Conducting a Job Search – Social and Project Strategies

This post is part of the series of posts I am doing on ‘Job Search – Strategies that work better‘. In my last post, I talked about 5 phases of job search and how competitive strategies can be applied to each of these phases. Briefly, the phases are: Conception, Organization, Application, Selection and Transition.

In this post, I will talk about how other strategies can be applied. As one of the commenters on my previous post mentioned, there is no silver bullet and the best strategy is to mix-and-match strategies that work for you. I will specifically focus on social strategies and project management strategies that can be applied to a job search. These can be used separately or together with the competitive strategies, depending on your needs.

Social strategies model job search as a match-making where the goal is to have a best fit between job hunter and recruiter based on information gathering and sharing. Social and networking sites like LinkedIn and Facebook are great places to hunt information as well as people (since all information is not captured on internet).

Project management strategies model job search as a project with clear goals, milestones, resources, and timelines that need to be tracked well. Information and Risk management are important aspects here, and strategies focus on how to do it better.

Here are some of the strategic principles that are applicable to most of the phases of job search:

  1. Information Presentation: Information presentation refers to various ways information about you can/should be presented to those who need to see it to extend you job offers. Networking sites offer numerous ways to present information about yourself directly, other internet resources help the presentation indirectly (your web sites, your blog, your presentations on slideshare, your comments on others pages, etc.). Quality and quantity of this information presentation has great influence on your job prospects. Sometimes, this is not in your hands (people commenting negative on your blog or facebook page, someone disparaging you on a blog, etc.), hence it is important to keep a close eye on this. Information is presented even during conversations, body language and tone convey a lot about you.
  2. Information Collection: Information presentation by others (your recruiter, potential hiring manager and company, industry, etc.) becomes your source of information. Learning to use market intelligence and other techniques to gather these information is very valuable. This also includes finding about people who have vital information. For example, some of the best jobs are never advertised; so knowing people who know about these jobs is key to getting in the race. Information is collected all the time – lots of information can be collected when reading body language or tones of the interviewers for example.
  3. Return on Investment (ROI): Job search, like any other activity, requires time, effort and (sometimes) money. A 1 hour spent in talking to a useless recruiter is worth much more when you could apply that 1 hour to update your online profile on linkedin or gather recommendations from your prior manager. Managing this time and effort investment, and avoiding allocating them to the most fruitful activity yields best results. A focus on is very critical in order to conduct a fruitful job search. Various project management techniques can be used to manage the resources you apply to the job search and keep an eye on ROI.

Here are a few examples and suggestions on how these strategies can be applied to various phases of job search:

Phase Information Presentation Information Collection Return on Investment
Conception
  • Create online presence that is fresh and positive
   
Organization
  • Create presentations and other resources to show your competence
  • Update your online presence to align with your desired job profile
  • Finding people who know about best jobs and applying there
  • Getting right people to recommend you to the best jobs
  • Track time spent and invest in the most valuable areas (resume helps most, linked in profile next, new updates don’t count that much, consistent updates in the past count more, etc.)
Application
  • Prepare for interviews by weaving in your online presence and other sources of information about you
  • Control your body language and tone appropriately
  • Identify likes/dislikes and focus area of your interviewers before the interview.
  • Adapt your style to the interviewers, and read their body language and tone.
  • Choose to appear for interviews or recruitment/informational talks carefully, many could be waste of your time.
  • Learn from an interview and be more efficient next time.
Selection  
  • Ask questions during interviews that help in selecting jobs (ask open-ended questions, questions around soft skills and culture of team, etc.)
  • Connect with ex-employees and current employees of the company on networking site and try to know more about company. Do the same for the hiring manager to know more about his/her style.
  • Consider the fact that you will have to work at least 2-3 years in the new company, and understand the cost to your career if you chose a wrong company.
Transition
  • Make sure your strengths, skills, and interests are known to people around you, without being labeled narcissist!
  • Present yourself with positive attitude and eager to learn, willing to take challenges, etc.
  • Learn about your peers, your manager, and senior leadership through decisions being made, and the way meetings are run.
  • Talk to people and learn more about organization
  • Make sure your investment in making your presence felt is not more than the returns you are making (or are going to make) – focus on learning.

 

In the last post of the series, I will talk about Selection and Transition Phase of the job search in some more detail, since they are not considered to be part of job search, but are critical in making sure you don’t have to do a job search every year!

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