While applying online and working with Recruiters is recommended, the ROI on these strategies tends to be lower (25%) than networking ( 75%), so use your time wisely. If you only have 10 hours/week to spend on your search, networking activities should account for 7+ hours of your efforts.
Depending on how strong your network is, you’ll want to give yourself 6 months to find the right opportunity once you have clarity on your career target. Here’s a timeline to keep you on track:
6 Months Out
– Get your materials (resume, Linked in, branding statement, etc.) aligned with your target role.
– Research and identify a list of companies (15+) in your target market.
– Build your contacts and brand consistently (e.g., add connections/get recommended on Linked In, etc.).
4 – 5 Months Out
– Research who you know at your target companies. Review your Linked In network including 2nd level connections. Set up meetings to get your foot in the door at your target companies.
– Follow company pages on social media/news sites to stay abreast of what’s happening in their world. Attend networking events where company contacts may be speaking or attending.
– Where appropriate, pass your resume along through your contacts. Be proactive about staying in touch.
– Watch for job postings and any news online that indicates your target companies are hiring in your area (e.g., mergers, expansion, etc.). Keep expanding your network.
2 – 3 Months
– Prepare for interviews by writing out answers to common questions and doing mock interviews.
– Be proactive on social media and at networking events to stay top of mind with your contacts.
– Evaluate. Are your target companies panning out or do you need to expand the list? Have you discovered new data that causes you to revise your pitch/target slightly?
– Be open to new info along the way. The best way to gain clarity is to take action, so it’s not usual to refine your search (but be careful not to change course with every piece of feedback).
1 – 2 Months
– Conduct phone screens and interviews for the roles you’re interested in.
– At this stage you should be a candidate for existing opportunities. If you’re not finding viable openings, re-evaluate your target, materials, and approach to identify potential obstacles.
0 – 1 Months
– Make final decisions about which job you’ll accept. Do your homework on company culture, future growth opportunities, and alignment with your career goals. Ask questions to make sure it’s a two-way fit.
– Negotiate the offer. Always.
– Once you have an official offer you intend to accept, gracefully decline opportunities that are “in process”.
Close down your search
– Thank your contacts for their assistance and support (even if they weren’t instrumental in helping you obtain the job you ultimately accepted). Offer to help them in the future.
– Maintain good will among your networks and continue to cultivate them. Building your connections is the hard part. Maintaining them is easier.
Lastly, be aware of situations that can lengthen the time you may need for a job transition including: relocation/change in geography, Visa/needing sponsorship, major career change/industry shift, change in level (big promotion or step back), lack of job target clarity, etc.