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October 30, 2012

Defeat Macro Event Job Search

What happens if you wait for some macro event to establish your new career path? If you are in or want to be in an executive position how should you create a network through big macro events? What events might qualify as macro events during the year? This 2012 year may just end with a bang and when Hurricane Sandy hit most of the East Coast yesterday you have the start to a potentially tumultuous election and holiday season. So you can watch cable news or you can work on creating the kind of future you need now. Why should you start networking now to secure your new opportunity by year’s end or very quickly after 2013 starts? 

 

How would you like to wake up on the morning of January 2 with a solid job offer in hand, while the rest of the job seekers are just getting started on their search? Do you think it’s too late for that? If so, you’re almost right. But if you get started immediately, you can get your foot squarely in the door while everyone else is out shopping, drinking egg nog or worse yet, lamenting the layoffs, the Stock Market and whatever doom and gloom news that gets circulated. Contrary to the popular refrain, “the holidays” and macro events create a golden time to look for a job, create bonds with recruiters, network with key companies, and create potential next opportunities whether you are looking for a job full-time or frustrated with with your current employer and ready for a next move. What’s your reason to look for new opportunities? Fill in the blank but the bottom line is that you need to start in earnest.

But attitude means just about everything too. This is true if you are working or if you’ve been laid off and are seeking new opportunities. Remember that for most job seekers it’s bad etiquette to appear desperate or needy to any contact or employers. Consider adopting this holiday attitude and core commitment – it’s never too early to develop a positive relationship, renew relationships or build new ones. Matt Zelman, an independent executive recruiter confirms, “Most job seekers during the holidays come across anxious, upset and glum. I don’t want to hire or consider them based on their bad attitude.” So change your attitude before “the holidays” are over. Focus on developing new relationships, and starting and keeping outstanding communication habits. If you look at the kind of group think that is out there, what do you suppose most job seekers are doing or saying around macro events like elections, hurricanes, holidays, fiscal cliffs and more? Ask them. Most job seekers have already called it quits for the year or are operating on the little bit of momentum they have which is usually a snail’s pace. They resolve to get serious about looking for a job “after the holidays” and believe the myth that you can’t really look for a “good position” until the proverbial storms pass. Media facts and hysteria back them up. Turn on the TV. Read any headline: X Company Announces Layoffs. The Fiscal Cliff Nears. The President This or That. Who could argue with the headlines? So my advice? Stop looking at the macro headlines. It’s the micro-economy that matters – yours!

When the masses of job seekers back off because of any macro event or perception it creates an opportunity. This narrows the playing field considerably, and it increases the amount of pressure on hiring managers who know that they need to fill positions during November or December. Also, most people who are out looking for jobs are easily discouraged by the holiday or media/macro event slowdown myth. If you have a solid plan of attack, you can keep your head above the water and attract people to you. This will give you an advantage over the majority of other job seekers. So, the time to hit the job market is now.

However, to pull this off, you must effectively invest your time. Continue to customize your resumes versus spraying resumes everywhere. You will need to hone in and narrow your focus to the particular types of employers most likely to urgently need you. Link to them. Develop relationships. Dialogue with them. You’ll also need to find a back door, or a quick avenue to accessing a decision maker directly. And you had better have something to say that helps them accomplish their goals. Finally, you’ll need a way to find out about advertised and perhaps even under-advertised job vacancies.

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

Create a Powerful Pace
Identify your long-term goals and short-term requirements. Create a pace in your job search, Linked In, online and offline efforts that are very aggressive. Increase your networking during and around macro events. What are the must-haves about any job offer you will accept? What key companies must you talk to and what key people must you meet?  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?

Observe the Masses – Do the Opposite

When all the birds fly one way you go the other. Look at any macro event as ushering in a new beginning. Take every macro event setback as an opportunity. Know that the paralysis of the masses sets in during macro events. Maintain a positive attitude and demeanor online and offline. Confidence is attractive, unique; 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.

Beef the Online Presence
If appropriate for your level of search confidentiality, create a more powerful network on any and all social / professional media LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and on platforms that demonstrate your brand (whether you are looking confidentially or openly). Simply make sure you 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.

Network In Person
Not just any networking events work. Pick and choose based on your brand focus. But get out there. 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.

Connect to Connectors
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” and during macro events, 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.

If possible 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 communication etiquette only. The job market is ripe with opportunity during the holiday season and through macro events so work on the micro economy – YOURS.

 

Photo Credit: instantshift.com

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