You’re supposed to be the CEO of your career, but too many people search for work like a novice rather than a veteran. Wily executives channel their time and energy toward strategies that offer a worthwhile return, but surveys show that job seekers often focus on activities that have only marginal success. It comes down to this: If you want to be a CEO, act like one.
Superior Return: Building a Network
Time Allocation: 50 percent
If you’re investing at least 50 percent of your time building relationships with colleagues, connecting with recruiters and managers (through the Dice Talent Network maybe?), and participating in at least three face-to-face meetings each week, you’re being smart. Networking produces the ultimate return. If you think it’s over-rated, consider this: On average, 30 to 50 percent of the successful candidates come from referrals while 50 percent of employees who earn $100,000 or more found their job through networking.
“A CEO would never sit around waiting for the phone to ring,” says Andrea Loëb, career consultant and author of What You Need To Know To Get A Job Now! “He or she would be making contacts and forcing something to happen.”
Excellent Return: Targeting Employers and Submitting Applications
Time Allocation: 30 percent
Job seekers spend hundreds of hours perusing job boards and randomly applying for positions in ubiquitous companies, which is a lot of work for an average return of less than 10 percent. Yet when they take the time to research the market, target specific employers and integrate a networking strategy, their return improves by 15 percent to 25 percent. Conclusion: Spend 30 percent of your time honing your list and strategically submitting applications instead of shotgunning the market.
Excellent Return: Following-Up
Time Allocation: 5 percent
When a discouraged IT professional came to Loëb after 18 months of unemployment, she evaluated his methodology and suggested he follow-up after submitting applications and resumes. Investing less than an hour a day yielded a handsome return, because he received three job offers within 30 days.
“Candidates have about a 1-in-256 chance of landing the job when they don’t follow-up, but their odds increase to about 1-in-16, just by making a few phone calls,” says Loëb.
Good Return: Building Brand Equity
Time Allocation: 10 percent
In a study by Microsoft, 86 percent of employers said that having a positive online presence influences your reputation. Fewer than 15 percent thought an online presence would impact their chances of landing a job. Blogging, joining professional associations and nurturing an online presence reversed the fortunes of a SharePoint expert, who had trouble garnering interest from employers, Loëb recalls. Blogging allowed him to position himself as a subject-matter expert, and he could point to nearly 22,000 hits on Google as proof of his expertise.
Fair Return: Strategic Alliances
Time Allocation: 5 percent
While you need to engage in a multi-dimensional campaign, remember that third party recruiters and search firms generally account for a very small percentage of full-time placements. Select one or two agencies that cater to professionals with your skills or have relationships with managers in your target companies. If they happen to find you a job, think of it as icing on the cake.
“Most studies show that recruiters are only somewhat effective in helping candidates find jobs,” says Loëb. “So they shouldn’t receive any more than 4 percent to 24 percent of a candidate’s time.”
Photo: U.S. Navy via Wikimedia
Updated June 13, 2011 to correct source name to Andrea Loeb.