mindful of keywords—recruiters usually search for candidates. For example, if you’re a certified medical biller and coder, you’d want to use the phrase “Certified Professional Coder” in your profile.
You’ll also want to request recommendations from old employers and grow your connections. The more complete your profile, the more likely it is that recruiters will be able to find you. And be sure you’re not making these LinkedIn mistakes while you’re at it.
Sign up for LinkedIn Premium: Job Seeker.
When you’re looking for a job, you probably want to save money. But if you spend the $30 a month for LinkedIn Premium, you’ll be able to contact recruiters and hiring managers on LinkedIn. You can do this even if you’re not connected with them (LinkedIn usually limits your messages to just your connections). It’s called InMail, and it’s a great way to break the ice and start a conversation.
You’ll also be able to see who viewed your profile, and see job insights from postings you’re interested in. It’s a good way to start building your network.
Research the companies you want to work for.
Instead of applying to a bunch of jobs that aren’t a good fit, try narrowing your focus. Find a few companies that you’re interested in and research them. Figure out their hiring practices and job openings.
The important part is to narrow your focus, so that you can put a lot of effort into a few companies, rather than a little effort into a lot of companies. That way, you'll be filled with the knowledge you need to lead a targeted and proactive job search at those specific workpalces.
Find connections inside your goal companies.
Now that you have the information in Step 3 and the Premium account in Step 2, you’re ready make connections at your dream companies.
You can do this in two ways:
- Network with people who work at the target company who are doing what you want to do
- Communicate directly with hiring managers and in-house recruiters
And, if you’re really ambitious, you’ll do both. In the first option, you can hopefully create a champion inside of the company. In the second, you soften the application process and put a face and personality to your resume. Both are good strategies to a proactive job search.
So those are four tips to help you get proactive! What did you do to land your job? What proactive steps did you take?