Securing a job, headhunter Nick Corcodilos says, is not about looking for a job opening, but about making connections where you want to work. Photo courtesy of Flickr user Samuel Mann.
In this special Making Sense edition of Ask The Headhunter, Nick shares insider advice and contrarian methods about winning and keeping the right job, on one condition: that you, dear Making Sense reader, send Nick your questions about your personal challenges with job hunting, interviewing, networking, resumes, job boards, or salary negotiations. No guarantees — just a promise to do his best to offer useful advice.
Question: I know someone who plans to return to work in the fall. She has been a stay-at-home mom since 2008. She is a college graduate with about two years of work experience. How do you recommend she begin her job search? She has a degree in history with a Spanish minor but is not interested in teaching.
Nick Corcodilos: Your friend could just start looking for open jobs and then apply to hundreds if not thousands of them, like most people do. Or, she could decide what work she really wants to do, then go after it with motivation and gusto. She could get a job through inside contacts, because that’s how most jobs are filled. The following tips are summarized from my PDF book, “How Can I Change Careers?”, in particular from the section titled, “The Library Vacation.”
First, she should avoid looking for a job. That’s right: Forget about jobs. Jobs come from identifying good companies, products and people. She should start making choices about these before examining any jobs: start by going to the local library’s magazines and periodicals section. She should scan business and specialty publications to find products, services and companies that motivate her. This can take a bit of time, but so does meeting your future spouse. Do it carefully and thoughtfully.
Second, she should pick a small handful of companies — no more than four or five that produce products or services she’s interested in — and research them, drilling down into each industry, company, product, technology and job function. These will be her target companies. Her objective is to learn enough to be able to talk about these intelligently.
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Third, she should start scouring the Internet for the names of people connected to these companies. Databases like LinkedIn and publications online, from the Wall Street Journal to the local newspaper, make this pretty easy. Reading about these people and about what they have to say about their work, their companies and their industries is important.