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December 10, 2008

Proper Job Search Etiquette Starts During the Holidays – Part II

Now let’s go over some tips.

There are a few simple strategies you can use to accomplish these goals.

Have a plan.

Identify your long-term goals and short-term requirements.
What are the must-haves about any job offer you will accept? Where do you want this job to lead you? What type of company do you want to work for? How would you like to put your skills to work? Do you really believe you have recession-proofed your career path? Are you ready for a layoff? What if you are an entrepreneur and you lose your business? What would you do? A lot of questions here but NOW is the time to create the proper thought process and path to what you need.

Exude happiness despite negative headlines.
Maintain a positive attitude and demeanor online and offline. Confidence is attractive; being in a slump isn’t. Get excited about the opportunity you’re going to land. That excitement will rub off on the people around you so refine your communication skills online and offline. It’ll make the job search process fun and using proper, professional etiquette makes you stand out amongst the desperate masses. In this day and age you must take ownership of your career, not relying on news or macro headlines. Connect with people who see the opportunities in the darkness of these winter months.

Develop an online presence and think about the social media that may need to be in place for your career.
If appropriate for your level of search confidentiality, create a TheLadders, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and association profile if you don’t have one already and make sure that all of your information is up to date, appropriate and professional. Any time you learn the name of a hiring manager, look to see if anyone in your LinkedIn network knows that person, and if so, ask for an introduction. Research companies that you apply to on sites like TheLadders and develop a gameplan to research each and every one. But never depend on one network because new opportunities to engage with people online are created daily. Your search etiquette and image must be almost completely professional, with a personal flare.

Attend networking events, open houses and holiday parties.
Not just any networking events, and not every networking event. You’ll need to figure out which events will be well attended by people who can connect you with decision makers (or, better yet, events attended by decision makers themselves). But don’t carry a sandwich board with your resume on it (unless appropriate)! If you choose to attend any career fairs, be sure to research the names of the companies represented, and find out as much as possible about those companies and their current needs. Social events are times to interview. December is the month for them.

Find the connectors and properly communicate with them.
These are the people who know the decision makers, and who have an incentive for connecting you with them. These may be recruiters, or they may be other employees in the same company. You won’t know who they are at first, but they’ll identify themselves to you if you network effectively. Find proper and appropriate ways to develop relationships.

To act on the time-critical window that opens during the holidays, you need to be fully focused on getting to the decision makers directly. You don’t have any time to waste. This is why it’s so critical to narrow your focus and figure out which types of employers you need to talk to. It’s also why you’ll need to target your elevator pitch to a very specific audience. If you do this, the wrong people will quickly lose interest, and the right people’s ears will perk up.

Finally, don’t fill out a job application with a company who hasn’t heard of you. By the time you fill out a job application, this step should be a formality after the decision to bring you on board has already been made. You don’t have time to sort through online job postings, in the hopes of finding the urgent ones. There are just too many postings and not enough time. And the kind of opportunity you’re looking for is unlikely to be publicly posted anyway. The front door approach takes a long time. The trick to getting a great job during the holidays is to squeeze in through the back door with proper communiction etiquette only.

The job market is ripe with opportunity during the holiday season so work on the micro economy – YOURS.
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One Response to “Proper Job Search Etiquette Starts During the Holidays – Part II”

  1. December 30, 2008 at 3:50 pm, Dave Baldwin said:

    I found myself nodding while I read this article. I’ve noticed that I can smell negativity on other people a mile away, and it’s a turn-off. I’ve also noticed that the person with a positive attitude in a roomful of gloom and doom sticks out in a good way.
    I also agree with what you said about filling out applications. I can’t remember a single instance where I started by filling out an application, and actually landed a job that way. With most jobs I’ve landed, the decision to hire me had already been made before I even saw an application.

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