When you're having a tough time finding a job, or even finding jobs to apply for, it's important to expand your job search. Don't limit yourself to applying for the jobs you find posted online.
Companies may be hiring that don't post job listings other than on their company web site - or not all. Expanding your job search will help you find unadvertised openings and enable you to proactively seek employment at companies of interest.
Make a Target List of Companies
If you don't have a target list of companies yet - a short list of employers you would be thrilled to work for, it's worthwhile taking the time to research company information and create a list of companies to target in your job search. All the information you need is available on the web, and it's easy to find detailed information about potential employers online.
Once you have a list, the next step is outreaching to contacts at the company. Use LinkedIn's companies section as a tool to find company information. You'll be able see your contacts at the company, new hires, jobs posted, and company statistics. Check the company web site and Google the company to find more contacts at the employer who could be potentially be interested in hiring you.
Work Your Company List
Then start activively working those contacts to help get a foot in the door. Fred Whelan, coach, recruiter and author of GOAL! Your 30 Day Game Plan for Business and Career Success suggests that "If you have a plan for each day, the new sense of purpose helps fight the discouragement that comes from feeling that there is "nothing out there for me."
Fred has graciously shared his tips for setting up a plan you can use to connect and follow up with potential employers.
Create a Contact Action Plan
1. Send an email (or a LinkedIn message) to the individual you would potentially be reporting to. The email should be company specific, mention the issues they are facing and how your background can help them. As an example, if you are a sales person: "I was able in my previous position as sales manager to grow sales at a higher rate than the industry average. I know that your company is trying to aggressively outpace the category, and given my experience I can help you accomplish that." Keep the email short. "Intro and More" is a good Subject for your message or InMail.
2. Follow up by phone with three companies that you have already emailed. Call the person you emailed the previous week. The follow-up call should state why you are interested in working at that company and how your background can add value now.
3. Meet with one person in your network. This should be over coffee either in their office or at a Starbucks. People will tell you things in person that they would never say in an email or over the phone. Let them know what you are doing and what you are looking for. Offer to help them with something they may need. This will help you stay top of mind with them. Also, ask them for the name of at one other person you can be introduced to, which will significantly expand your network.
4. Find someone who is blogging for a company you want to work for and make comments on their blog. People who blog really appreciate comments and that will raise your profile with that person. Further, meet with people who are, like you, out of work and exchange ideas on what is working and not working in your job search.