Careers

Combine the Hunter’s Instinct with a Farmer’s Mentality for Job Search Success

By Debra Feldman

Job hunting and recruiting can be disagreeable, inefficient, stressful, frustrating and time consuming for both job seekers and employers. But if it were possible to avoid active job searching (and it is), wouldn’t you be eager to learn how? Having a productive network of relevant contacts who provide job leads is the key to lifetime career insurance a constant flow of new opportunities and continuous access to inside information about unadvertised or hidden jobs.

A successful job search campaign requires a combination of both the hunter’s instinct for finding prime opportunities for nourishment and the farmer’s planning and patience for long-term  growth and sustainability. The hunter-forager’s existence is a nomadic one, moving from place to place and finding and quickly exhausting available resources. The farmer, on the other hand, uses careful planning and available resources to establish a homestead and maximize crop yields year over year. By combining the hunter’s keen eye and honed senses for recognizing opportunity with the farmer’s planning, patience and persistence, you can turn your network of contacts into �career insurance� that will yield bountiful opportunities for a long and satisfying career.

In today’s interconnected world, personal referrals are the best way to identify challenging career opportunities. Whether you are actively seeking a new job or content in your current position, if you have the right connections, opportunities will come your way. Use the hunter’s eye to seek out and initiate connections with experts in your industry and in industries you might like to work in. Like the farmer, cultivate not only those new connections, but also your existing connections.  Continually expand your connections through one-to-one referrals to increase your chances for being recruited. Your network can help you source a role in the near term and create a pipeline of future leads. That’s “career insurance.”

Maximizing your �crop� of network contacts requires regular tending. Keep in touch through regular exchanges, either by email, social media, by phone or in person. Share opportunities, experiences and best practices. If you just harvest (take) and don’t feed (give), your crops will ultimately fail. Periodic collaboration provides access and early leads to the hidden job market  including insights to challenges that don’t have a solution — vacancies that will need to be filled and restructurings that will only happen when the incumbent’s replacement is found.

As an executive talent agent (reverse recruiter) since 2000, I have represented hundreds of prospective senior-level candidates and developed networking processes that accelerate positive job search results. Success stems from correctly positioning clients to attract best opportunities, while simultaneously identifying and then eliminating any barriers that threaten a smooth, successful landing.  Anticipating where the search process may be compromised, rather than breaking down roadblocks as they are encountered, accelerates forward momentum.  Focusing job search activities away from blind alleys and dead ends maximizes chances for a positive connection. Targeting job search efforts to meet employers’ needs and satisfy employers’ expectations will expedite a candidate’s access to their chosen role.

The best way to land the next role with the added benefit of simultaneously developing lifetime �career insurance� to access future new opportunities as a passive candidate, enhance visibility and promote a positive reputation is to Network PurposefullyTM.  Follow these steps and build up your �career insurance� starting today:

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  • Define your goals and objectives for the next career challenge (responsibilities, authority, title, industry sector, location, ownership, compensation, future potential, reputation, culture, etc.)
  • Establish a unique value proposition that differentiates you from top competitors and distinguishes you as the first-choice, go-to expert
  • Describe where your skills, talents, experience and knowledge will be most appreciated. This means selecting either target companies or specific individuals  who can open doors, have hiring authority, deliver job leads, make further introductions, provide recommendations or refer you to people who respect their ability to judge talent.
  • Develop positioning to attract decision-makers and establish credibility among target employers; sync your goals with employer market needs and expectations to identify job search focus
  • Create a marketing message that compellingly communicates  your value by highlighting remarkable talents, memorable achievements, uncompromised ethics and fulfilling target market’s expectations and requirements
  •  Prepare a bio/resume and LinkedIn profile to share your background, stressing quantifiable accomplishments, showing savings achieved, processes improved and costs reduced.
  •  Initiate relationships through third-party introductions, cold calling, professional activities, social networking, publications and presentations, etc. and have meaningful conversations sharing ideas and relevant success stories with hiring authorities and industry leaders, academics, investors, owners, investors, Board members, consultants, advisors and other individuals that decision-makers trust.
  • Establish credibility and expert status: promote your strengths, skills, knowledge and talents through traditional and social media channels, in-person and virtual presentations, volunteer opportunities, organizing group events, arranging introductions among contacts, etc. Stay on the radar of influencers and hiring authorities.

Today, careers are built on relationships, loyal connections and supporting others’ success. Jobs do not find candidates, and rarely does applying, responding to an advertised posting or submitting a resume secure you an interview or get you hired.  Candidates must actively  manage their careers like hunters seek prey. Candidates cannot rely on an employer to develop their career path or reward their efforts in the future.  Every individual must take personal responsibility for managing their career progress and establishing the career insurance that a vital network provides.

Guest Contributor

IEEE-USA is an organizational unit of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. (IEEE), created in 1973 to support the career and public policy interests of IEEE’s U.S. members. IEEE-USA is primarily supported by an annual assessment paid by U.S. IEEE Members.

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