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Hunting

Hey y'all! Long time no blog. It hasn't been that long but Im sorry it has been a minute, I've been a bit distracted this month. On May 30th my finance position was eliminated putting me on the job market hunting for a new job. Afternoon teas and lilly clothes don't pay for themselves! But seriously, I like working - for the most part. 

I've been asked a lot about my job hunt strategies and since that is what my life is all about right now it seems like a good time to share here. In a way it was a bit of a relief because it's stressful to be sneaky while searching - but if you currently have a job do not resign to search, you're just going to have to suck it up and have little free time for a while. I'm always surprised when people tell me they are looking for a new job and this consists of meeting with a recruiter and putting out a few applications on their own. Folks, to find a job you should treat your hunt like a job - this means spending hours a day on job hunt activities, a steady flow of applications, and staying on top of it. If you currently are employed you do have the risk of your employer finding out and so you better be making your efforts count. 

There used to be the concept that for every 10 applications you could expect one interview and for every 10 interviews you could expect one job offer which would mean it takes 100 applications to get one job offer. With online applications I've heard it's more like one interview for every 13 applications, yikes! Although there's exceptions to this landing a job is often a big numbers game. For example, I recently applied for a job on LinkedIn. According to LinkedIn there were 33 applicants, but those are just the LinkedIn applicants so I would put a reasonable estimate at 65. This means in my job market I have at least 64 competitors looking for the same type of position. With this kind of job seeker market putting in applications for the five jobs I'm most interested in just isn't going to cut it. While I might sound perfect for a job based on the description often the company is looking for something they're not point blank spelling out and that's where I feel it really becomes a numbers game - applying to enough jobs to find the one where I'm the right match. 

In my several times hunting I've never had to hit 100 applications but this goal has kept me sane when days went by without any calls or or I got a rush of those horrid impersonal automated rejection letters. But I have submitted a lot of applications, my last go around I sent out 64 and the job I just lost was the 40-something application. Keeping up with all those applications is a lot, which is why I'm going to share with you my system: 

Get a notebook. It doesn't matter what kind or what it looks like, just get one. In this notebook you'll keep a log of all the jobs you apply for with each page devoted to a company. Here's a sample log: 


At the top I keep up with the company name, date applied, how I found the job and the job title. If there's an online job ID number I keep up with that as well. At the bottom I record the login info if I had to create a profile on the employers website. 

I then scan the description and pick out at least 10 keywords. Keywords are important because sometimes not every online application will even be seen as recruiters will setup the computer to push forward the applicants with the best keyword match. So I make sure I'm using at least 10 keywords listed in the job description on my résumé and / or cover letter. 

If anyone in my network works for the company I shoot them a message letting them know I applied - it helps if they have the job ID number should they choose to mention you to HR. If possible I try to find a name for the recruiter and / or hiring manager, but usually this comes after the company reaches out. 

I'm sure you're wondering why be so old fashioned about this - what do I have against computer programs to record this info. Well, simple: where you go your notebook goes. I'm not a fan of answering the phone on the fly but I do believe in getting to a quite place, opening the notebook to the job you applied to, taking a deep breath and returning the call. The notebook gives you the place to write down the contact info , take notes during the conversation and have talking point reminders. Trust me, when application 32 calls four weeks after you submitted it you'll appreciate the talking point prompts. For example, if I use excel as a keyword the job is asking for advance excel skills and I'll want to mention some projects I've done on the application. Personally I just like keeping my log handwritten but keeping a copy of all the job descriptions with your keywords highlighted would work as well - the point is to keep up with all your applications so when a recruiter calls you're not blanking on the job or what they are looking for and you're also not wasting time applying for the same job over and over again. 

Of course, you have to find the jobs to apply to. I'm a huge fan of indeed as it searches multiple job posting databases. I also like that I can set up multiple searches and see what the new posting are every time I check in. Also, there's a phone app so it's super handy. I wake up and review new posting every morning, save the ones I want to apply to and then head to a computer for the actual applications. Because I don't have to be sneaky I have my résumé uploaded, be warned though - You'll get lots of unsolicited 100% commission sales "jobs" offered. But you might also have a recruiter reach out on a job you hadn't seen or hadn't had the chance to apply to. 

In the meantime it's important to stay busy. If you have a job than congratulations, you're busy. If not, unemployment can be a great time to catch up on ones personal life - spend time with family, tackle some projects you never had time for, take a trip if your savings allows for that - but it's also an excellent time for professional development. I'm taking advantage of time I never seemed to have and working towards a certification I've wanted to pursue. It's also important to keep up with industry news and trends - always good talking points during an interview. 

If you're getting yourself out there and applying for jobs that are honestly appropriate for your skill set then eventually the calls, and a job offer will come. One other thing I think is very important to do when you begin the search is to get your interview suit ready. My last one didn't quite fit so I had to get a new one. But having a suit that fits, is dry cleaned and ready is important. First off, it's positive thinking by saying yes, I will be needing this for a interview soon! But also, it eliminates having to delay interviews or searching frantically the day before one to find a suit or get it cleaned. 

When searching for a job there's a lot you can't control but by being organized and being ready you'll set yourself up for success. Happy hunting! 

Comments

  1. Great stuff, Amanda! I like the notebook idea--I think I'll have to write that one down :) Good luck--any company would be lucky to have you!

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