As noted in my previous posting, I thought it might be useful to touch base with some of my clients who have landed new jobs in recent months and ask them to share any thoughts, tips, or words of encouragement for those of you out there who are still in the hunt. Here is a collection of the submissions I’ve received thus far:
“The so-called ‘hidden job market’ is alive and well, particularly in this recession. There are opportunities that are filled from outside a company and will never make it to an internet ad posting. Consider the odds of having an inside connection and advocate for your candidacy in a company versus the hundreds of applications an on-line posting will receive. Ensure that you are reaching out to all in your network who you think can help you in a hiring capacity.”
“I think the best advice is to be flexible about what you want to do, and to look at your skills from all different angles. It’s best not to limit yourself to what you’ve already done, because you might be able to fit into something brand new that draws on your old skills, but moves you into a new field. It may not be what you once did, but you may realize once you get into it; that you like it even better (or at least almost as much) as what you did before.”
“My words of wisdom are to repeat those that you and many more folks that came before me said: be clear on what you want (I was afraid for a long time to commit because I thought it would narrow my options…and it made them more clear) and network through friends and acquaintances. My time off work was also an excellent time to refresh some skills and learn new things (spent 1 morning a week at Barnes and Noble reading PSJB, WSJ, etc. as well as reading one new business related book a week and got two certifications—the PMP and SPHR) and I highly recommend this as a strategy to meet new people (classes and association meetings) and keep your energy and motivation up in the search process. I’m now also on the board of the Lake Washington Human Resource Association and recent conversations with folks in that arena suggest that being willing to do contract work in this environment is a good way to get you in the door, at a minimum, and to make some money while looking (many companies still have a lot of work to get done but don’t want the fixed costs of carrying full-time salaries).”
“It’s a marathon, not a sprint. So be sure to have emotionally supportive friends or family to help you endurance for the long distance run. Work to resolve any emotional scars from past employment. Also — although it’s nearly impossible to do, try not to take things in the search process personally. If something doesn’t work out often it’s for a good reason and sometimes you only find out later that you may have been spared a less than ideal situation. I found my job online and a networking connection helped get my resume to the top. But I did finally make some trade-offs in terms of title and scope of management to stay in Seattle. One of my best friends who was looking for two years found a perfect job in Seattle in her target industry against all odds. A long time acquaintance of hers had the opportunity against all market logic and her past search experience.
“Matt, I don’t think I can add much to your usual advice. Depending on your job position it takes time…for me it was about two years. Persistence, patience and some luck were involved. I found real value in networking and would say that was the most critical factor for success. I got a call about my current position from a former colleague. My new job would never have been posted on any job boards and if it went to a search firm I may not have known the recruiter hired by the company. Along with those thoughts, my only words of wisdom are to keep your attitude positive. As hard as that can be, it is so important for your own mental health and to be you sharp when an opportunity does arise. Other than that….listen to Matt’s advice. Best wishes to all!”
My sincere thanks to those of you out there who contributed the above snippets! It’s much appreciated and the fact that this information is coming from folks who have been through the job search process themselves, quite recently, adds a valuable dimension of credibility…