How to conduct a thorough job search with less effort

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We sometimes stay in a job that we don’t like longer than necessary because we feel that the process of finding a new job is daunting. With the busy lives we lead that include family obligations, social activities and hobbies, we feel as though we can’t add one more thing to our plate.

If you feel this way, know that you are not alone. By following these steps, you will see that you can conduct an effective job search with a lot less effort than you think.

Prepare your tools

You will need to invest some time up front to prepare the key tools for your job search.

You can check out my previous articles for guidance and I would also recommend checking out my article on salary negotiation to prepare your salary bracket.

Block off an initial chunk of time over a weekend or two and get your tools updated and ready to go. You will be able to use your future job searching time more effectively. Also, if you get an early lead from a contact in your network or an agency, you will be able to have a quick turnaround time.

Where to search

These days, the recruitment solutions market has become highly competitive. Each solution is trying to find a faster and more effective way to deliver candidates to companies. How this benefits you is that there are more options and easier application processes so that you can apply for many jobs in a lot less time.

Sites such as Indeed, Glassdoor and LinkedIn have email notifications and apps that deliver new jobs straight to your inbox or your phone/tablet – all you have to do is set up your parameters and the opportunities will flow to you.

I would also recommend setting aside some time each week – maybe an hour or two – to comb through and actively look on these sites as well as other job boards. While the apps and notifications work well, you don’t want to miss out on any great opportunities that could be just poorly categorized or contain irregular keywords.

Finally, you want to make a list of target employers that hire for your profession. Set yourself the goal of making a list of 10 employers. While this may seem like a lot, it forces you to get creative and think outside the box. You will for sure know the top two or three companies in your field, so that’s a good place to start. What about consulting? Have you considered colleges/universities? What about the public sector? Are there any start-ups or online businesses that are hiring? Thinking outside your normal comfort zone will increase the numbers on your list quickly. Lastly, if you go on LinkedIn and search for people who have a similar title as yours, this will open up your scope of potential employers even further. If you have done all these steps, you will see that you are already at or past 10 employers on your list. Way to go!

Now that you have your list, check out each company’s website and set yourself up in their applicant tracking system. Many companies have a way for applicants to submit their candidacy even if there are no current vacancies. This way, they will have your information in their database and you will be notified when a vacancy becomes available. While many companies have this kind of system, many don’t. Do not be discouraged. Keep checking back every few weeks or so and stay alert in case you see the employer advertising vacancies on other platforms like Indeed or LinkedIn or if they will be in attendance at any upcoming networking activities.

Working with a recruitment agency or a headhunter

You will often hear the terms recruitment agency and headhunter used interchangeably, but their functions are quite distinct and they cater to different segments of the market.

Generally speaking, a recruitment agency amasses a larger volume of candidates by advertising vacancies or hosting open houses. They service their clients by providing a steady stream of candidates. A headhunter is different in that they do research in the market to find candidates for a confidential position that and contact people directly to present a small, highly specialized group of candidates to their clients.

I will have an article next week that will do a deeper dive into which is right for you and how to work with them, but for the moment know that they are a viable option for connecting you with employers but their role is not to do the work and find a job for you. I would strongly recommend doing all the steps outlined above in addition to working with a recruitment agency or headhunter.

Networking events: the caveat

Networking events are another potential option, although there are some downsides that may make them a big time investment with little reward.

Many people have a hard time getting value out of networking because their goal is to find someone to hire them instead of offering a value proposition. The mindset for successful networking is “What am I going to this event to give?” If you have a small business and want to collaborate with other small businesses or if you want to keep in touch with folks from your industry, then they are usually hours well spent. Otherwise, especially if your time is limited, you may be better off spending two hours working on the options that have already been discussed as opposed to spending those hours awkwardly sipping a cocktail.

I am not trying to tell you that networking is bad. What I am trying to communicate is that if you go, be sure to manage your expectations. You might meet contacts and you might hear of leads. Check your motives before heading out the door.

While there are countless ways of finding a new job, these are some tried and true methods to land a new job without feeling overwhelmed or having it take over your life. With an initial time investment then consistent, structured efforts, you will land a great new job before you know it.