Choosing the Best Path to Your Next Job
September 26, 2022
What does making progress in your job search really mean? Here are three options for you to choose from:
- You have attended a lot of interviews
- You’ve made it to the second and third round of many interviews
- Each week, more people know what you are looking for and you have visibility within your targeted company even though there isn’t a job opening.
Most job seekers would choose 1 or 2 from that list. They believe the interviews are the key sign of progress. They are feeling optimistic about moving through the interview process because the interview went over 15 minutes, the interviewer liked their responses, or they told you someone would be calling you to move to the next round.
That makes sense! When you can see something, you can visualize you doing that job and you are hopeful about getting an offer.
Unfortunately, looking for a job is much more complicated than applying online and walking through the interview process. If you want just any job, you’re probably right. But if you want to like your job, and if you look at your next job as just one step in your long, successful career, then it isn’t that simple.
There are three pathways job seekers can use to find the right job. Which pathway are you using?
Most job seekers are applying for jobs online. They’re seeking roles they believe they are qualified to do. Either they have the skills outlined in the job description, or they have some of them and are confident that, with some training by the company, they can get up to speed quickly. They supply a cover letter and a resume. Then they wait…. and wait… and wait. Sometimes they hear back, but they often don’t.
Some job seekers look for jobs within companies where they know someone. They start by finding jobs online, but then their second step is to identify someone they know (or someone that someone they know knows) and asking or a referral. Ideally, the referrer knows the hiring manager and passes on their resume, which increases the chance of hearing back and getting a screening interview.
Few people take this third path. It involves developing relationships within your targeted list of companies and roles. You get to know people who can give you information about your industry, and the skills and qualifications needed for the role you are seeking. Hiring managers get to know you beyond your resume, and it increases the chance that you’ll learn about an open role before it’s put out into the public. Because you are now a known entity and have built a nice rapport with the hiring manager, you have an increased chance of getting an interview and getting the job.
Think about it: If you had an opening in your department, would you rather hire someone you’ve already met or someone you need to get to know.
Looking back at these three pathways:
In pathway #1, you aren’t doing enough. You’re starting way back at the end of the line, where thousands of other people are in line with you. You’re largely invisible, and you’re leading on luck to get that job.
Pathway #2 has a better chance of working than #1. Now you’re in the middle of the line. There are still a lot of people there, though not as many as in pathway #1. It is a big help that you’re coming in through a referral in the company. In essence, you are leaning on your referrer’s credibility. It makes you a bit more of a known quantity.
I have to say though – the biggest problem with both #1 and #2 is that you’re basing your search on what is already available. You’re taking what you’re interested in doing and fitting it into the cookie-cutter jobs that are being publicized.
That’s where pathway #3 really differs. When you are taking this route, you are starting with your interests and finding the job that fits you. When you get to know the hiring manager ahead of the job opening, you’re leaning on your own credibility.
Looking for a job is not easy. More than likely, you have used pathway #1 or #2. My question for you is this: Have they led you to a job that you love and a company where you really fit?
If your answer is no, then maybe it’s time to try a new approach. You can get started right now by downloading my free guide: The Secret to Getting to the Front of the Line.
What if you could find out about job openings before they were posted?
Download the guide, The Secret to Getting to the Front of the Line, and learn how to access the hidden job market.