After breakfast, everyday,
she throws the want ads right my way
And never fails to say,
Get a job Sha na na na, sha na na na na.
However, the want ads (or, today, online job boards, for example) aren’t necessarily overflowing with job opportunities, especially in a stagnant economy with stubbornly high unemployment. Companies uncertain about the foreseeable economic future are hesitant to hire. If you’re trying to get a job, this reality of the employment landscape is discouraging. Or worse.
So, what to do? How is it possible to get a job when there are no jobs? Finding the answer to the question isn’t the problem. It’s the question itself that poses your biggest obstacle. “Wait, what?”, you ask. We’ll explain.
Employers aren’t hiring because they’re convinced there’s no need to do so. Mission critical tasks are being adequately handled by existing staffing levels and usually at a reduced cost of doing business. In order to get a job, an employer has to know that an opening requires filling. And an opening that requires filling means there’s a need not being met. Which is where you come in. With research and investigation, you may able to identify a need. And who better to identify a need you can fill than you?
Don’t underestimate the effort required, however. If a company thinks that it’s taking care of business just fine, thank you very much, you’ll be hard pressed to demonstrate that you know something the organization doesn’t. Furthermore, even if you can make such a presentation, the manner in which you make it is very important to that effort to get a job.
If you’re up to the task, we suggest you incorporate the following into your strategy and tactics:
- What do you want? Before you can strategize about how to get a job, you should be very clear about the type of job you want. There’s no point in going through this process if, at the end of the day, the job that you identify really isn’t one you’re qualified to perform or, even more basically, one that even interests you.
- Do your research. This is absolutely essential. Once you’ve determined the field in which you want to work, thoroughly conduct online research on the industry. Yes, you’ll want to research individual companies, but in order to better determine company needs, you’ll need to understand the problems and challenges the industry faces overall. This global approach provides you practical information with wider application than what you’ll gain by limiting your research to specific organizations. You may be able to ascertain industry trends, recent technological and/or procedural advancements, statutory, regulatory, and legal issues, and even the latest marketing strategies. No matter what your discover, the information will be valuable in helping you craft a need to which you are the solution.
- The art, rather than the science, of getting a job. Once you’ve done your research, analyze the data so that you can identify what needs fixing. Or developing. In order to get a job where none currently exists, you need to be at your most creative, putting yourself in the place of management to see what the organization hasn’t yet observed. Once you’ve done that, craft a proposal that not only clearly demonstrates need but also illustrates how your skill set is commensurate with meeting it. Make your presentation explicit, exhaustive, and exciting. In order to create energy about your proposal, it has to be energetic in both its content and tone.
- Messaging. One of the simple truths in marketing is that price, quality and/or utility of a product or service are irrelevant if you don’t reach your target demographic. This basic tenet is equally applicable to your efforts to get a job. No matter how effectively you can demonstrate that you have the potential to fill a need where one wasn’t perceived to exist before, it won’t matter if you aren’t able to present it to the appropriate audience. Here are a few suggestions regarding how to do that:
- Use your network (both personal and professional) to get a personal introduction;
- Send a formal letter asking for a meeting, outlining, in general, why such a meeting would be beneficial to the reader (have I got a job for me for you!)
- Develop a brief presentation (e.g., a marketing brochure that markets your proposal) to deliver in person;
- Communicate via social media and integrate your proposal into that communication. Maybe draft a newsletter or blog piece directed to your reader or produce a short video presentation which also allows you to introduce yourself before you’re even introduced.