As of January 1st, you have likely been adhering to your New Year’s resolutions for 2018.
If you’re a jobseeker, finding work just might be at the top of your list—and with good reason. Now is also the primetime of year for landing a new position. In the same manner we’ll be marking the onset of 2018 with our personal to-do lists, organizations will be starting new projects, putting annual budgets in place, and creating initiatives for the upcoming year. More than likely they’ll also need to bring on additional employees to carry out their plans.
There is, therefore, a seasonal aspect to employment. January and February generally represent the strongest hiring period of the year. So what are some of the ways you can use the opportunities this time of year presents to your best advantage? How can you connect with decision-makers and key members within organizations? How can you position yourself to be one of those called in for an interview? The answer is simple and straightforward. Nevertheless, it is also one many job-seekers avoid.
Networking is the number one means of reaching power players—those who can influence hiring managers by giving you the all-important nod of approval. But people looking for work often shy away from reaching out to others because they don’t want to bother them, feel like such connections might be perceived as an imposition, or they tend to be introverted and find these types of contacts difficult. If you relate to any these sentiments, it’s time to bite the bullet. There’s just no way around it. People get people jobs… and that means networking!
Hiring studies show that, in general, about 75 percent of positions are filled by way of informal referral—i.e., networking. We’ll be covering the reasons this is true in subsequent posts. But, for now, just realize that connecting with others is your most direct route to a new position. Making this statement even more meaningful, the 75 percent figure increases substantially the older you are. Age and limited opportunities combine to make your personal connections even more important.
So the next time you decide to sit down in front of the computer and spend the majority of your job search efforts responding to postings, consider this: somewhere between 12 and 15 percent of jobs are obtained through online postings. By limiting yourself to replying to advertised positions you’ll be competing on your resume alone. And, even if you do get called in for an interview, the candidate who comes with recommendations (obtained through mutual contacts by way of networking) will almost always have the upper hand. Given these realities, how should you plan to spend your time?
Success in the current job market requires that you learn the rules of the game today and broaden your circle of contacts. That way, you will have plenty of opportunities in the works at all times. You’ll also need the tools to present yourself with confidence by speaking to your strengths in ways that distinguish you and your added value from the competition. By educating yourself with the most effective means to navigate the current job market, you’ll be well on your way to taking advantage of this special time of year. With your knowhow, skills, and connections (and a little luck), you’ll be landing that job you will love before your know it!
And for even more key strategies to successfully navigate today’s difficult job market, be sure to check out Land the Job You Love: 10 Surefire Strategies for Jobseekers Over 50. This step-by-step guide shows you how you can turn your age into an advantage and brand yourself for success.