3. Expand your network purposefully.
Seek out new contacts designed to get you in touch with hiringdecision makers likely to have access to the job leads you want. Try finding inside contacts through your alumni network and business and social networking websites, and by searching for names of top executives and managers on corporate websites, in business directories and trade publications. You can also try contacting vendors and consultants you've worked with in the past to see if they know anyone at the firms you're targeting. If those efforts aren't panning out, don't underestimate the power of cold-calling.
The more active you get on the networking scene by joining professional associations and attending conferences, for example, the greater your chances of meeting someone with a direct or indirect connection to one of your target employers. The goal of this networking is to establish connections with employees inside the companies you're targeting who can tell you about potential job opportunities, put you in touch with hiring managers and eventually vouch for your qualifications. The hiring manager is ultimately the one who can restructure an organization to accommodate a new staff member and reconfigure a budget to add personnel, and who is aware of future plans and secret challenges that need to be addressed when the right resources are available at the right cost.
Another way to draw connections to you and to get yourself noticed is to participate in appropriate online forums, get active in the blogosphere and write articles for trade publications. It takes thorough and creative research to identify those who need to know you, but it is well worth the effort in order to get connected to individuals with access to new job leads that meet your search criteria.
4. Follow up.
A critical step in the job-search process is following up on all relevant connections. Don't expect an immediate response from people; wait a respectful amount of time (three to seven days) to give them a chance to get in touch with you. If you don't hear from them, initiate a second contact to make sure they received your call or e-mail.
If you're still not getting an answer, wait a month and try again. Give an opportunity enough time and circumstances may be more favorable at a later date. Polite persistence does pay off. It demonstrates your sincere interest in them and will usually produce an acknowledgement. It just requires your time, so you have to decide which contacts to pursue and which do not merit further effort. Replace connections that have been exhausted with a fresh contact so as to keep expanding your network.
Debra Feldman is a nationally recognized expert who designs and personally implements swift, strategic and customized senior-level, executive job-search campaigns. Contact her at www.JobWhiz.com.
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