|Research is a frightening word to many of us. When you are conducting a job search many of the frighteningly and complex implications of the word “research” seem to jump out. But it does not have to be that difficult. Think about this phase, not as research, but rather as accessing the research of others.|
Much of the research you will be doing is looking up information on various industries, finding company names and addresses and the names of executives at those companies and then prepping yourself on a company and its industry prior to a meeting or interview.
Think about it this way . . . in your last position you would look up information in files – either paper or computer files to prepare for a meeting, phone call or business trip. Now you will be looking up information in reference books, business periodicals or the internet to prepare for a meeting, phone call or an interview.
Networking is, by far, the most effective method of uncovering job and career opportunities. It is so important that an entire chapter is devoted to it.
Here are some guidelines to working with recruiters:
Do not sign a contract.
Do not give permission to be presented to a company without discussing the position with you first.
Do not tell a contingent recruiter what jobs you are interviewing on. They could present other candidates to that company and you will have given yourself additional competition.
Do let them know your salary. This is an exception to the general rule of not discussing former salary. You will not likely find a recruiter who will work with you unless you reveal your salary.
Do let them know what kind of job you want and what you do not want.
Respect their time. Do not expect that they will want to talk with you unless they have a job opportunity for you. They are not being rude, just very busy.
Do not expect them to “Place you.” The better recruiters recruit for their client companies that have openings rather than attempting to place candidates.
Do not expect them to follow up with you unless they have an opportunity for you.
College Placement Offices
Most college and university placement offices provide help to Alumni. Some will publish openings, submit your resume for appropriate positions or do both. The effectiveness of these offices varies greatly and depends upon the staffs’ relationships with the community. It is a base you may want to cover, but do not expect too much from your alma mater.
There are many networking groups, generally for middle management. These are informal and generally self-led or have volunteer leaders – many are church related. They are excellent groups to participate with especially when there is no other support. Be on guard, however, for negative people who would rather complain than to take constructive steps toward getting a job. Some have good to excellent job lead banks. An example is Businesspersons Between Jobs (BBJ). Among their many other services, they publish a brochure of mini-resumes of their members which is mailed to several thousand organizations. They also maintain a rather sizeable listing of job openings which organizations have submitted to them.
Direct Mail Campaign
This is a weak approach to uncover opportunities. There is a great deal of luck involved when this method succeeds. If you do pursue this route there are a few things which will increase its effectiveness. Address the letter by name and title. Make certain the address, name, spelling, etc. are correct. Mention in the letter that you will follow up by phone in a week to ten days. Then make the call when you said you would. A letter sent but not followed up with a call is a waste of your time.
Send the letter to the person two levels above the position you seek. If you send the letter to the person one level above, the person who receives it can all too easily get rid of it. But if it goes to his or her boss, who in turn sends it down, the manager has to pay more attention to it. Also, if the boss’s boss intends to replace the boss, you could be a great fit for the position and land on your feet very well off.
Researching Industries and Companies
We have covered many of the sources to locate job opening. During your search you will also want to find what companies belong to a certain target industry or learn more about a specific company prior to approaching them or before a meeting.
There are many sources of this information that you can most easily access in the reference room of the main branch of your public library. If you are looking locally, the Sorkins’ Directory will be your best source of information. If you are mounting a regional, national or international search you will need to locate the best sources of this information for your industry or profession. You may be steered toward reference works, periodicals, books or other sources depending upon your field of expertise.
One very valuable source of information will be association membership rosters that are not often found in libraries. Your network contacts should help you to identify the best and will loan you their copy or make a copy for you.
To find search firms by industry or functional specialty, consult the Directory of Executive Search Consultants, commonly called the Kennedy Red Book. IT is available online and in the reference section of the library.
The Sorkins’ Directory of Business & Government is an invaluable tool for information for eastern Missouri and southern Illinois. Sorkins also covers the Kansas City/Western Missouri and the Chicago/Northern Illinois areas. Sorkins-On-Line includes all three. No other comprehensive source of information will be as good or simple to use. But, as with anything else, you will find that there have been changes since the publication date.