It’s no surprise that during a job search, all you can think about is finding open positions and getting your resume on the desk of the hiring manager. While you are scouring LinkedIn, Craig’sList, monster.com, and other online sources for job openings and asking everyone you know if they know of any open jobs, you might be taking your eyes off the important parts of the process that round out your job search and give you a broader perspective. If you simply try the resume+interview formula for career growth, you are missing the greater strategy!
“Peripheral vision is a part of vision that occurs
outside the very center of gaze.”
While you search for that next job, consider these strategies and tactics, and expand your your peripheral vision:
If you aren’t active in your local community or industry, start attending meetings, receptions, and events where like-minded professionals can meet and share resources. As you build visibility at these events, be sure to have business cards with your contact information on them, and present yourself as someone your new contacts would want to refer to their colleagues and contacts.
Are you clear on how to describe what you can offer and what you are looking for? A big part of the job search is explaining your value proposition so that when someone does hear of a great opportunity, they can remember you. Practice answering the question: “Why me?” — why should a company want you? What can you deliver? What makes you compelling and relevant?
- Elevator Pitch
As you refine your narrative to be on target, consider how you introduce yourself to new contacts. Do you drone on about your resume and background? Or, do you succinctly and confidently give an overview of who you are and what you can offer?
Always be researching new ideas, companies, people, causes, and initiatives where you could add value. Use the Internet but also be a good researcher in person. Conduct informational interviews to learn how successful people got where they are. Listen and learn.
Admit it, are you dressing like someone who is ready to go to work or have yoga pants and a sweatshirt become your uniform? When you are in a job search, it is critical to stay sharp on your image. Even a trip to the local coffee shop can lead to a key introduction which can open career doors. Every day of your search, take care to keep your image up to your professional standards.
- Social media
Job seekers sometimes take to social media to share feelings of being frustrated, depressed, or even hopeless. Remember that everyone you know on social media is connected to other people. If you share your upset online, you could be sharing those feelings with recruiters, hiring managers, and key influencers without even knowing it. Similarly, if you constantly post online asking for job leads, you look desperate. Instead, share information about your industry or desired career, highlight news and new trends, and offer insight and commentary in your area of expertise. This positions you as someone who is active in the industry and is ready to go to work tomorrow!
- Body language
If 90% of information communicated is non-verbal, then your body language can be working for, or against, you. When you meet someone new, be sure to look them in the eye, nod in agreement when appropriate, and always assume a confident posture. While you might feel scared, intimidated, or frustrated by the job search, your body language can’t show it. Think about it — would you want to engage in conversation with someone who looked desperate? People are attracted to people who are confident and approachable.
While you focus on finding a new job, spend some time helping a local non-profit or mentor someone who needs your advice. Not only will they benefit from your time and talent but your spirits will be lifted as you see the rewards of giving to someone who needs you.
As you practice these strategies and expand your reach, you will see that the job search is actually a lot more holistic than just sending resumes. Tap into your peripheral vision to see what else you can do to drive awareness of your personal brand and showcase your skills and value to a new employer.