Posted By: Bala
I got the calling last February to go find my next play. I had to shop the job market after a decade of being employed in the same company, so I was clueless as to where to start. Yet I took a deep breath, had a nice family dinner, and seized a good night sleep. The next morning, I reached out to my Board of Advisors (BoA) for some help. These wonderful people sat with me, discussed my needs, and then helped me begin to devise a plan to land my dream job.
Guess what? The plan worked. There are some blogs out there on these lines, but most of them are decorative rather than practical. So I am happy to share my plan with all the unemployed, underemployed and unhappily employed out there. If it works for me, it should for you too, right?
1st Commandment – Know Thyself!
First you should better know yourself – Who you are, what your values and strengths are, what kind of work and culture keeps you happy, etc. Based on some advice, I took the ‘Gallup Strengthsfinder’ test to know or reconfirm my strengths, and read “What color is my Parachute”. Seriously, they were eye openers. Another thing, whether you agree or not, job searching is very stressful. But this is the time you should be in your best shape, so join a boot camp, sign up for hot yoga, or pick any of your interests to get to shape, to eat and to sleep well.
2nd Commandment – Set the Foundation.
Let’s face it, those days of uploading your resume and applying for the jobs through job search sites are long gone. In this social era, LinkedIn has become the Swiss army blade for the job search, so the first thing you should do is to update your LinkedIn Profile. Request recommendations from your peers, former colleagues, etc. Sign up for the LinkedIn Premium Trial account, so the site can help you refine your profile, also will enable you to reach out to anyone and everyone in LinkedIn using ‘InMail’. But before doing all this, don’t forget to turn off notifications for profile changes, so you won’t flood your network with all the trivial tweaks you are continuously making.
3rd Commandment – Script your Play.
Next thing is to have your script ready. We all know about that famous first question at the interviews ‘Tell me about yourself’, yet most of us fumble. Acing this question will give you a great opportunity of setting up the interview to flow your way. So work with your BoA to script and practice your Positioning statement – Tell me about yourself, Exit statement – Why you leave current job, strengths and weakness, etc. Always, always end with a positive spin. Another trick my job placement coach from Lee Hecht Harrison taught me was to have a few SOAR stories in our back pocket for various situations and accomplishments. By the way, SOAR stands for Situation – Obstacles – Action – Result.
4th Commandment – Put the Pieces Together.
Lock yourself in a quiet room and start thinking of all the great but relevant companies you would like to work for. Pick the best of the best, maybe 20 to 25. Then start thinking of the connections you have at those companies who can go beyond that ‘let me forward your resume’ courtesy. I know this seems to be lot of work, but I will share a trick to simplify this exercise. Login to your LinkedIn account, and then click Connection – Keep In Touch – Settings – Export LinkedIn Connections. Voila, you will now have all your connections and their companies, titles, and contact details in an excel file, so you are on the driving seat. With the information you have collected so far, create your marketing plan, which should navigate your job search.
5th Commandment – Show what you got!
Let’s execute the plan, but a word of caution. When you reach out to your connections, there could be surprises that your perceived best friends may turn their back on you, while you may be welcomed whole heartedly by the links you thought as weak. And that is life. Don’t be disappointed but press on. Another thing: free advices like mine may work till you score an interview, but once you stepped your foot inside the interview room it is all up to you to make an impression and land the job. Go, break a leg.
And the Morale of the Story?
Take my case. I followed the commandments, started with the connections from my top 5 company choices. All had responded positively to score the interviews; two fell through the interview processes but got offers from three other brands. Yay! And I picked #LinkedIn, because I like this Company, my Job, and most importantly, the Leadership I am reporting to.
Happy story right? What made that so easy lies in the way I maintained the relationships positive, as well as the engagement with my professional network not just when I needed, but continuously and consistently.
So to all of you in it, may you find connections, nurture relationships and may you find your dream job.
“I am an employee of LinkedIn. The opinions expressed here are my own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of LinkedIn”.