For those of you who know me, the title of this blog may sound odd. As you know, I am a firm believer in developing the steadfast spirit with the goal of reaching a point where you never have to apply to an online job again. I believe it is more than possible at some point before age 30 to develop the right relationships and skills that jobs find you and the jobs you find come through contacts, not job boards. However, job boards can be incredibly useful tools for two reasons.
Reason 1: You are not there yet. Many of my readers are still in undergrad or just a few years out of school and while they are pounding the pavement trying to build as many connections as possible job boards can still play a role. Many of the best professional contacts come through those you work with and if you are looking for that first job you obviously lack those great contacts. I talk in great detail to my D.C. Hopefuls Fellowship members about how to manage your online application process but early in your career applying to jobs through job boards may be necessary as you attempt to cast a wide net and follow leads. Online applications should always be secondary in time and priority to building professional contacts.
Reason 2: Understand the neighborhood. A key component of the steadfast spirit is knowing that information is power. Good friends of mine bought a beautiful condo last year. What I found odd for several months was despite having this beautiful home they spent a few hours every weekend going to open houses in their neighborhood. I naively thought they must not like their condo so I tried to be a good friend and tell them how they should be happy with their great condo. They laughed and explained to me they were happy and had no intentions of moving but it was important to know their neighborhood. They wanted to know which companies were doing rehabs, which home features builders were using, how quickly houses stayed on the market in their neighborhood, and what the overall market was doing.
Even when you are in a great job that you really enjoy I encourage you to be like my friends. Check out job boards, receive their daily emails, and take a few minutes each week to see what is out there. Over time you will notice upticks in openings in your field or you may notice the sudden decrease in announcements. You can also see what employers are looking for in candidates.
As I have said even the greatest jobs can go south in a hurry and you never want to feel like you are starting from scratch or scrambling when it comes to getting a new job.
I always keep my profiles on monster.com, indeed.com, and other sites current as well. In the past, I’ve had recruiters reach out to me and offer interviews. Some may not feel comfortable with this, but I have taken interviews even when I was not interested in the position simply to learn more about the organization and in one situation was able to get an offer that was $10k more than I was making. I was able to take this offer to my boss and get an $8k raise!
At any age, you should always pair your networking with job boards. If you connect with someone from XYZ and two weeks later see an opening there you can reach out to them and see if they can help. I have had people reach out to me asking about an opening at my company that I did not even know was open!
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