[This is Step 1 in Part 2 of Job-Hunt's Online Job Search Tutorial.]
These tasks that will focus your job search activities for success.
Do NOT skip Part 1, Starting Your Job Search! Skipping the important tasks in Part 1 will not save you time. Rather, your job search will be longer than it needs to be because it won't have a solid foundation and direction.
Now you shift your focus to the real work of your job search.
At the end of Part 1, you shopped for employers. Now, focus on those employers. Your employer list can have 10, 20, 50, or more employers on it. Initially, focus on the 5 or 10 who are your top choices.
Research these employers. Visit their websites.
Learn about their products and services, their locations, their people, their plans, their finances, etc.
LinkedIn Company Profiles plus your LinkedIn Connections can be a very big help. See Job-Hunt's free Guide to Company Research for how-to information. And, of course, Google can be a big help, too (see 50 Google Searches to Avoid Layoffs and Weak Employers).
This information you find will be useful for:
Using your job search tracking system (see Step 3 of Part 2, below), and plan your job search campaign. Through your network (off-line as well as online), find the people who work at the target employer and reach out to them. Do NOT bluntly ask if they know of any jobs open, unless you know them really well. Read Job-Hunt's free Guide to Job Search Networking and Guide to LinkedIn for Job Search for more tips, and see 7 below for more resources.
With your list of target employers, focus your networking efforts on reaching them. Use your personal network, LinkedIn, Google, Twitter, and all your other sources of connections.
Data and people tell us that networking is THE way a successful job search ends for most successful job seekers. Yes, you will hear stories and know a few people who found a job through CareerBuilder or Monster. That definitely happens, but it is estimated to happen less than 10% of the time.
Every year, the # 1 way employers fill jobs is through employee referrals. An employee knows someone who would be a good fit for the employer, and they hand the resume to the hiring manager or the recruiter. The new employee lands a job, and the employee who made the referral is usually rewarded with $$$ by the employer. A win/win!
So start reaching out to your network and expand your network.If you belong to a professional association, look for a "career center" (or something similar) on the association's Website, or go to a few meetings to see if you can connect with other job seekers.
As mentioned in Part 1, without a solid LinkedIn Profile and smart activities on LinkedIn, you are at an increasing disadvantage in the job marketplace. In 2012, a Jobvite recruiting study has shown that 92% of recruiters are using LinkedIn and other social media for recruiting. Can you afford to be invisible for all those recruiters? No, you really can't.
It has been estimated that there are 80,000 Web job sites. And there are thousands of other sites that have job openings - company Web sites, professional association websites, Chamber of Commerce websites, college alumni/ae websites, etc. That's more options than you could probably use in a lifetime!
How do you navigate through all of this to your new job? Pick the ones that are best for you - that have the jobs and employers you want in the locations you want.
This is the step that ruins many opportunities - sloppy job applications and poor job interview performance based on limited preparation.
Employers are buried under with resumes and job applications for every job they post. This is why customizing your resume and cover letter for each opportunity is critical, as discussed earlier. Your focus on a limited number of employers will make the customization easier to accomplish.
For more excellent research ideas, read Job-Hunt's free Guide to Company Research. Then, check the employer's website. Again! Look for news or new announcements.
An invitation to an interview is not a guarantee of a job offer. It's an opportunity to impress the employer and to gain sufficient information to determine if the job and employer are right for you.
Be prepared to succeed by reading the articles in Job-Hunt's Guide to Successful Interviews like:
There are many more helpful articles to assist you in preparing for interviews and completing them successfully.
Follow up tells the potential employer that you really are interested in working for them.
See Job-Hunt's Pro-Active Job Search article for more ideas.
The Internet is an awesome information source, but think of it as a "tool" in your job search toolbox. You will be hired by a person who will probably want to meet you and talk with you before offering you a job. So, use the Internet's vast information resources to help you, but don't limit your efforts to this on-line world.
Reality is that the vast majority of jobs (estimated at 75% or 80% of them!) are NOT posted on a Web site or even advertised in your local newspaper. They are never advertised at all! These jobs comprise "The Hidden Job Market."
The people hired in the Hidden Job Market jobs are known to the organization before a job opportunity has been documented or, sometimes, even recognized. They are the "friends of the friends" of the hiring manager or of another employee. Don't be discouraged! You can find those jobs, and the Internet can help you get started.
Your personal network is one of the best ways to find that next job (and the job after that, and the job after that!). Read Job-Hunt's Guide to Job Search Networking and the "Tapping the Hidden Job Market" articles for ideas and information.
Millions of people are job hunting right now. We have some recommendations for how you can Stand Out From the Crowd. And, you've probably heard this message hundreds of times, because it's true, back to the first task on this page - networking is the most effective way to find a job.
Online job search expert Susan P. Joyce has been observing the online job search world and teaching online job search skills since 1995. A veteran of the United States Marine Corps and a recent Visiting Scholar at the MIT Sloan School of Management, Susan is a two-time layoff “graduate” who has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a compensation consulting firm. Since 1998, Susan has been editor and publisher of Job-Hunt.org. Follow Susan on Twitter at @jobhuntorg and on Facebook, LinkedIn.