Many of us have found that dream job – in an advertisement. It seems like the perfect fit. We interview for the position, and, because it’s “the one,” we wait until we hear bad news from the hiring manager before we resume our job search once again.
For ExecuNet member Collin Dick, this is a scenario he experienced and one he hopes fellow ExecuNet members work to avoid. You can’t stop looking for a job until you actually get a job.
“Keep and get as many ‘irons on the fire’ as possible, and do something every day – even when you don’t want to,” said Dick. “I found ‘the perfect job’ so many times, only to end up traveling for an interview and things going well, but in the end being passed up by another company.”
One time, when he thought he might be close to being hired, Dick halted his job search too soon. “I fell in love too many times with those companies/roles and didn’t act like the free agent that I was. Being completely unemployed is different than a subtle, as you have time, type of job search – it’s a job in and of itself and I didn’t always do the best job of acting like that was the case.”
Dick, who landed a position as an executive director after about 15 months of searching, said the quest for a new job took longer than he expected. He had worked overseas and came back to the US about six months after leaving his prior company. “While I did my best to keep the impression that I was ‘fresh’ onto the market, I already had a gap of six months holding me back,” he said. “The market was trickling drips and drops, but it was far slower than I’d hoped it would be.”
Dick said he interviewed with companies while still overseas and when he returned. “As the decisions lingered, I didn’t do the right thing in moving on immediately post-interview, but rather waiting for a decision before I’d move on. That was one of my biggest mistakes.”
Working with Recruiters
Having success working with recruiters was somewhat of a surprise. “I had great responsiveness from recruiters, even with a resume ‘light’ on experience (only four years post-business school).” He noted that he developed good relationships with those recruiters, even if they didn’t eventually place him in a new position.
“I’d advise people to remember that recruiters don’t work for you. They work for themselves,” said Dick. “They are just trying to fill a role before someone else does. If it’s you, great. If it’s another candidate, fine. All they care about is getting paid. That’s the end game. It’s a business. Only on a few occasions did I run into recruiters who would even talk to me after the first role they put me up for didn’t work out.”
Observations from the Job Search
Dick said he noticed that companies held a “power position” because of the number of people in the job market. He also observed that among healthcare manufacturers, “there was a lot of reticence to hire with the election and the uncertainty there. That was definitely an underlying current in the slowness.”
One thing that worked for him was the customization of his personal marketing materials for each job opportunity by “tailoring cover letters for the roles and companies, tweaking copies of the resume to fit the role, even if it just meant moving accomplishments around by order of importance.”
The Internet was a valuable tool in his job search. He found his new position in an ExecuNet job posting and said he received positive responses from recruiters through ExecuNet, as well. “Otherwise, my own networking and relationships worked best,” he said, adding that he also found LinkedIn to be an effective networking resource.
Don’t Give Up
There are many lessons we all learn during a job search. When asked what fellow ExecuNet members should do well during the process, Dick suggested they “keep moving. You’re like a shark. If you aren’t moving, then you die. Don’t fall in love with a role and wait for a decision. Once you’ve done all you can with that role, move on to the next one. If it works out, you’ll be set. If it doesn’t then you haven’t wasted ‘X’ amount of time pining away waiting for a decision.”
One of the most effective things Dick did during his job search was that he “kept going, didn’t give up – as depressing as it was at times. I kept good follow up with the recruiters that I’d established good relationships with and even occasionally checked back in with others, just in case. Also, I re-developed and re-worked my own network.”
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