Implementing a proactive job-seeking strategy allows you to take advantage of job opportunities that are not public. Often, job positions are not advertised, yet pitching them puts ahead of your peers. Additionally, some managers may see in you the skills and abilities that perfectly match their needs, without even knowing they are looking for a candidate like you. In any case, sending out your resume and contacting the company of your dreams shows a person of initiative and a determined job seeker.
Steps for a successful proactive job search
In a proactive job search, there are certain steps that you need to follow in order to be able to land the job you are seeking for. Especially, in a highly competitive field like the Accounting & Finance sector, it can make a great difference if you are proactive instead of waiting for a job offer to come your way through job boards, friends’ suggestions and/or recruiters.
- Identify the companies you like
First, you need to identify the companies that you would like to work for. Why do you want to work for company X and not for company Z? What are the factors that affect your preference? A higher salary? A better reputation? A larger firm? Ask yourself these questions and then identify which companies meet these criteria. Make a list of your favorite companies and talk to your friends and colleagues about them. See what they think about these organizations and which they recommend.
- Research the companies that interest you
Visit each company’s website and check out the About Us section to get information about the company history, mission, vision and overall positioning. Additionally, go to the News section to read all the latest announcement and headlines about the company. Visit LinkedIn and search for each company you are interested in as well as for similar companies that you may not know, but they might be of your preference in the long run. Use the LinkedIn Job Search tool to improve your search and talk to online recruiters about your endeavors. Alternatively, you can use Vault.com and Glassdoor.com – both job boards provide anonymous reviews for a range of companies covering salary and management issues. If you understand the company’s objectives, it will be easier to determine if this is an organization you would really like to join. In the long-run, if you land an interview at the company, it will be evident that you have done your research about the company.
- Contact people from the inside
Proactive job seekers are typically contacting people who have worked for the companies of interest to get additional information about their target employers. Contact your friends, family, former colleagues, anyone who can offer some extra detail about the organization(s) you are interested in applying in order to identify appropriate job opportunities and get your resume submitted. You may also use these people as referrals when applying to the company – hiring managers and recruiters love to see a connection between a prospect employee and a former or a current employee. Moreover, studies show that someone who is referred to the company by another employee is usually someone who will onboard faster and will stay longer in the company than a traditional hire.
- Contact hiring managers
After having identified the companies you would like to work for, you need to find people who work there. Use LinkedIn to find the hiring manager and the hiring staff in the area you are interested in working at. You may contact them directly or join the groups they follow so that you have a common interest to talk about when contacting them. You may even follow and participate in group discussions. This will allow you to show your expertise, but also realize what these hiring managers are looking for. Once you follow these steps, you can introduce yourself by reaching out to the hiring manager of the company you are interested in. Briefly, describe your background and let them know what you have to offer and why you could be a great match to their corporate needs.
All in all, a proactive job search requires patience and discipline. A hiring manager may schedule a meeting with you only because they are intrigued by your resume, although they are not ready to hire immediately. So, take the steps required to capitalized on a targeted search rather than waiting for a job offer to come out of the blue. Just be careful not to over-apply, especially for “why-not” positions. This is a lose-lose situation, both for you and the hiring manager.
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