||The Myth of
The Last-Minute Job Search
By Nick Corcodilos
One of the greatest mistakes people make when job hunting is starting late. They wait
until the last minute -- when they've lost their job, or when they’re itchy to move. The earlier you start your job search,
the better prepared you will be to find the right job.
If you think you might need to find a new job within the next year, start your search
Why? First, last-minute job hunting easily leads to the wrong jobs because you’re
likely to get frantic and settle for what comes along rather than seek out the job you really want. Second, proper preparation to approach the
right companies takes time because it involves more than just reading; it requires patiently developing good inside contacts.
As a headhunter I can tell you that people make three big mistakes when they wait until
the last minute. Let's look at what these are and how you can avoid them.
on the want ads.
Replying to a want ad requires little real preparation. Consequently, it's the most popular job
hunting technique. In fact, the competition is tough and mailing (or emailing) resumes is mostly a waste of time.
Start Early. Get an edge. Avoid the competition. You've heard it said that a job was "wired" for a particular person who had an "inside
connection". You can create your own inside connections, but these take time to cultivate. Get connected and get noticed by
participating in professional associations and conferences. Ensure that others in your business (including the best headhunters)
know who you are. When you're ready to move, these are the connections that will get you in the door ahead of your competition.
When you're worried about paying the rent, it seems that almost any job will do. Taking the first
offer that comes along could be your biggest mistake. It's also one of the most common reasons people go job hunting again soon
-- they settle for any job rather than select
the right one.
Start Early. Take time to research the industry you want to work in. Learn what
problems and challenges it is facing. Then identify the best company in that industry. Why settle for less? Why join a company
just because it wants you? Join the one you want. Study that company. Establish
contacts. Take time to become an expert in their business. Rather than being just a hunter for any job, learn to be the solution
to one company's problems. That's what gets you hired.
Don't be a
job candidate -- Act like an employee!
Managers aren't looking for good job hunters. They're looking for great workers. To win a job
offer, you have to help the manager view you as an employee.
Start Early. Never walk into an interview unless you are prepared to control
it. Control means treating your job interview like a hands-on, roll-up-your-sleeves meeting where you and the manager work
together to solve a problem he or she is facing. Never wait for the manager to ask you questions. Instead, be prepared to do the job right there in the meeting -- like an employee!
If that seems daunting, consider that if you were asking for a promotion, you’d never
walk into your boss’s office and say, “Got anything you need me to do that would pay more than I’m making now?” An
interview for a new job is a special case of a request for a promotion. You must show how you will add value!
Be ready to tell the employer what project you want to work on, and be ready to show how
it would profit him if he promoted (or hired) you. In other words, invest the time it
takes to justify your request for the job.
If you're going to rely on a last-minute job search, you're relying on dumb luck. Both
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