A recent job search success survey conducted by Notogroup was given to 75 professionals across all job disciplines. Approximately half of those surveyed were unemployed and the remaining half had successfully landed a new job in the past 24 months. 68% of survey participants were professionals at the senior to executive-level.*
As you might expect, a successful job search strategy is still grounded in networking and relationship building activities, but with today’s ever-changing technology job seekers need to stand out more than ever. Internet job boards and recruiter sites have taken the place of the traditional newspaper employment search and memberships with social networking sites have become almost a necessity. Not only are jobs scarce but the competition is stiff, and good old-fashioned person-to-person connections remain the most effective way to get noticed.
The 70% layoff rate amongst those unemployed clearly reflects the state of the current U.S. economy. Those who voluntarily left their positions listed poor management, deficient culture fit and lack of challenge as the basis for their resignation. Of those currently employed, two-thirds of employed professionals surveyed are currently searching for a better position. This data may be an indication of lower morale, decreasing engagement, or general burnout. In a recent article, Jessica Dickler from CNN Money concurred, “Many workers lucky enough to have survived the ax are still feeling unhappy and unmotivated at work…employees saddled with additional workloads for less pay are becoming increasingly dissatisfied with their current position – or just plain burnt out.”
With a 90% job search rate of those surveyed, creative job search strategies are more important than ever, yet only half of those surveyed have developed any sort of formal job search strategy. A majority of the respondents actively search networking sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. A small 7% actively maintain blogs that relate to their professional interests and activities, and 23% have paid subscriptions with career resource portals such as the Ladders. A third of the respondents have considered paying to have their résumé rewritten by a professional and 5% have hired job search coaching or outplacement agencies.
Of those recently hired, 50% found their jobs through a referral by a friend or a colleague and 37% found their jobs through a family member or friend who already worked at the company.
Proactive search methods are great ways for getting noticed but the key to landing a lasting career is through establishing meaningful relationships. Using traditional introductions through friends and family and cold calls to hiring managers are still great starting points, but with today’s competitive job market, it is essential to engage with prospects and networking contacts on a “real” level. Establishing rapport through a friendship connection and sharing personal interests that relate to the company may be what makes you stand out in the crowd. 85% of those surveyed stated that they would take the time to meet with other professionals if they sensed sincerity and mutual benefit.
The goal of networking is simply to build and maintain meaningful relationships and it is the quality of the relationships you build that matters as much as the quantity. The more trust and professional credibility you build with others, the more likely they are to advocate, recommend or want to help you. Conversely, it is just as important for you to “pay it forward” and invest in the success of others within your network.
Only you can set yourself up for success. Prepare for meaningful conversations by being ready to listen and ask questions. Rather than planning on how to talk about yourself and your capabilities, take time to learn about the person you are meeting with and the industry and company for which they represent. Researching the company’s goals and potential needs will inform your conversation and create a more useful two way dialogue. It will also help you determine if the company is the right fit for your career goals and professional aspirations. If you are genuinely interested in the company and their values it will show through naturally if you are well prepared and thoughtful in your dialogue. Amazing things can happen when you approach every connection with a sincere interest in learning, understanding, and giving rather than with the standard approach of “I need a job, do you have one?”
*Thanks to all of the “Job Search Success Survey” participants.