How to Fish
Here's a story for you...
Olivia had been applying to job board postings for months. She must have wrote and re-wrote her resume and cover letters over fifty times before her first call back. So far, she hadn’t gotten past her second-round interviews. Week after week, she searched through the sea of available positions. Many of those positions didn’t excite her but the student loan past due notices were mounting and her rent was already behind, so she applied anywhere she was sure skills could be of use. She couldn’t understand how someone with her potential hadn’t landed even a contract gig. Her recruiters were telling her to have patience and her good friends were keeping their eyes out for any positions that opened at their respective companies. Olivia waited and managing her finances as best she could throughout this rough patch. Eventually, after nearly eight months of torture she secured a stable job and caught up on her affairs. She doesn’t love her new position but will likely use it as a springboard to other opportunities in the future.
"Don't just rely on your recruiter for new opportunities..."
Zachary on the other hand had been out of work for about seven months before he was hired at a stellar tech start-up. His story isn’t that different from Olivia’s in that he too scoured over job boards and worked with recruiters. He does however love his new role and ended up learning about it not from postings but from someone he met at a meetup event. You see, Zachary also spent seven months getting in front of everyone he could that seemed well connected in the tech space. He attended trade association events at least three times a month and invited his LinkedIn colleagues for coffee ever so often. He also attended workshops in app development and even joined a book club because it was a way to meet new people and manage his stress. Zachary even reached out to his old professors and offered to co-write articles on business and technology topics to keep his knowledge fresh. It turned out that someone in his book club referred him to an informal gathering where he met the person that would eventually introduce him to a hiring manager at the tech company where he now works.
"Attend trade events, organize coffee chats, keep your resume updated,
and communicate with your network often..."
There’s nothing wrong with applying to jobs online, using recruiters, and working your immediate network to find work. While in the sea of opportunity, waiting for someone to pick you is a frustrating process. The fundamental skills of cover letter writing and resume crafting is a good starting place, but that alone won’t get you to your dream job. You’ve got to work every avenue and learn how to design your bait so you snag the prize of access to the roles you seek. That bait includes, getting in front of people and selling yourself, staying active, sharpening your skills through learning, staying connected with people you know in a meaningful way, developing a timetable to keep momentum going, and keeping your health a priority. Having the best version of yourself on paper and out in the universe is important but fishing for opportunities in a constructive way will not only make the journey more bearable but also more rewarding. I’m sure Olivia is satisfied with her role but Zachary couldn’t be happier. Over the course of his job search he made connections that will last him a lifetime. He also doubled his bookshelf and plans to take on a leadership role in his trade association.
Give someone a fish and they’ll have a meal for the night. Teach someone how to fish and they’ll feed themselves for a lifetime. If you were in a similar position would you proactively seek out new opportunities in creative and out-of-the-box ways?
Learn how to fish for opportunities because the process will serve you better than waiting on someone’s update.