Readers of “What Color Is Your Parachute?” learn most job seekers need to dramatically change their way of thinking if they want to get an interview and eventually a job. Taking the time to understand the thought process of hiring managers, how they approach job filling, and how it compares to what job seekers are doing is critical to adjusting your job search for success.
Most employers try to fill jobs internally and then through personal connections. In fact, many positions are never even posted publicly. Job seekers start their job searches by checking job posting boards, blasting their resumes, and are screened out by automation before a real person even sees their name. They are working in completely opposite directions.
Understanding Bolles’ inverted pyramid is one of the most important steps to getting on the same page as the person trying to fill job openings.
What becomes clear is that to get an interview, a job seeker needs to network intentionally. This isn’t just letting a few key friends know you are in search of a job – this means you look to your broader network and identify who is in a place you’d like to be. You have to get beyond the traditional approach of looking at classifieds and job hunter websites and instead talk to real people at organizations about the openings that exist. Further, those conversations need to have a purpose. You should know enough about what you want to ask pointed questions and be ready to sell your own value, as well as ask the right questions of the person you are meeting. While a cup of coffee is enjoyable, both you and the person you are meeting will get more out of it if you go into the meeting with purpose in mind.
Even during a pandemic with social distancing orders, you can take steps to network. Send emails, ask for a phone call or a video call and ask specific questions. Instead of asking broadly to let you know of job openings, ask something more specific. Ask for a referral to a person at a business you are interested in, or more explanation about the mission of a specific organization. Employers have precious few jobs they are filling in this environment and they are going to want to lower their risk by hiring either from within or with a strong referral of someone they know. Your network outreach is critical to get in the proverbial door.
And if you’ve ever been hesitant about asking a friend for assistance think about what you’d say to someone who asked you for help. You probably have said yes to a colleague who needed a reference, shared a job posting with a peer that you knew was outlooking, and given advice to a new college graduate. Have faith in your network and know they are likely to say yes.
For the employers who have job openings – be sure you are notifying your employees and encouraging referrals. The job market has changed and you might be surprised at who comes your way if you just check in with your team.
The more job seekers and those hiring can do to start to get on the same page as each other, the more they will be able to find good matches for the openings that exist.