Since writing about the “candidate market” we’re currently in we’ve seen multiple people get offers that were 20% or more above their current salary (well above average so results may vary!). Plenty of people are taking advantage of the hot market to improve their situation. Yet, others wonder where in the world they get the time to job search.
Career management doesn’t have to be all or nothing. It shouldn’t be. It shouldn’t be “actively job searching” or nothing at all. With a little time spent up front it can be a smooth, ongoing process.
But, you’re really busy. You’re making good enough money. You’re content and you know your job really well at this point. You probably even have a family. I get it. My wife and I both work full time jobs. We have 2 young boys, 3 and 1. You have very little free time. The last thing you want to do in that rare few minutes of peace and quiet is update a resume (easy to use resume template I created just for you) or look for a new job. It’s not as daunting and time consuming as you might think. And, I’m here to help!
Follow these 5 steps and you will hear about more opportunities:
- Spend time reflecting. Did that sound as cheesy reading it as it did typing it? Regardless, reflecting first will allow you to focus the next 4 steps on the right information and people. Consider what you’ve done, where you’d like to be in the future and what you might need to do to get there. The higher level you get, the more intentional you need to be with your career
- Update your LinkedIn Profile. Some of you get more LinkedIn InMails than you’d like. The reality is a lot of people get new opportunities from being contacted on LinkedIn. Having an updated profile will attract attention. You’ll start hearing from hiring managers, corporate recruiters and executive recruiters like myself. Some recruiters take advantage and spam people on LinkedIn. Always a few bad apples. It’s worth deleting or ignoring those messages to potentially hear about a great opportunity. Updating your LinkedIn profile should take less than an hour.
- Invest time networking. Not the happy hours where you hand out business cards to strangers that are mostly sales people. Create a short list of colleagues, mentors and bosses that you respect and have been successful. Reach out and ask if you can buy them a coffee or beer sometime. At the very least, reconnect with them even if just to say hi and check in. Part of hearing about good opportunities is coming to mind when someone else knows about an opportunity. Meeting with old colleagues once a quarter or so can help keep you top of mind.
Tip 1: This shouldn’t purely be a “what can I get out of this” approach. You never know when you might be able to help one of your colleagues with a contact or resource. I read a great book called the “The Go-Giver”. It follows the old proverb “Give and you shall receive”.
Tip 2: Losing touch with old colleagues, mentors and bosses is actually one of the biggest regrets I hear from people. When in a safe job for an extended period of time it’s easy to lose touch. Everybody’s busy. I’ve talked with a lot of people over the years that found themselves in an active job search and realized they needed to get back in touch with people they hadn’t talked to in years. Make it a priority before you actually need their help. Thank me later.
- Get to know a good recruiter. Recruiters don’t work on every available job. But we work on our fair share. Some of which are posted elsewhere, many that aren’t. Keeping in touch with a good recruiter accomplishes a few things:
- You will hear about opportunities you would otherwise never know about. Even if you don’t look into each opportunity presented to you, at a minimum you are getting a feel for what you are qualified for and where you fit into the market. If a good recruiter is calling you, decent chance that’s the level of position and pay range that makes sense. Especially if you hear about 3 or 4 positions and they’re all around the same level and pay range. The market talks, you just have to listen.
- Let someone else be your bird dog. You’re busy. Let a good recruiter do the leg work. Leverage our relationships and the information we have. We know the companies with good reputations, companies with less than stellar reputations, what type of positions you are most qualified for, which ones will help with your career goals and which positions won’t. You don’t have to agree with everything a recruiter tells you but we do have a lot of information. Take advantage. A good recruiter isn’t your only resource but should be one of the tools you utilize and leverage.
- Review your social media accounts. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter or things I’ve never heard of, review to see if there is any information or pictures you wouldn’t want seen by an executive or potential employer. Recruiters and potential employers do check social media accounts. I do. If I can’t meet you in person right away I’m searching on FB to see if I can find you. That’s right. Now you know.
You’re all set! Looks like about an hour of time to invest up front reflecting and updating your LinkedIn profile. Networking is an ongoing process that will include a few lunches, coffees or beers each quarter. Quick social media review. Follow these steps and I’m confident you will hear about more opportunities. The point isn’t that you’ll act on every opportunity you hear about. But it’s helpful to know what’s available. Are you consistently hearing about positions that pay well above what you make? Below? What types of positions do you typically get called about? And you just never know when one might pique your interest. Better to know and say no than not know at all!
It’s easy to be all or nothing with career related efforts. If you’re willing to invest a minimal amount of time, these 5 steps will pay off in the long run. I’ve seen it time and time again. If you have any questions please let me know!