Have you had a friend or colleague land the plum job and you’re thinking but they weren’t even looking? Why can’t I find opportunities like that?
I read an article recently that got me thinking about the slower employment market and who’s doing it smarter, to be ready for new opportunities. That made me think about the two distinct groups that have typically existed:
- the “I’m not looking for a job right now”, we’ll call them the Holiday Maker as they usually look for a one off experience; and
- the “I’m always open to new opportunities”, the Traveller as they are exploring and open to opportunities and experiences.
Firstly, the biggest addition to the traditional networking and recruitment strategies is the growth of LinkedIn. There is no doubt that LinkedIn has definitely changed how companies and recruiters access potential employees. It has also influenced how individuals can passively pitch themselves to the market, with little effort and no cost. The early adopters of LinkedIn tended to be Travellers who recognised an extra tool, accelerating the number of opportunities on offer. Both groups are equally experienced and qualified to land the great job, but the key difference is their approach and timing and how many job opportunities they have exposure to.
Why? This is clearer when we look at the general profile of the Holiday Maker and the Traveller.
The Holiday Maker tends to only look for new career opportunities when they have to. Whether they no longer enjoy what they do, they’ve been made redundant, or some other change has forced them to consider their options. Essentially, their job seeking strategy only lasts from the moment they think they need to find a new job, and stops as soon as they’ve found it. Typically, this approach involves applying for advertised vacancies, and registering with a few recruiters. A handful will also connect with their contacts and old colleagues to ask if they know of any vacancies. Often, the situation for the Holiday Maker is urgent, which immediately limits the number of roles available to the general market in a specific time period.
The Traveller thinks differently. They are constantly open to opportunities, watching the market and trends to workout how the market is shifting, and whether they need to make an adjustment. Typically, they have a longer term dream for their career. They understand what skills and experience are needed to fulfil that ideal role. Their job seeking strategy is constant, they:
- actively build their network,
- meet new people,
- talk confidently about what they do,
- show a genuine interest in others, and
- are able to build trust and credibility.
They also have an up-to-date profile on LinkedIn with a clear message as to what they can offer. Because they are clear about what a great opportunity looks like, they can see opportunities in chance meetings and situations. The Traveller still comes to points in their career where they are unhappy or forced to look for a new job, but their network and approach allows them to access many more opportunities, particularly in the hidden job market.
Moving from Holiday Maker to Traveller
Here a few simple steps that may help you make the shift:
- Work out what direction you want your career to take, what would a great opportunity look like?
- Use any opportunity to meet other people from industries or companies you are interested in, whether it’s peers and more senior managers.
- Develop an ‘elevator speech’ for what you do. If someone asked you at a BBQ what you did, how could you convey it in an interesting way in 30 seconds or less?
- Keep an updated and complete LinkedIn profile so companies and recruiters can find you.
- Update your resume or bio each time there is a significant change.
Are you opportunity ready?