How to Re-enter the Job Market or Velocitize Stagnant Job Search

Many wonder how executives get back in the game successfully after months of frustrating attempts or an elective sabbatical of months or lasting years.

One job search technique that has been proven universally effective for candidates who do not fit into standard job descriptions is Network Purposefullyâ„¢. They not only connect intentionally with hiring decision-makers but also meet strategically chosen industry figures who are recognized as reliable referral sources, such as keynote conference speakers, academic thought leaders, published authors, Tweeters, bloggers, forum participants and former target company executives.

The Hidden or Unadvertised Job Market

According to industry reports as well as CNN, a whopping 80 percent of the jobs in today’s market are either hidden or unadvertised.

In today’s competitive environment, skills, talent and knowledge are not enough to attract employers. The earlier you are in the job race, the easier it will be for you to land an interview. As a job seeker it is imperative that you follow-up and promote yourself periodically so that when an employer has a need, she or he will reach you first. Timing is critical. Being recommended for a position can transform a dead campaign into a full-speed-ahead situation as the number one contender for the opening.

Automated candidate screening and tracking processes don’t accommodate and can’t appreciate exceptions. For example, some automated résumé screeners interpret all gaps of eight months as too long and eliminates all such candidates without discerning that a portion or all of this time was by choice or due to a non-compete. Increasingly used to manage the massive volumes of résumés generated by Web-based postings, many re-entry candidates are often discarded from being on a shortlist of candidates matching an employer’s ideal requirements. The challenge for those who can’t fit precisely into a round or square hole is to attract hiring decision-makers. The solution is to connect through a mutual contact instead of applying and submitting résumés to more openings.

Networking Produces Opportunities

Gerry Crispin and Mark Mehler of CareerXroads in multiple annual surveys have documented that employee referrals continue to be a main source of new hires. How can prospects get an insider to champion their candidacy? Ask explicitly for help specifying the individual to be contacted and provide a clear value proposition that the intermediary can relay to the decision-maker that will promote interest in the candidate’s inquiry. Networking contacts can usually facilitate a telephone or in-person meeting to start the process and allow you to interact one-on-one with a hiring decision-maker.

Accelerate Your Job Search Results

To establish good interpersonal rapport and demonstrate their credibility, you should develop models, white-papers or presentations that show in quantifiable terms how you can decrease expenses, increase profits and add to the bottom-line. Note that the ideal candidate and the ideal employee may be different. Only the hiring-decision maker, NOT HR, can bend the requirements, reorganize resources and do what it takes to make an offer.

Beyond an immediate job offer, a positive impression can yield still more networking which in turn can deliver more potential job leads. With patience and persistence, developing and nurturing networking relationships contacts is the surest way to find a job. If you are a job seeker with a break on your résumé, personalized introductions can explain unusual circumstances and pave the way for meaningful dialogues with prospective employers.

Networking has multiple benefits for prospective candidates:

* Developing influential relationships,
* Acquiring insights from the employer’s perspective and
* Gaining knowledge to focus on target employers most likely to be interested in them.

Re-entering the Job Market

Here are some tips to re-enter the job market with a running jumpstart to accelerate job search progress:

1. Define skills, expertise, and knowledge. Identify a potential employer market that is likely to value such talents and capabilities. Then find key decision-makers/hiring managers and establish contact, preferably an introduction by a mutual contact.

2. Create a plan that includes a strong value proposition to unmistakably benefit prospective employers based on quantifiable contributions.

3. Choose a niche of expertise that is remarkable, distinctive and memorable. Go to resources/experts, command more attention.

4. Communicate interest clearly and persuasively in a flawless written format and compelling elevator speech presentation.

5. Access unadvertised or hidden job market through personal connections, not official job postings. It’s not just who you know and what you know, but who knows you.

6. Emphasize networking purposefully by connecting with individuals who are well-positioned to not only hire, but also make introductions and expand connections to other hiring decision-managers.

7. Invest your time and effort to develop strong trusting long-term relationships. Fine-tune your positioning, documentation, etc. based on feedback on a regular basis.

8. Show appreciation and to give back willingly to help others. What goes around comes round. Good networking is reciprocal and not restricted to job hunting-related activities.

9. Be persistent and persevere courteously, keeping the ball in play. Don’t be deterred by effective gatekeepers. It’s their responsibility to filter contacts. Make sure gatekeepers understand that there is more at risk excluding you than setting up a meeting or phone appointment.

Debra Feldman, JobWhiz, Executive Talent Agent

Jenni Proctor

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