By: Robert Half
Identifying positions to be filled is an integral part of
the job search process. The ubiquitous "Help Wanted" pages of
local newspapers have always been a primary source, and specialized staffing
firms have been matching good candidates to the right jobs for decades.
And with the popularity of on-line job postings, job seekers have a wealth
of additional resources available.
But there's yet another method of determining where the jobs are. While
it involves some detective work, if successfully carried out this strategy
can help you locate jobs that don't even exist yet. It involves following
the business press to learn of companies whose future plans may involve
augmenting their staff.
When a company receives a large new contract, signs up a new client, plans
to expand geographically, is set to introduce a new or improved product,
or intends to broaden the scope of its operations, that news usually reaches
the trade and business press. Learning of these developments can give
job seekers an advantage over those who wait until a company's expansion
is completed and new jobs are formally advertised.
Other elements to consider in your job search efforts are changes in government
regulations. As new laws and regulations are put into effect, certain
industries are affected, often altering the way they do business. For
instance, revisions in banking insurance regulation now allow insurance
companies to offer services formerly restricted to banks only. An astute
job-seeking accountant with some background in financial services will
recognize, once those new regulations are announced, that insurance companies
are going to need to staff their new financial services divisions. They
can then target inquiries to those companies long before the competition
has a chance to.
It is said that looking for a job is a job in and of itself; it should
be approached that way. It isn't enough to simply read the business pages
and trade periodicals and then toss them on the recycling pile. Instead,
you should be using this information to focus your job search and uncover
hidden job leads. Clipping relevant news articles is only the beginning.
The most important step is to take action.
Setting up a filing system is helpful in this regard. Each time you read
about a company that looks like it will need people with your credentials
in the future, set up a file and place the clipping in it. Next, conduct
some research into the company, referring to back issues of trade magazines
and the broader business press available through your local library or
on-line. At the same time, tap into your network of friends and professional
colleagues to see what knowledge they might possess about the firm. As
you do these things, the file on each targeted company will grow, along
with your insight into how it functions, its history, the key management
players, and its philosophy for future growth. Keep adding any additional
information you can obtain about the organization to the file.
Once you feel you've done all you can to understand what the targeted
company is all about, try to locate someone who may know a member of its
management. Ask for an introduction, either in-person or through a well-written
letter, citing your mutual friend as the reason for contacting the company.
At the same time, tailor your resume based on what you know about the
company from your detective work.
Using this approach doesn't replace the other time-honored means of seeking
employment, but it can be a valuable adjunct to your search for a new
and better job.