The Ideal Time To Look For a New Job
By Anna Johnson
Now most people start their job hunt when they NEED a new job... For instance, when they've just finished college... or have just resigned from their current job... or are no longer needed by their current employer... and they need to eat and make rent! However, if you're looking for the IDEAL career and job, these are NOT the best times to start hunting...
In fact, the best time for you to start looking for a job, has nothing to do with YOUR "need" for a job... and everything to do with a given employer's need to fill a position. In other words, the best time to start looking for a job is when the company you want to work for has just decided it needs to hire someone for the job you want.
Let me also that we're not talking about the time period during which the organization you want to work for is actively looking for potential employees. The time we're talking about happens before that - it's at the instant that the relevant decision makers have agreed to hire someone.
You can probably see where this is heading: if you can present yourself as the ideal candidate just when the company realizes it needs to hire someone, you'll have the best possible chance of getting the job. Because, at that moment, you're the only person offering to do the job - you won't have any competition! Except in the case where the company is required - by law or policy - to advertise the position, it may just hire you straight away, assuming you can demonstrate that you have the skills and capabilities the company is looking for. After all, by hiring you the company avoids the trouble and expense of recruiting. The only reasons it wouldn't hire you are if you failed to demonstrate that you had the "right stuff" for the role, or if there were "political" reasons, or you wanted a salary the company didn't want to pay.
But, of course, if you've researched the organization and prepared yourself for the role... presumably you would only present yourself for the job if you understood the lay of the political land and knew what salary range would likely be accepted.
Having said all this, you still need to be "in the right place at the right time", don't you? So how do you accomplish that... when the organization isn't advertising the job? (And how do you know whether or not you want to work for that organization anyway?
Well, you'll need to lay the groundwork for your job search. To start with, you'll need to decide on the company - or at least the industry - you want to work for. This is a matter of working out what you're interested in and what you want to do - or, as I often urge, what you want to learn - and then figuring out what company or companies are likely to provide that "doing" or "learning" experience.
So... if, for instance, project management with a software company piqued your interest, you might do a little research to identify all the software companies that might be suitable employers.
Following this initial research, it's time to find out more about each company you've identified. This will allow you to sort the "wheat from the chaff" so that you can target the three or four firms you'd most like to work for. Ideally, you'll also try to meet the key decision makers at those companies - the people with the power to hire you or recommend that you be hired. This may be a matter of attending industry events and even meeting other people who might be able to introduce you to the "decision makers" (the people with the power to hire you or recommend that you be hired)... or of calling up the person you want to meet and asking if you could take them out for a coffee in return for a chat. Do whatever is appropriate to lay the basis for a relationship... so that, over time, the
decision maker(s) will keep you informed when a job opportunity comes up.
Now it's just a matter of keeping abreast of developments within (and outside of) the organization(s) you're targeting and maintaining, if not building, your relationships with the key people who work there. When you learn of a development that may create a job opportunity, you can get in touch with the people you know to confirm whether or not there is likely to be a position. If that's the case, you can then position yourself as the ideal candidate.
Obviously, when the opportunity arises you'll have a better idea of what approach to take, but the point is, all it really takes to get the job is to be aware of what's going on with the companies you're monitoring, analyzing that information, and acting on it. And, really, that's as hard as it gets.
Although looking for a job when a given organization has decided to hire gives you the best chance of getting the job, it won't always be suitable. It's an approach that may yield a job in a few weeks, months, years or never at all. That's why I suggest you always target more than one company, and in fact, add new targets as your career develops. However, if you need a job ASAP, then it would be risky to rely wholly on this approach... you'd be well advised to take a look at the positions that are being advertised too. Nevertheless, this approach is undoubtedly the most effective in terms of yielding the right job for you.
About the Author
Discover how to find a career. Watch Anna's funny and inspirational movie, Career Choices, then download a free chapter of her controversial ebook, Insider Job Secrets Revealed.
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