If you are still responding to posted vacancy ads after two months of searching with little success, you might be ready for a change of strategy. After 35 years of coaching job hunters, I believe that the road least traveled leads to the very best possibilities. Well, maybe you read about the “Hidden Jobs” , these are the positions which are filled before they get posted, so only a few know about them. The reason this is the road less traveled is because it isn’t visible, it does not carry an invitation to apply.
So, how does it work? Companies and non profits which are growing are always looking for new talent. The biggest barrier to growth is finding good people. Positions naturally evolve because of increased market share, or a new financial contribution, or a new surge of students. In a management meeting there is the discussion, “we need someone who can help us….” Or, a manager meets someone whom he/she feels can move the organization to the next level and begins to recruit that individual to formulate a new position. All of this happens because of organizational growth or change.
Another key factor is that 80% of organizations have 20 personnel or less. That means that the majority of employers are very busy, do not have a full-time HR director and are just trying to keep things moving forward. Most of the advise we receive today are from the 5-10% of employers and head-hunters who serve them about how to compete for vacancies. This large 80% do not have time to publish secrets on how to get a job. These companies and non profits just find people through their business and social networks. Positions are filled and they never got posted as a vacancy.
How does an outsider gain access to this insider information about growth, or statements like “we need some one who can…..” The answer is found on that road less traveled. Only trusted individuals know about these opportunities. This means an employee recommends a neighbor, a former college friend recommends a colleague, an employee recommends a manager she appreciates in a former company. Yet, there is a way that you can become one of these “trusted” friends. Yes, there is a price to pay for developing a substitute to being that neighbor or colleague. In one word, it is all about developing a relationship. You need to develop a relationship with the decision maker who oversees the department, workgroup, division or even company you want to pursue. But, this is not just any old company or non profit, it must be one which is growing or changing.
The magic number is three in terms of how many visits it takes to discover an opportunity and turn it into an offer. Once you meet with a decision maker (whose organization is growing or changing) three times you have won the coveted trust. That person is starting to like you.
Now, what are you planning to talk about, what is the purpose for your meeting? You do not request a meeting to present your resume. That’s like saying will you marry me on the first date. You begin with developing an employer contact list of the types of organizations which fit your career objective. Your first goal is to discover which organizations are growing. Then you seek to find out what the growth needs are which may be coming up. Lastly, you want to discuss your strengths and how you can help the organization meet its growth goals. This is all very doable, but it is the road less traveled. In 35 years of job coaching, I have seen this work wonders for clients. You can do it. Try the road less traveled.