Thursday, October 11, 2007

When Is The Ideal Time To Look For A Job?

Most people start searching for a new job when they "need" a job - when they've resigned or been asked to leave their current job, or have simply decided to leave. However, if you want a great job - one that suits you down to the ground - these are unlikely to be the best times to start looking.

Well, as it happens, the ideal time to start searching for employment has less to do with your need for a job and more to do with a particular organization's need to hire someone for that job. To be precise, the best time to be on the outlook for a new job is when the organization has realized it needs to hire someone for that job.
But let me clarify: the ideal time is not when the company has hired a recruitment agent or is already advertising for the job... it's when the company has JUST realized that it needs a specific position filled.

And just why is this the best time for YOU to start looking for a job? Because if you're "there" when the company has decided it needs to hire... and you have all the experience, qualifications and skills its looking for, then (except for any regulatory or political requirements to advertise the job) you're the one its likely to hire! The only reasons why the organization wouldn't hire you would probably relate to the remuneration you ask for or for corporate political reasons outside your control.

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, I'll be honest, this is where you will have to roll up your sleeves and do a little work. Nothing hard - but some decision making, research and a little networking. And the first step is to identify which companies you'd like employment with.

Let's say, for example, you wanted to develop project management skills and were particularly interested in the software industry. Therefore, you would identify medium to large sized software vendors where there were likely to be project management roles on offer.

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 that you're as "in the know" as you can possibly be, your job is to (1) keep your ears to the ground, (2) think, and (3) act! In other words, if you learn that the company is thinking of bringing out a major new product - think about the implications of that. Does that mean that they'll need more project managers to help with the launch? If so, get on the phone to your contact and ask for the chance to present some ideas about how you could help.

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.

Okay, so this approach may not be the best way to go if you need a job and you need it NOW (who knows when the companies you're targeting will need to hire?). However, it really is the approach to take in order to land your dream job... and only requires a little research, patience and the confidence to talk to people to do it. Try it!

About the author: Anna Johnson. Get the job you want! Watch Anna's funny and inspiring movie, Career Choices, then download a free chapter of her shocking and controversial ebook, Insider Job Secrets Revealed:

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