With all the job search activities a job seeker has to do in this employment marketplace to conduct a successful job search, it can easily become overwhelming.
Submitting resumes to job postings, going to networking events, reaching out to your contacts and introducing yourself to new people at target companies—and we have not even included social media interactions, interview preparation and many other actions. It’s enough to make your head spin, if you let it.
Through my years of recruiting and job search consulting, I have boiled all of the activity down to one real job search activity metric that needs to be tracked. Tracking this metric each week provide a litmus test for you to determine if all of your social media interactions, in-person venues, online research time and phone activity is purposefully focused or just plain busy work. You ask, “What is this one metric, Lisa?”
The metric to track is:
How many conversations are you having each week with people that can help you with your job search?
(to be clear, I define a ‘conversation’ as a back-and-forth dialogue about your job search among two or more people that can happen over the phone, in person or in email.)
Yes, that’s it. That is what all of this activity comes down to, in my opinion.
The number of conversations per week in an active job search can vary based on the person’s situation—but I would say any active search with less than 5-10 conversations will experience slow progress. Ask yourself, is all of this social media posting, resume submission, networking event attending, coffee meeting, lead generation, online research and blog writing activity getting you qualitative conversations with the right people who will lead you to getting hired?
I pose this question to job seekers often. This is often the pivotal point missing from the job search when people are experiencing lackluster results and bordering on job search burnout. Diagnostic conversations I have with frustrated job seekers who are not seeing results can often go like this:
Job Seeker: I am spending 10-30 hours a week on my job search and I am not receiving many (or any) calls for job interviews. I am getting really frustrated.
Me: What activities are you doing for your job search?
Job Seeker: I do all this research on line for jobs and I have submitted to over 150+ job postings over the last three months. I have received 2 phone calls for interviews and I am frustrated.
Me: How many conversations have you had with people at the companies or people who can introduce you to hiring managers are these companies during the course of those 150+ submissions?
Job Seeker: Well, I do not really talk to anyone at the companies directly at this point. I hope they call me when I submit my resume… I mainly submit through job postings and attend job seeker support groups.
Me: Are you speaking to contacts that are employed, as well? Are you asking your network at these events you attend who they know at those companies to help you gain an introduction?
Job Seeker: Not really. In hindsight, I am asking if they know of open jobs that I can apply to….
You see it all comes back to the conversations you are having to gauge if the activities you are doing are moving your job search forward. Here are other ideas to help you audit your effectiveness:
- Are you posting on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter but not getting much from it? What do your profiles look like when people find you? When was the last time you reached out to a person from these mediums to speak on the phone or meet for coffee in a public place? Use social medium as a gateway to conversations.
- Not see much activity after a networking event? Are you following up properly after a networking event with people who can provide you introductions or be a conduit to other influencers? The job you find probably won’t come directly from the networking event—you need to follow up with people after the event to find those gold nuggets.
- Are you researching for hours? Feeling like you are not getting anywhere? Ask yourself how many outbound calls or emails to PEOPLE did you make/send as a result of that research. Sending emails to job postings does not count as communication activity. People hire people…so reach out to people and track it accordingly.
- Submitting to job postings? I wouldn’t say stop, but for each submission you make, spend time finding a possible hiring manager to introduce yourself to and/or find contacts that can help you with an introduction to the firm.
The goal of all your job search activity is to generate conversations that advance your job search. Ask yourself before your next job search action, “How is this going to help me chat with a person about my search?” to help you stay focused on the right activities to pursue.
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Lisa Rangel and The Chameleon Team are the only executive resume writing, LinkedIn profile development, and job landing consultancy who has been hired by LinkedIn and recognized by Forbes. Our 4-Stage META Job Landing System stems from decades of corporate and executive recruiting experience to position you to land your next 6-figure role faster.