1. “Getting a job” may be too big of a goal for you. Instead, break the actions down into specific tasks:
a. Identifying a type of job
b. Identifying companies that hire for those jobs
c. Finding someone to connect with at 10 of those companies
d. Sending a resume to those people
e. Securing an interview with 2-3 of those companies
2. A targeted campaign (using “Direct Contact” with prospective employers) is still the most proactive method of job search to reach the “hidden” job market.
a. The three main audiences for a targeted “Direct Contact” search campaign are recruiters, venture capitalists, and companies.
b. If you want to work for a startup company (or companies that are moving from startup to “high growth”), venture capitalists are an excellent target.
c. Don’t focus your search exclusively on large companies. Most of the hiring action today is with small and mid-size companies.
d. Target growth industries. Consider the transferability of your skills between various industries and market yourself into an industry with long-term growth opportunity.
e. As part of your job search, you should send out your resume to companies who haven’t requested it (30 percent of all available positions aren’t advertised), but don’t spam them.
3. Thank you notes after an interview demonstrate you listened to the interview, you heard their issues, and you have the answers.
a. Thank you notes are an excellent tool to further highlight the skills and qualifications you bring to a specific company based upon their specific needs.
4. Application tips:
a. Follow up email applications with a mailed application. Anyone can send an email; far fewer people go the extra mile to follow up with a real letter to a real person.
b. Let it go. If the answer is “no” to your application, don’t waste your time writing more letters or making more follow-up phone calls there. You probably cannot change their mind.
c. Keep in mind that sometimes job applications are also a “test” to see how well you can follow instructions.
5. Recognize that you may make less money in your next position, at least at the beginning.
a. Forty percent of workers will make the same amount as in their last job, and 20 percent will make more. The remaining 40 percent will make less.
Success in your job search depends on articulating a clear idea of what you want; cultivating a strong, active network; and executing a focused action plan. Consistent action towards your goal will eventually yield results, but you need to figure out which tasks lead to your dream job (like expanding your personal network) and do them consistently. Success in your job search is ultimately up to you. No one else can motivate you. No one else can interview for you. You can make great things happen.