Making a Job Search Work

In last week's post I outlined a primer for writing an expert resume as an integral part of a job search.  A resume is one asset (of a few) that needs to be honed and kept at the ready as it is part of the choreography between different efforts and stages in any job search.  But, the resume is neither the beginning nor the end to a successful job search.

It is important for a job seeker to understand that the process they must go through to find a job that is a great fit involves much more than their resume serendipitously landing on a hiring manager's desk (leading directly to amazement and a phone call).  Making a job search work requires two things that many people short-change or look to a short cut:  Effort and time.

The job search/recruiting journey involves a great deal of effort on both sides of the hiring process, as well as time for that effort to take effect.  As we take a closer look at the high-level stages of the job seeking process we see that finding a great job requires connecting with great people and demonstrating to them how you are a great fit.  And yes, a great resume will help this along.  But, there is much more involved.  A job seeker must put forth an effort and allow time for their effort to compound and take effect.

Depending on the type of work and the level of experience, the job-seeking process can involve six phases.  The most important of those is the first as it is the connective effort that brings about the possibility of the following phases:


Connecting with and engaging people.  This may sound rather analog in our 21st century digital job search world, but the most effective way to find your next job does not start with your resume.  Making contacts of interest that are solid enough to invite a request for a resume, or at the very least have an unsolicited resume land on an actual person's desk and have it read, is the first best first step.  Networking is about engaging with people you know, and who you would like to know.  There is an aspirational element to good networking and getting yourself in front of new and different people who can connect you to new paths.

Company Research

There are two routes to get to this stage:  1. You had a few good conversations that have resulted in a "here's my email, shoot me your resume" response, or 2. you found a company with an opening you are interested in, and for which you genuinely believe you would be a good fit.  Now you must become an expert on that company and the role (as best you can).  Learn who to contact (and perhaps what makes them tick) and generate a bespoke cover letter and resume targeted at the role demonstrating in no uncertain terms why you are the ideal candidate.  This will give you context and confidence down the line when it really counts.


Finally we get to that well-crafted prose that tells your tale.  You must tweak your resume and deeply customize your cover letter to highlight key points about your experience and skills that are transferable and invaluable to the role for which you are applying.  These together make up your elevator pitch and supporting credentials on paper.  Do this well to help yourself to the next round.


These days interviewing comes in many forms and methods.  Expect a phone screen with HR, with the hiring manager, or a member of the team you are trying to get hired on to (or all three).  Skype video calls are becoming more common, as well.  Pass that bar and you will likely be set up with an on-site interview at the company.  On site interviews have their own spectrum of intensity.  On the light end you may interview with the hiring manager, their manager, and one or two folks from the team.  An industrial strength interview may entail a grueling 10-hour day of eight interviews with 10 people from all over the organization (and a lunch you have to talk through, along with a couple tests or cases to work through).  Whatever the case, your resume is often the jumping-off point to deep-dive down an interviewer's rabbit hole.  Stay calm and carry on.  Take time to think and do not fill a quiet moment with excess words.

Round II (an optional extra)

That 10-hour interview grinder (that was so intense you had to have your suit dry-cleaned) not enough?  It may turn out that Roberto and Tallulah were out of town (on that big Whatever Roadshow before the It's So Amazing product release) and the hiring manager would really like for you to meet them, for a little more feedback.  Print off a couple more resumes, smile, and repeat after me:  I am interested in this role because...

The Offer / Return To Go

If you worked your magic by being prepared, on-point, and demonstrated your best qualities from A through E, and you were deemed a "right fit", then your search is done.  You will have another line to add to your resume, and a new body of work to track and keep updating as your career progresses.  But, if it was not in the cards for you then it is onward with your networking and keeping your job search assets polished and ready to deploy at a moment's notice.  Do not expect direct feedback on your interview.  It is rare that hiring managers extend such a courtesy.  Take it for what it was:  An opportunity for more experience.  Continue to hone your message and maintain your confidence.