Go beyond networking to get a job

The world has changed immensely since the last recession, and so have the rules of the job hunting game.

Sure, networking is still a no-brainer, but how do you make contact with a hiring manager when your resume first has to be screened and catch the attention of a computer?

How do you find jobs that aren’t posted? When jobs are posted, thousands of applicants might apply. What does it take to make a resume stand out?

Steve McMahan, president of a San Francisco company that helps place applicants in financial jobs, said job seekers have to be more pro-active than ever. Sending out resumes and waiting by the phone just won’t work, he, said, but persistence will pay off.

“Some people who didn’t have success finding a job last year will have a better chance this year,” said McMahan, who is based in the Tampa office of Accountants International.

With 1.1 million unemployed Floridians and a shrinking supply of jobs, what does it take to snag a full-time position?

The Tampa Tribune turned to McMahan and another expert, Donald Asher, a career coach and author, whose latest book is, How To Get Any Job.

Here are some of their tips.

Broaden your network pool

When you’re out of work, it’s easy to let depression and negative thoughts fill your head. The key to getting back to work is networking, both McMahan and Asher agree.

“You shouldn’t only be networking,” McMahan said. “But if you do only one thing, network.

“Think about every job you’ve ever had, every contact you’ve ever made,” McMahan said. “You’ll likely figure out you know a lot more people than you thought you did.”

McMahan recommends the unemployed get out of the house every day. Tell people you meet that you’re looking for work, keep resumes with you. Have coffee with old colleagues and others in your network.

Use social media. Reach out to contacts on sites such as Facebook or LinkedIn. If you don’t have these accounts, McMahan said, get them.

Don’t limit your search to posted openings

About 55 to 80 percent of the jobs available are in what Asher calls the “hidden market.” That means the openings are not posted. Asher advises clients to forget about posted jobs, he said, because by the time they’re posted there is fierce competition. He suggests instead trying to find out about jobs before they’re posted.

Target companies you want to work for and convince someone who already works there to believe in you.

E-mail people you know at the company and ask them to refer you for the job, Asher said. At the very least, ask that they personally hand your resume to the appropriate hiring manager.

“You don’t have to be someone important to get your resume bumped to the top,” Asher said. “About 25 percent of the management-level resumes have outright lies on them. This is why someone vouching for you means so much.”

Inquire about types of jobs, not openings. If a company knows about you, they may think of you the next time they have an opening – even if it’s not posted to the public.

“I worked with an accountant who was very shy and didn’t like to network,” Asher said. “We faxed his resume to dozens of offices over a weekend, and he landed a job quickly. It was a job he would not have even known about.”

If you do apply for a posted job, make the resume reflect the posting

Asher recommends including specific words from the job posting in your resume to increase your chances of being considered. Many companies have computers that screen resumes and sort the ones that best match the job posting.

There are some words that aren’t in the posting that the computer will be looking for, Asher said. For example, she said, the name of a competitor on your resume will likely catch the eye of the computer and then, hopefully, someone with the power to hire.

Once you’ve applied, make sure you’re not forgotten. Asher recommends stopping by every 10 days.

“I don’t think this is pestering,” he said. “And if it is, oh well. If they don’t hire you, it doesn’t matter what they think.”

Courtesy Tampa Bay Online – By Shannon Behnken who can be reached at (813) 259-7804.


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