I thought long and hard before writing this particular blog post. Why’s that?

It’s no secret that I have been in the market for a senior public relations job for seven months and counting, but to no avail. Yes, I am becoming more encouraged with each passing day but I have still not been able to land that lucrative position.

If I write to other job seekers about what I have learned, what seems to be working and what is not, is this in effect a case of the Blind Leading the Blind? I will let you decide.

One thing is certain: My cell phone keeps ringing, the e-mails keep coming, and ditto for text messages. There is every reason to believe that we are in the midst of a choppy recovery in which the jobs will eventually follow. So what are the best strategies (and conversely what are the worst) to reach pay dirt?

Everyone in the PR profession learned very early, “It’s not what you know, but whom you know.” That mantra still holds true and therefore you need to network, network and network. You are thinking ‘Tell me something that I don’t know.’

Try this one out for size. How many letters can you reasonably send out to your network before they become noise and the digital equivalent of elevator music? From my experience, the number is three spread over six months. You have to assume at that point everyone knows you are on the make for a new job.

So once you have built and communicated to your network, what are the strategies that you should adopt? What I am about to recommend has been validated by a series of recruiters and HR pros that I have befriended in the last few months (not necessarily in ascending or descending order).

● Keep your financial house in order before you are laid off or worse. You have no real estimate how long you will be in the unemployment wilderness. Every dollar is a friend, and you need all the friends that you can get. This is no time to have mounting credit card bills or car payments. Financial pressure just adds to your angst about finding a job, and may even prompt you to take the first offer that becomes available whether it is the right fit for your career path or not.

● Consistent with financial strength is the flexibility to move to other markets quickly, if a senior position becomes available. I wonder how many consider this factor when moving into a more expensive neighborhood. How many are now trapped in houses that are worth less than their mortgages? Being geographically flexible can shorten your search as you have more markets and thus more job opportunities to compete and win.

● Besides financial strength, there is physical strength and stamina. You can’t search for a job all day. What do you do with the extra time? This is the time for constructive work on ‘you’ the individual. Your outlook will be enhanced if you get yourself in the best shape of your life. This is the time for constructive activities such as resistance training and aerobics, not destructive habits, such as drugs, tobacco and alcohol.

●You should wake up at a time consistent with going to a normal place of work (subtracting commute time) and remember to dress for success. Since many shops are business casual, you should dress the same for your home office. Your professionalism counts now more than ever.

● Forget about applying online via company websites, which are cyber never-never lands. Find out who is the hiring manager and send your CV and cover letter directly to that person. Don’t just attach your cover letter, but actually cut-and-paste it into your e-mail. Trust me, they will see it, and if impressed, will forward your credentials to the HR Department to get the ball rolling.

● Utilize LinkedIn.com as a major social media job hunting tool. If you are going to chat with a recruiter, an HR rep or better yet, a hiring manager, then use LinkedIn.com to learn everything about them in advance . . . Where did they go to school? How long have they been with the company? What has been their career path? After your conversation with them, send them not only a thank you note but an invitation to be a LinkedIn.com connection.

● Speaking of LinkedIn.com connections, scour your growing list of connections and your connections’ connections to explore and expand your universe. There are people out there wanting to help you, go find them. As one very wise person once said: “A stranger is a friend, whom you have not met.”

● LinkedIn.com should also be used as your personal website address or one of your websites. Upload your photo, your references (superiors, colleagues, clients and subordinates) and your PowerPoint presentations. Hiring managers only need one click and within seconds they will double, triple or quadruple their knowledge about you. One recruiter looked at my photo and she asked, “Do you work out?” She made my day.

● Start a blog and be religious about it. Almost DailyBrett https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/ has given me the opportunity to market yours truly without directly marketing yours truly. After writing one of these blogs, I immediately let my social media network via Twitter.com, LinkedIn.com, Facebook.com and the professional online groups know about my blog. If a blog is well written (and hopefully this one qualifies), it gives hiring managers insights into your creativity and command of the written word. It also demonstrates that you get it when it comes to social media, which is growing in importance with companies and organizations with each passing day.

● Even though searching for a job is a relentless process, requiring tons of investigative work, and it can be discouraging at times, you should remember that at some point you will be nostalgic for this time of family, no commutes, reading novels, watching CNBC, running off to the gym, taking short trips, working in the garden. This may sound counterintuitive, but you should enjoy your search and have full confidence in what the future holds for you.

Advertisements