Better Job Hunting in 7 Steps


As my graduate students @hultbiz near their graduation, I thought I’d share some practical ideas about finding a great job that I’ve be sharing piecemeal with them as they’ve asked:

  1. Build and actively manage your professional network. This is more than just going to job fairs. With apps like Meetup and incredible events and organizations, there is no excuse to not find ways to meet smart, interesting and helpful people. Once you’re there, here are some suggestions about how to build real, lasting relationships:

    1. When you meet someone new, be interested in them and listen actively. Ask follow-up questions
    2. Be helpful. See if there are ways to help them accomplish their personal or professional goals. Most likely, you can be directly helpful. And, you definitely know someone who could be helpful. If they ask for something, go out of your way to be helpful
    3. Follow-up. Send a follow-up note the next day – “nice to meet you and learn about your experiences…” Then, a week or two later, send them another note with something thoughtful and helpful – an introduction, an event that you think they’ll find interesting, an article that might be helpful… Then, periodically say hi. Maybe a couple times a year – “I met someone that reminded me of our last conversation…”
    4. Value and protect your relationships. Treat your network well and it will be there when you need it. Go out of your way to help people in your network and to maintain those relationships. Use social media (especially LinkedIn) to regularly offer value to your network through posting and sharing
  2. Start (and continue) looking before you need a job. It isn’t enough to send a few resumes around near graduation. Actively uncover and identify opportunities now and don’t stop. Think of job hunting like a sales funnel. You need to have many leads to find real opportunities and ultimately the right one
  3. Really explore what type of role you want to play and for what organizations. Dig into why. The more you are able to articulate what you’re looking for and why you’re looking for it, the more likely you’ll be to know when you’ve found it and the more likely you’ll be to get it. The world is changing. The traditional trajectories to senior roles or carer progression often don’t apply. Knowing what you want and why greatly improve your odds at every step. Find people who do what you want to spend your days doing. Figure out if you really want to “be like them”
  4. Find your inner confidence and humility. Humans are wired funny. We tend to like helping people who don’t need help more than those that do. If you don’t project “I need this job” than people will be more likely to offer it to you. We react poorly to desperation, insecurity and arrogance
  5. Make it easy for people to help you (or hire you). Your goal should be to make their decision easy. When you ask for a LinkedIn recommendation, explain what you’d like them to say and why – bullets work well to capture your ideas, but keep their voice. When you ask for an introduction or referral, explain why you’re asking and how you’ll use the introduction. Thank them after the introduction happens and share the results. When you’re interviewing, make it easy to choose you – be transparent, be on time, dress well, research the person(s) you’ll be meeting, do your homework on the company, try their product(s), talk to their customers, practice answering common interview questions, demonstrate competence. Ask for the job every time
  6. Actively manage your online presence and leverage the tools available to market yourself. One of my students wrote a blog post about his experience touring a company and meeting people there (a very hot tech company). He sent the blog to his host. He got an internship (and now, a job offer). Market yourself through your online comments, sites, profiles. Consider paying someone to help you with your LinkedIn profile. On social media, demonstrate subject matter expertise, willingness to learn and self awareness (and self restraint). If you’ve done dumb things that will show up in a Google search, own them – “I made a mistake, but I’ve learned xyz”
  7. Build your sales skills. You are a product and you are your own marketer, subject matter expert and salesperson. Study marketing and sales techniques. It’s worth investing in these skills, even if your job isn’t marketing or sales related

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