February 21, 2013

Job Seeking is a Contact Sport

The average length of time it takes to get a job is 3 to 6 months.  When it stretches out longer than that employers start to wonder what is wrong with you… no matter what the economy looks like…

I like to say that the biggest mistake that unemployed people make is that they hang around with other unemployed people.  If you really want to get a job, you have to connect with employed people and hiring managers!

Last September a recent graduate in mechanical engineering, Jose Rios, came to see me.  He had applied for numerous positions with multiple companies but had been rejected more times than he cared to admit.  He was also using a really passive approach to getting a job – he was posting his resume on web sites and applying to jobs that were already posted.  We all know how that ends… An inside candidate gets the job. He had been looking for months and nothing was happening. 

Jose was tired of looking for work unsuccessfully. He knew he was doing something wrong but he was not sure what.  He was, after all, spending a ton of time on his job search but the results of his labors were disappointing to say the least. He needed a new approach. 

He was giving it his best shot but he really had no idea where to begin. He was unfocused in his career goals, he was unprepared for the rigors of the job search, his resume was seriously weak, and he had no portfolio of his work. He was being ignored - unable to get the attention of employers because he didn’t look good even though he was actually a great candidate. 

Jose was determined to get a job so he changed everything.  He started attending my career planning class weekly and reading The Serious Job Seeker. He revised his resume into a format that I recommended.  He learned how to interview effectively. But most importantly he learned how to look for work.  He learned that he had to connect with people as well as the Internet if he really wanted to get a job.

Looking for work is a contact sport… Getting a job requires face time.  You need to be there to get a job.  Working on a computer, alone, from home, is not the way people get jobs.

Over the next four months Jose Rios camped out on my doorstep. I encouraged him to attend a site visit that HP was hosting for my CS Career Planning Class. He didn’t really want to, but I insisted.  It was an event for computer science students but I knew connections would be made.  Although the tour was geared towards computer science majors, Jose made a critical contact with an HP manager who connected him with a hiring manager.  Jose was interviewed and hired by HP within a month.

An essential part of job seeking is to connect with professionals in your field – the earlier the better!  Career Day 2013 provides you with an opportunity to meet tons of engineers so don’t be shy – get there and be prepared!!! 

If you want a job, here are my best suggestions for right now… There is no better time to get moving on your career with 80 companies coming to campus next Friday!!!

6 easy steps to get face time with employers and get a job! 
  1. Construct a resume using one of my easy to use resume templates
  2. Research companies coming to Career Day that hire your major before the event
  3. Attend Career Day 2013 on March 1st – arrive at 8:00 and stay for the day!
  4. Attend a seminar at Career Day
  5. Apply for jobs or internships that expand your knowledge and skills
  6. Follow up with a thank you note and a phone call to companies you are really hot on!