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Job searches are a lot more public than they used to be. Years ago we would scour the job ads in the newspaper and mail our resumes - no one knew we were job searching except for the person who received our resume. Now we have social media and online forums and potentially a LOT of people will know we're job searching. This increased exposure brings advantages and disadvantages:
A successful job search doesn't need to be completely covert, but if you do plan to job search publicly, here are some tips to consider:
DO give the impression that you're in control of your situation.
DON'T give the impression that you're desperate.
Companies want to hire top performers who have a consistent record of success. These peak players are always in control. If they're employed, it's because they want to be with that company. If they're unemployed, it's because they chose to leave their last employer and pursue other opportunities. If they've been unemployed for awhile, it's because they chose to do some contract work or consulting in the meantime. They show no sign of desperation or lack of confidence - they're merely deciding which direction to take next.
The truth is, none of us are always in control. Sometimes we get laid off, fired, or we quit. Sometimes we're victims of the economy, sometimes we're victims of our own foolishness. Regardless, you can't give the impression that you consider yourself a victim. You cannot plead for a job. You cannot appear desperate. If you do, the recruiter will wonder why no one else will hire you.
DO put something like "6 years' experience as a top-ranked store manager with Best Buy and Staples" in your LinkedIn headline.
DON'T put "Seeking a position in retail management" in your LinkedIn headline.
Many people suggest making it clear in your profile that you're looking for a job. I disagree for two reasons:
One, broadcasting the fact that you're looking for a job has a ring of desperation about it, whether we want it to or not. The fact that we need to put it front and center on our profile only adds to the perception that our job search has not gone well. Why has it struggled? Well, readers may assume it's because our experience and skills aren't in high demand.
Two, recruiting isn't about rounding up all the unemployed people and picking the best from that pool, it's about sourcing qualified candidates regardless of whether they're currently employed. After all, people change employers all the time, so most recruiters aren't going to limit themselves to those who can start immediately. Therefore, no need to broadcast that you're looking.
DO find recruiters (internal and third-party) to network with.
DON'T wait for recruiters to find you.
There are two types of job search strategies - assertive and passive. Assertive job searching means identifying where you'd like to work, researching employers, finding contacts, networking, and positioning yourself as the best candidate for the next available opportunity. It's about going after what you want, and putting the effort in to succeed.
Passive job searching is more about getting "a" job, rather than "the" job. Nothing wrong with that - at times we all just need a job, and we need it fast. But it rarely ends up being "the" job that we've always wanted. Passive job searching means putting out a sign that says "I'm here and I need a job" and waiting for the offers to trickle in.
If you want "the" job, take an assertive approach and find recruiters instead of waiting for them to find you. Check out my 5-step guide to targeted job searching in retail for tips.
DO continue to give to your network.
DON'T make it all about you.
Nothing will turn your network against you more quickly than making every post about you and your needs. Building and nurturing a network means giving to that network, and that means support, recommendations, advice, likes, shares, and feedback. Share your wealth of knowledge and help others whenever you can.
DO stay positive at all times.
DON'T vent about your job search publicly.
There is no doubt that an extended job search can be stressful, but it's critically important to not show that stress to the world. Phone or email a confidante if you need to vent your frustration, but don't air it publicly to your network. Your reputation may be at risk and that can be hard to repair.
So much about job searching relies on perception and first impressions. When you're job searching publicly through social media, remember that you're always "on stage" and what you leave up there can be seen by anyone. Make it your very best.