Being a dynamic job seeker does not just mean approaching the mission with energy and enthusiasm. Those qualities are important! But there is a specific, scientific meaning to being a dynamic as opposed to a passive job hunter.
Let’s identify those two approaches. You can:
- Put your best foot forward through your resume, your profile at LinkedIn learning, and submitting them through job boards. And waiting to get called for an interview.
- Or… identify a job you are a good match for and go after it,
Let’s contrast these two approaches.
Approach #1: Posting your resume (and profile) and applying for jobs is essential. But only relying on that is a “shotgun” approach, aimed at a broad target and not as effective as a more focused approach.
Approach #2: Here you are doing everything in Approach #1, but instead of sitting around and waiting for a good job to show up in your job board search, seek out and go after a few specific jobs through creative outreach and tailoring your approach to those specific jobs.
A Focused Approach to Networking
Studies and interviews with job placement insiders – including those listed in the resources at the end of this article – make a case that approach #2 is more productive.
- “[Job seekers have a low expectation of success, so] people do a very defensive job search, and by that I mean they’re job searching not for success but for stats: how many resumes did you submit today? how many hours did you spend? To me, that’s devastating because people are trying to win social proof through their efforts rather than actually be successful — they know [online job postings] are black holes, but they just don’t know what else to do.” (Articles — The 2-Hour Job Search)
- “'As a career coach, I strive to teach right-tech rather than high-tech. For example, I can't stress enough the importance of connecting to the right people in a job search. Develop a list of employers you are interested in and try to find people in those places who might help you.” (If You Wouldn't Eat Cereal With a Fork, Why Would You Use Social Media for a Job Search? )
- “A focused job search lands jobs in a fraction of the time. It may seem counterintuitive, but it’s true. ...employers are looking for you to fulfill a specific function within their operations perfectly… (A Successful Job Search is a Focused One).
- “Targeting and focusing your job search can eliminate the stress of mass mailings and the waiting game. Rather than focusing your time and effort on getting as many resumes out as possible, targeting specific industries, companies, or areas helps in identifying positions that you qualify for and are interested in.” (5 Tips for a More Focused, Targeted Job Search).
- “When looking for a job you cannot afford to focus on more than one specific area of opportunity.” (The Secret to Focusing Your Job Search)
And, if you think about it, there’s a logic to the dynamic approach. What have you to got to lose? If an employer finds you through the standard routine of matching your skills to their requirements and sets up an interview, you haven’t lost anything (and if that interview is with a job you want, then you definitely want to focus your preparation on that one job!).
The basic concept behind dynamic job networking is: work backwards. Once you have your basic profile set up on LinkedIn, start searching job boards for positions with a location and pay range that match your expectations and needs, and then find a way to apply for them.
There are many online resources and networking tools that can serve this approach, but the one we will focus on is Glassdoor.
Glassdoor has carved out a unique niche in the job networking universe. While it offers conventional tools for posting resumes and searching for open jobs, its greatest value is in the insights it offers into actual jobs based on reviews posted by current and former employees. You might call it the Yelp of job networking.
Among the tools available at Glassdoor:
- Millions of reviews of specific jobs including salaries and candid discussion of company culture, benefits, working environment, and demands.
- Specific pictures of required skills.
- Reports from people who interviewed for jobs on the questions asked and what they learned from the interviews.
- A tool called Know Your Worth, which gives a personalized salary estimate based on individual factors like experience and location.
Signing up at Glassdoor is a unique process. You join by posting a review of a job you have or had. There are no rules on what kind of a job you post a review of, so if you had a part-time job at a fast-food restaurant in high school, you can review that to open up the opportunity to access reviews of jobs as a coder or designer.
Learn About Companies
Researching a company with an appealing job posting accomplishes several things. First, you learn about whether you want to work for the company. Second, you get insights into how to promote yourself when you apply for a position at the company. And, finally, if you land an interview, you can come with an impressive indication of your interest and knowledge about the company and some thoughtful and informed questions to ask your interviewer.
A good first stop is the company or institution’s website. Of course that experience will only expose you to the good side of the company, but that’s important to know.
Next step, head over to Glassdoor and read reviews from people who work there.
Prepare for Interviews
Let’s jump ahead in the process. Once a company takes interest in you, the next step is an interview. Here, too, the best strategy is to be proactive, to do everything you can to prepare for the interview.
You’ll find plenty of advice for how to interview successfully online. One helpful resource is 13 Tips for a Successful Interview.
But don’t stop there. Prepare for an interview for a specific job by studying reports on interviews posted at Glassdoor. You can search for interview questions by company, and read real-life experience to learn what led to success (hiring) and what did not.
Small companies might only have a handful of interview reports, and what you learn from those might not be based on sufficient data to be that meaningful. But large companies have thousands of interview reports, filterable by position. Study them. Reflect on them. Practice answering the questions you see before your interview.
Dynamic Job Networking Step by Step
Dynamic job networking is a method, not a recipe. That said, let’s explore one possible pathway to a job using the basic approach of a dynamic, active approach to working networking tools.
- Identify a single most-preferred job in your field, area, and salary range through searches at job boards, through LinkedIn, or through other means.
- Research the company online
- Identify personnel in the area of our preferred job.
- Reach out to them through LinkedIn messaging with a request to do 10-minute Zoom interview to learn more about what they do.
- Research the job at Glassdoor.
- Identify skills required.
- Identify features of company culture to emphasize.
- Craft and submit a customized resume.
- Review and if necessary tweak your LinkedIn Portfolio to emphasize skills and values identified in Glassdoor research.
- Write a cover letter exhibiting a knowledge of and specific desire to assist in the company’s objectives.
- Solicit recommendations from instructors or previous employers referencing the specific skills you are emphasizing in your customized resume.
- When contacted for an interview, study interview reports at Glassdoor, practice answering interview questions with a partner (or by yourself) verbally.
- After the interview, if you do not get the job, follow up with appreciation for the interview, what you learned, and ask for feedback.
- The book The 2-Hour Job Search is an influential and provocative guide to using the tools available through online networking to focus on one or a few jobs. The book sells for under $5, and you can read a revealing blog posted by someone who followed the steps in the book.
- WhoYouKnow.org is a resource for leveraging "social capital' to help under-employed young people find tech jobs. They have a whole playbook for helping students make connections.
- Guide to Coding Bootcamps with Job Guarantees documents the requirements that different institutions that offer money-back guarantees apply to job hunters. Studying them is a useful way to learn effective job networking techniques.
- 10 Career Experts Share Their #1 Piece of Job Search Advice shares advice that generally conforms to the focused approach we advocate in this article.
- Search job boards to find jobs that match your skills, objectives, pay and location requirements and maintain a professional, impressive profile at LinkedIn. But don’t stop there.
- Rather than taking a “shotgun” approach to job networking, identify and focus on one or a few jobs.
- Reach out to possible connections to your target job, customize your resume and cover letter, and—if contacted for an interview—prepare by using online research resources and Glassdoor in particular.