Dig Deeper to Uncover The Greatest Job Leads

It’s said that if you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting the same results. This is too true for job hunters. How many times have you applied for a job through a career site and didn’t get it? Now ask yourself, “How many others applied for that same position?” It isn’t a small number.

Should this keep you from applying to jobs online? No, since job boards are a necessary part of the process. But if you only seek jobs that meet your exact qualifications, you’re making a mistake. I’m not suggesting that you take a “shotgun” approach and apply for as many jobs as possible, hoping by some miraculous twist of fate you catch a recruiter’s eye. But then again. . .

Imagine for a minute that a horrific fire has started in a nearby development during rush hour and just after you’ve left your office. Your immediate focus is likely the bright blaze of the fire. You’re also likely concerned for the people in the subdivision. But what else do you see and hear? Perhaps the smoke and the sirens of the fire engines. Perhaps a helicopter overhead filming the event for TV viewers or a reporter giving an on-camera report about the fire. And down the road, people who don’t know traffic has stopped because of the fire may be honking their horns and cursing the 5 p.m. commute. Everything is happening because of a fire.

So what does this have to do with getting a job? Everything. Let’s say that you’re seeking a position as a network engineer. You’re likely looking in newspapers and on Web sites for network-engineering jobs, which is a good start but not the finish. Consider the events and surroundings concerning this job. In order to network computers, a group of unconnected computers must be sitting somewhere. This means a salesperson had to sell these computers to someone. Ask yourself who sells this type of computer in your area. Most likely you know a few of the leading computer makers or resellers. If you call one of these companies and ask to speak to the person handling sales in your area, you might be able to persuade him or her to tell you the names of some good customers. Chances are one or two of them could use a network engineer to hook up the new computers they just bought.

Now dig deeper. New computers being connected suggest the need for new office space. Think about where you might go to buy or rent new office space, then call the leasing office of the likely business complexes and ask who handles leasing. This person might give you the names of companies thinking about leasing space. You also could review the real-estate announcements in your local business journal to learn who recently bought or leased space. Those are companies you may want to contact.

The trick is to look not just for the fire (a network engineering job), but also for the smoke (people operating on the periphery of this job). Even in the aftermath of the fire, you can find possibilities. Water and smoke damage, medical and insurance issues and rebuilding all must be handled. In other words, when someone is hired, an opening will exist at the company the person left.

When Company X signs up a chief information officer from Company Z, I’d call Company Z, because it now needs a replacement. This is an especially good tactic for executives, because many senior managers take their former direct reports with them to their new jobs. But this situation isn’t only true for executives. Technical and marketing professionals also should pursue jobs following leadership changes since new leadership means new processes, which may require fresh thinking.

Suppose you can’t spot situations or people who can connect you to the job you want. In this case, look for companies hiring recruiters, staffing consultants or Internet researchers (sometimes called “online sourcers”). Companies hire these types of professionals when they’re about to load up on new employees. You’ll know what type of employees will be hired by whether the company is hiring technical, sales, executive or other types of recruiters.

If you’re feeling frustrated in your job search, look beyond finding jobs that fit you to the people who are connected to what you do. If you can’t connect with them, then, as the old saying goes, connect with the person next to them and so on and so on.



By Jim Stroud

Business, HR