Below the line job seeking
Job seeking used to be a much simpler process but today’s competitive market calls for new tactics. Nowadays job hunters can’t afford to be ordinary
10 November 2008
Type up your curriculum vitae, write a cover note, apply for jobs online or in the papers, wait to hear from potential employers, and repeat. This was the pre-2008 process of job hunting. A simple, not overly taxing method of sending CVs out and waiting for a reply. Such was the process back in the days when job seeking was a simple matter. Simpler than it is now, anyway.
Times have changed
In today’s more competitive job market, job seekers can’t afford to be ordinary, they need to do things differently. Below the line job seeking explores routes outside of the traditional methods of finding a job. It is important that job seekers realise that they should be using both traditional methods and non-traditional methods to help increase their chances of finding the right position.
In today’s market, you need to reach out to people who could give you access to new networks and employment opportunities outside of your field of expertise. Even effective job seekers may have exhausted their own network and have to expand it. This could mean the difference between finding the right position or not.
Many candidates are finding their job searches are taking longer than expected. It is a fact that 70% of job searches last four weeks or longer, so for people needing to move or without a current position, traditional strategies won’t cut it. You have to use every strategy that is at your disposal. Each person has to find tactics that are a fit for them.
For job seekers who have had no luck with the traditional routes to find employment, it’s time to take the job search to the streets and use creative ways to get noticed. Here are five non-professional places and events to consider as career opportunities:
- Sporting events. Corporate boxes, particularly at Croke Park, are invaluable places to network the next step in your career ladder. The same goes for golf outings, rugby or soccer matches. These are relaxed and informal settings ideally suited to networking. Preferably, stick to corporate events, as these are most likely to have your peers and potential employers
- Social networking sites. Each day, millions of people make connections through Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn. Consider sending out a note to your “friends” and “connections” about your job search. Job seekers should reach out to their own network to be sure friends and colleagues know what they are looking for in a job. You have to research the people in the network and the companies and organizations they are affiliated with. Then, you have to actively ask your contacts to introduce you to the others and follow through. LinkedIn is particularly relevant as a business site.
- Conferences related and not related to your expertise. Attending industry events and seminars that attract subject matter experts outside of your traditional industry or peer group is a good way to regenerate your network. There are a lot of career changers out there. One approach for those seeking to move into a new industry is to attend a conference focused on that professional arena. To start building this new network, you may attend conferences about topics outside of your field. Building a new network of contacts and meeting professionals with different networks is important.
Lastly, you need to have the ability to pitch yourself to potential employers in these settings. Remember however, while you are trying establishing a new network, others at these events may be there with a different agenda, such as enjoying a day out!
Tips for below the line job seeking
- Prepare an ‘Elevator Pitch’. A couple of sentences that introduce yourself and your most marketable skills. Keep this to 20 seconds long
- When networking, first introduce yourself and then ask the person what they do for work. Explain what you do and take the conversation from here
- Always carry a business card
- Make sure you have your curriculum vitae ready to go. Be prepared so you can send it out quickly