Thursday, February 18, 2010

5 Ways To Get Lucky In Your Job Search

In job search, it’s better to be lucky than to be smart.

Unfortunately, most candidates play by an outdated set of rules that makes them unlucky. Employers today use very similar procedures to pick which employees to interview and hire. These procedures are vastly different than the tactics that most candidates use (see:

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I suggest to candidates that they will need 3 times the number of opportunities in their pipeline than their last job search. Candidates should plan on a pipeline that can deliver 3 times the number of interviews … in order to get lucky. It’s THAT competitive out there, when CareerBuilder reports that the average job seeker is taking 6 months to find a new position (see:, CNN reports a national average over 30 weeks, and ExecuNet reports that it’s taking managers & executives 9-12 months on average.

Again, most candidates under plan their activity and tactics to build a large enough pipeline, reducing the odds that they can beat the average time for job search. For instance, most candidates build just one channel of opportunities (typically networking, job boards or recruiters), neglecting the other channels available.

The good news is … being smart about your job search can make you luckier. There are some smart ways to stack the odds more in your favor, so you are more likely to get lucky.

  1. Effort counts – This is the toughest job market in our lifetimes. Changing jobs isn’t going to be as easy as the last time you changed jobs. I advise clients to expect they will need three times the number of opportunities, three times the number of interviews, resumes sent, and effort than their last job search.
  2. Develop multiple opportunity channels – Most job seekers use just one, typically concentrating on one of the following: networking, job boards, or recruiters. In the toughest market in our lifetime, I recommend using all of these channels simultaneously, plus two more.

    • Job Boards – See the Top 30 Job Boards of 2010 to get an idea which job boards to use (see: You won’t have the bandwidth to use all 30, so pick 3-5 and concentrate on those. Set up automated email or RSS job alerts on each board to have qualifying jobs delivered to your mailbox or RSS reader to save time.
    • Networking – Networking is great, and it’s the fastest way to a new job, but it’s limited. Most of us have 50-75 close contacts who are willing to help. You’ll go through those fast. You may have hundreds more distant contacts. Contact them by all means, but recognize they carry lower odds of coming through for you. Also recognize that most mid sized and large companies have referral bonus programs, meaning your resume will probably be sent by your contact to HR…into the same database you’d go if you sent through the job boards. Your close network will be more productive with Guerrilla Job search Tactics (see:
    • Recruiters – Recruiters don’t work for you, they work for the hiring manager. Never fool yourself otherwise. But there are ways you can get to the front of a recruiter’s mind, get more attention from them, and have them think of you (instead of other candidates) more often when they have job matches for you (see:
    • Social Networking – Similar with in person networking, but you’ll have a broader list and shallower connections. Again, your social network can be a great source of information (see: You can also refer to some of the many tips I've published to build your Linkedin network (, and Facebook networks ( may be helpful.
    • Social Branding – Create an inbound opportunity channel by creating your social brand … online. Use Social Branding to increase your “findability” on Google searches, so recruiters and hiring managers can more easily find you. In addition, when business leaders have a new problem today, the first thing most do is research online to see what thought leaders and subject matter experts have to say. Establishing your social brand as a subject matter expert and thought leader encourages a business manager with a problem … to contact you for your advice (see: Wait – if you’re looking for a job, aren’t these the conversations you want to have more of?
  3. Use a resume that gets you noticed - As someone who has reviewed tens of thousands of resumes (maybe hundreds of thousands … who knows? I lost count years ago), most are unremarkable and very few stand out. Ask any recruiter - if they are honest with you, they will tell you the same thing. I give lots of advice about how to make your resume stand out … if you take only one, make sure that your resume includes the 3 things your next employer is looking for (see:
  4. Ditch the cover letter – See (Link)
  5. Spell out WIFT – Most resumes, networking, and interviews convey What’s In It For Me (WIFM). Your future employer is much less concerned about what you want, and much more concerned if you can solve his problems – or What’s In It For Them (WIFT). (see:
All of these tactics can help you increase your odds of getting lucky. Then again, is it really luck – or is it effort and strategy that brings your job search luck?

What are you doing to get lucky in your job search?

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Unknown said...

You have really done a great job.Thanks for the information here.

StallionEagle said...

Thank you for your article. I am quite convinced now that recruiters do not work for for the job seeker.

Phil Rosenberg said...

eridge, They never did - a recruiter's job is to work for the hiring manager that pays them. If they work for you, they risk a conflict of interest ... and you don't pay them.

Candidates are a recruiter's inventory. Here's how to make that work in your favor: