3 Ways to Tap into a Pipeline Job

Now that you have the skinny on the unpublicized job market, let’s look at how you can break into it. When job-seekers search for new jobs, one of the most important elements of a successful search is developing job leads. How can you find a consistent source for open jobs in your career field? The answer, of course, is that you cannot. No one consistent source exists. There are, however, several methods that all job-seekers should consider using in uncovering the largest number of job leads.

While other ways of unearthing unadvertised jobs exist, the key to mining the unpublicized job market is deploying strategies that break you, the candidate, into the middle of the hiring process – before positions are publicly known. Even better for you as a job-seeker, if you can make a strong case for your fit with an unadvertised position, you’ll face much less competition from other job- seekers, immediately improving the chances that you’ll get a job interview.

Networking

The No. 1 reason networking is so important and effective is that, as we’ve seen, so many jobs are not made public – through advertising or other means. One of the best ways a job-seeker can find out about these jobs is through word-of-mouth. Networking is a highly effective way for job-seekers to hear word-of-mouth news of unadvertised vacancies. These vacancies may eventually be publicized, but most jobs start out hidden, and only the decision-maker knows.

More job leads are developed/discovered through networking than any other method. Networking involves using the vast numbers of people that you know – your family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, customers, vendors, associates, and others – as information sources for job leads.

Networking is simply about building and maintaining relationships with the people around us. The more people we know – and the more people the folks we know are connected with – the more powerful our network. Remember to not only maintain your current network, but strive to regularly add new contacts – especially those who work for prospective future employers.

When you’re ready to seek that next job, the simple way of uncovering unpublicized job opportunities and leads is by asking people in your network what advice they might offer for someone seeking the type of job you’re looking for. Keys to success include knowing exactly the type of job you seek and asking your network contacts not for a job, but rather for information, advice, and referrals that may lead to a job. These conversations may reveal information about pipeline jobs.

Pipeline Jobs

As we saw in Part 1 of this series, a pipeline job is a vacancy that an employer is in the process of creating but is not yet official. Once the job is official, the hiring manager may ask around within the organization for referrals of qualified candidates before making the vacancy public.

As we noted in the Part 1, many hiring managers prefer getting internal referrals because once they publicize the job, they know they will be bombarded with resumes, many from unqualified candidates. They will then have to process those resumes. Referrals from known and trusted employees are always preferable.

Once the hiring manager starts asking for internal referrals – and especially when he or she posts the position to the public – competition will increase exponentially.

Many employers have highly developed employee-referral programs and reward workers for suggesting a hire. Social media has fast-tracked the employee-referral process and vastly increased its reach.

3 Ways to Disrupt the Pipeline

    1. Referral Cover Letter: Once you have a network contact who has told you about a pipeline job, one effective way to approach the hiring manager is with a referral cover letter. The referral cover letter is an extremely effective type of cover letter that springs from networking efforts. The referral letter uses a name-dropping tactic as early as possible in the letter to attract the reader’s attention and prompt an interview. The opening sentence for a sample referral follows:Dear Mr. Fouche,Nancy Jones of Green & Associates Advertising suggested I contact you regarding possible public-relations opportunities in your firm.
    2. Informational interview: This technique can be effective even if the job for you hasn’t even entered the pipeline. Research the needs of targeted employers. Especially conduct research into recent news stories about the organization (Is the company expanding to new markets? Introducing a new product? It will likely need to hire). Another way is by networking with organization insiders and asking them about company needs and challenges. But the best way is through informational interviewing, a sub-set of networking in which you conduct brief interviews with people inside targeted organizations and ask what keeps them up at night.Informational interviewing is exactly what it sounds like – interviewing designed to yield the information you need to choose a career path, learn how to break in, and find out if you have what it takes to succeed. It’s a highly focused conversation with someone in your career field who can provide you with key information, such as the issues and needs a given employer is facing. While an informational interview is not a job interview, the information gleaned can be used later in your approach to an employer. Armed with knowledge about problems and needs within an organization, you can propose ways that you can meet those needs and solve those problems.
    3. Creating Your Own Job based on Employer Needs: This technique may enable you to get a pipeline job before it even enters the pipeline is trying to create a job for yourself – where one currently doesn’t exist – based on a deeper exploration of the employer’s needs or problems. With this technique, the job-seeker identifies the employer’s needs and/or problems and proposes that the employer create a job that the job-seeker will then fill and meet the needs or solve the problems.

Finally, realize that sometimes a referral doesn’t pay off immediately or directly but lays the groundwork for a future opportunity. Keep following up on pipeline jobs.

If you need help tapping into those pipeline jobs, consider coaching with us.

Give us a call at 386-749-3111
Send us an email at beverly@harveycareers.com
Schedule a call with Beverly at www.harveycareers.com/schedule

 

*This article may be republished with written permission.  If you are interested in posting this article on your blog, please email me at Beverly@HarveyCareers.com.  I will respond within 2 business days with my required signature and credits.

Nabbing a Job While It’s Still in the Pipeline

Have you ever conducted a job-search and thought to yourself that there must be more job openings than those found through online job searches? Guess what? You’re right! If you are simply searching online, you are missing out on as many as four times the job leads – job leads that go unposted publicly.

A significant reason for not publicizing an opening is that the job is still in the pipeline. The late career-marketing coach Mark Hovind asserted that most jobs start out hidden, known only to the decision-maker. The employer recognizes a need and decides to create a job, but the vacancy, for various reasons, is not official. Perhaps the skills needed for the job haven’t been identified. Maybe the job description hasn’t been developed. Possibly the budget to fund the position hasn’t yet been worked out. Whatever the reason, the opening isn’t ready for prime time and can’t yet be publicized.

The hiring process is a long and winding road – as long as 12-18 months – that begins when a hiring manager requests a new position or when a current employee leaves his or her current position. The first step is getting approval to fund (or continue funding) the position and approving the recruitment plan. What happens next is a multi-stage process that eventually leads to a public job posting if all other measures are unsuccessful.

During the initial time of the request the manager starts asking around among his or her trusted employees for referrals. After all, if you were the manager, wouldn’t you rather hire someone known and recommended to you via a colleague than an anonymous candidate submitting a resume?

Once funding has been approved, the next step is an internal job posting, again with the intent of finding an internal candidate to promote and usually publicized internally for about 7-10 days. At this stage, hiring managers may also contact their network and inquire about possible external candidates (referrals).

This stage is especially crucial for a candidate who wants to get in on an opportunity early. Only after failing to find someone to fill the need through referrals will the manager write a job description and begin to advertise the job.

The implication for the job-seeker is that a strong, thriving network can alert you to pipeline jobs. The goal is to reach hiring managers before they opt to publicize the opening. If you are constantly adding contacts to your network, and telling members of your network what you’re looking for, sooner or later, you will likely encounter a network contact who responds with, “Oh, my company is planning to hire someone like you, but the job hasn’t been posted yet.” When that happens, you can ask your contact to refer you to the hiring manager, perhaps even deliver your resume personally to him or her.

The beauty of this scenario is that if you make contact with the hiring manager while the job is still in the pipeline, you will have virtually no competition. Once the hiring manager starts asking for internal referrals – and especially when he or she posts the position to the public – competition will increase exponentially.

If you need help finding those pipeline jobs, consider coaching with us.

Give us a call at 386-749-3111
Send us an email at beverly@harveycareers.com
Schedule a call with Beverly at www.harveycareers.com/schedule

 

*This article may be republished with written permission.  If you are interested in posting this article on your blog, please email me at Beverly@HarveyCareers.com.  I will respond within 2 business days with my required signature and credits.

Developing a Targeted Mailing List

Focus bullseyeThere are two basic schools of thought on direct mail aimed at locating a new position, commonly referred to as mass mailings and targeted direct mailings. The former relies on the premise that if enough letters and résumés are mailed, something will inevitably get attention, and that will result in an interview, or hopefully, multiple interviews, at different companies. Targeted mailings, on the other hand, are smaller mailings focused on a select audience, the market most likely to be seeking a candidate with your qualifications. The numbers may be smaller, but the results have proven to be more effective.

Opting to use this strategy requires research and strategy. The last thing you want to do is spend a lot of time, money, and effort on a campaign that lacks focus – and results. This is why it is vital that your targeted search involves the following:

  • Defining your ideal company
  • Creating a list of potential target companies
  • Prioritizing your list of target companies
  • Researching the companies thoroughly using Hoover’s database or other business resources
  • Networking with the decision makers
  • Presenting yourself as a solution to a major problem the interviewing company is having

Finding the right database targeted to companies and industries of your choosing will help you create your target company list. On average, direct mail campaigns get better results if the database mailing list is carefully selected using NAICS, SIC, or Hoovers codes, company size (revenues, employees), and geographic location.

Should you choose to conduct your own direct mail campaign, there are many sources aimed at locating recruiters and companies.

Putting Together Your Mailing List

There are a number of resources available to help you build a personalized list based on your target job search such as Hoovers, ReferenceUSA.com, and InfoUSA. These fee-based services are quite popular among executive job seekers. However, if you are on a tight budget, you may want to consider free options. Visiting websites like www.forbes.com/lists and Inc. Magazine provide insight into Fortune 500 companies, top performing companies, and the most profitable companies in all industries. Job seekers willing to take the time to dig a little deeper and conduct thorough research will find that creating a mailing list isn’t as daunting a task as it may seem.

This brief article is an excerpt from, Landing An Executive Position.

For further help:
Give Beverly Harvey a call at 386-749-3111
Send us an email at beverly@harveycareers.com
Schedule a call with Beverly at www.harveycareers.com/schedule

Elevator Pitch

iStock_000007269826XSmallYour elevator pitch is a twenty-to thirty-second statement that tells networking contacts and company decision makers that you have what it takes to resolve their outstanding problem(s). It’s centered on your branded value proposition, what you offer, what you bring to the table. As such, it’s an extraordinarily valuable networking and selling tool.

It acquired its name from the concept of accidentally meeting a decision maker or valuable networking contact in an elevator, recognizing it as a golden opportunity, introducing yourself, and in about thirty seconds telling him who you are and describing your value proposition. The assumption is that if you have captured the interest of the decision maker or contact, the conversation will continue after you both have left the elevator.

Your elevator pitch will need to be tailored to the individual networking contact or decision maker, recognizing that they all have different needs and varying agendas. If you’re networking socially, you can use your elevator pitch when you hear this request: So, what do you do? Your elevator pitch is a great way to immediately let your contact know what you’re passionate about (your brand), what you do for companies, and how that combination will add to his luster by suggesting a great job candidate (you) for a job opening.

You can also use your elevator pitch when you hear this request: Tell me about yourself.

If you’ve networked your way into your target company, you can use your elevator pitch to expand on your value proposition in detail. And that’s exactly what you want. You want to demonstrate that you have a thorough grasp of the problem(s) facing the company by describing in enough detail how you’ve handled similar problems before and how you’re ready to handle those same kinds of problems starting on day one of a new job.

Here’s an example of an elevator pitch a job candidate made to a contact within his target company who said, “Tell me about yourself.”

“John, thanks for your interest. I’ve had twenty- five years in pivotal roles reducing costs for the three companies I’ve worked for. With my current employer, as vice president of manufacturing, I’ve trimmed the labor force by 23 percent, reduced warranty costs 18 percent, and cut finished goods inventory by a third. I would like to show you specifically how I achieved every one of those cost reductions. Is this a good time?” (That last question in an interview shows you’re ready to close the sale. Don’t leave it up to chance. Try to move directly into describing exactly how you accomplished those cost reductions.)

Of course, that pitch assumes the contact’s or decision maker’s biggest problem is excess costs. If your contact is an experienced quality professional you’ll want to emphasize how you reduced warranty costs, and if the contact is an inventory professional, you’ll want to emphasize inventory control along with measures you installed that resulted in an inventory reduction, and so on. The point is to be ready to tailor your elevator pitch to the individual networking contact or decision maker, recognizing that each may have different needs and varying agendas.

This brief article is an excerpt from, Landing An Executive Position.

*This article may be republished with written permission.  If you are interested in posting this article on your blog, please email me at Beverly@HarveyCareers.com.  I will respond within 2 business days with my required signature and credits.

Seven Ways to Keep in Touch with Your Contacts

bigstockphoto_Global_Community_4404997Keith Ferrazzi, author of Never Eat Alone recommends that you build your network before you need it and keep in touch with your network on an ongoing basis. He also recommends that you periodically connect with each of your contacts to keep abreast of their initiatives and to share yours.

To do this efficiently and effortlessly, you want to enter or import your contacts into an electronic database. You’ll need the capability to enter contact information, miscellaneous notes and dates that are important to you, and the names, addresses, phone numbers (including Skype or FaceTime), and email addresses of your contacts.

What follows are a few ideas that may help you stay in touch with your network:

1. Email a newsletter that tells your contacts about your most recent activities. If your contacts don’t hear from you on a regular basis they’ll assume you no longer need their help, or that you’re no longer interested in helping them. Of course, if you have hundreds in your network you might want to consider using an e-news service provider such as Aweber, ConstantContact, MyEmma, or use a similar newsletter distribution program.

2. Invite your contacts to join you on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Between newsletters, use these sites to broadcast a brief, 140-character message regarding your status. Your newsletter will allow you to communicate your thoughts and status in detail and the 140-character postings will allow you to keep people up to date on a more frequent basis – but only if they approve. Get their permission first.

3. Send a link to your contacts when you see their names mentioned on the Internet. This may be an article or press release that quotes or features them. It might be an announcement for awards they received, speaking engagements, tournaments they won, or charitable contributions they made. Whatever the case, show them that you’re genuinely interested in them.

4. Send links to your contacts containing information they would enjoy reading about or information that would be valuable to them. To help you effortlessly find this type of information, set up RSS feeds using a news aggregator application such as Feedly. Then all you need to do is copy and paste the link into an email and send it to your contacts.

5. Send greeting cards for important business and personal dates in their lives. These might be employment anniversaries, graduation dates, special awards, certification achievements, birthdays, wedding anniversaries, children’s birthdays, and so on. For this initiative you can use SendOutCards (US) or JacquieLawson

6. For your contacts who publish blogs, post a few comments on their blogs occasionally. While blogs are a public forum (meaning don’t post personal information), they allow you to show your contacts that you’re thinking of them.

7. Pick up the phone and call your contacts at least every three to four months.

This brief article is an excerpt from, Landing An Executive Position.

 *This article may be republished with written permission.  If you are interested in posting this article on your blog, please email me at Beverly@HarveyCareers.com.  I will respond within 2 business days with my required signature and credits.

 

What is Networking?

iStock_000002118196XSmallNetworking is about building relationships and making connections with people who will lead you to jobs. What makes it especially effective is its quid-pro-quo aspect: it’s about helping others who can also help you. Bear in mind that it’s a process, and not a hit-and-run action.

Networking is based on the tested theory of six degrees of separation which states there’s a chain of no more than six people that links every person on the planet to every other person. The beauty of the technique is that you start with a series of contacts, and that series leads you to other contacts, which lead you to others until you’ve located an executive position. The progress is geometric because every lead can open the door to two or three other leads, and your initial contacts mushroom.

Categorize the people you want to network with according to three lists:

  • People of high influence in your job search
  • People who know you well and have some influence
  • Individuals of influence who may not know you well, but who could be helpful.

Networking Sources

Today, we’re lucky to have so many diverse ways to develop, nurture, and connect with our network. Consider, for example, these online and offline venues:

Online Networking

Career-focused membership websites that offer online member-to-member networking include ExecuNet, RiteSite, 6 Figure Jobs.

Professional and business networking websites that focus on building a network of contacts that lead to business and job opportunities include LinkedIn, Xing, Viadeo.

Online business communities

There are thousands of associations that host online and face-to-face networking events. Weddles Association Directory can help you find one in your industry.

Blogs

There are hundreds of blogs published by CEOs and senior-level management executives. By posting to their blogs, you are able to have a dialog with them and position yourself for one-on-one networking opportunities. For a list of blogs check out TheNewPR/Wiki’s “Who’s blogging/podcasting”.

Harvey Mackay, in his book Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty, recommends that to manage your network properly, you should contact each person every three months. He writes: “[Your] network provides a path, a way of getting from point A to point B in the shortest possible time over the least possible distance.” One of his maxims proclaims, “A network is an organized collection of your personal contacts and your personal contacts’ own networks. Networking is finding fast, whom you need, to get what you need, in any given situation, and helping others do the same.”

Bottom line: It’s all about being proactive, making the appropriate connections, and adopting an attitude of give and take.

This brief article is an excerpt from, Landing An Executive Position.

Considering An Industry Change?

iStock_000012260427XSmallWhether you’re a one-industry career veteran whose industry recently succumbed to unfavorable economic conditions, or an executive who wants to or needs to change industries, there is a great deal of due diligence required for a successful transition. In our current economic environment where most employers are unwilling to take chances, executive candidates must have a thorough understanding of the industry they are pursuing and be able to articulate the value they bring to an organization.

If you’re in this situation, it’s best at this stage to inventory your qualifications, examine your company preferences, and research industries.

To begin, create a list of personal preferences including:

  • Values, interests, and aspirations
  • Innate talents, greatest strengths, and core competencies
  • Preferences regarding corporate culture and values

Next, evaluate your company preferences:

  • Company size – small-, mid-, large-cap
  • Structure – public, private, non-profit
  • Source of funding – VC, PE
  • Growth model – organic or growth by acquisition
  • Footprint – local, national, international, global
  • Type of organization – traditional, pioneer, hyper growth, etc.
  • Governance – board, regulatory bodies
  • Leadership style – hierarchy, flat
  • Reputation
  • Executive turnover rate and reasons

Then, research and identify industries in which you have an interest using these sites:

  • NAICS (North American Industry Classification System) codes: http://www.census.gov/epcd/www/naics.html.
  • NYSE Euronext: http://www.nyse.com/about/listed/lc_all_industry.html. The Industry Classification Benchmark* (ICB) — which comprises 10 industries, 18 supersectors, 40 sectors and 114 subsectors — provides accurate and globally accepted industry and sector classifications.
  • Polson Enterprises: http://www.virtualpet.com/industry/. This site provides an online step-by-step process for researching industries and companies with links to thousands of resources.
  • Hoover’s Online, http://www.hoovers.com – Site has an Industry Master List with drill down capability to industry trends, industry snapshots, major companies in the industry, associations, organizations, publications, press releases, glossaries, and more.

Completing these steps will lay the groundwork for a comparison between the industry or industries in which you have worked and the similarities or lack thereof with other industries. This will help you identify your transferable qualifications and the value you bring to another industry table.

With proper due diligence, executives are able to change industries smoothly. You simply need to identify key industry characteristics and aggressively pursue the transition to achieve the success you desire when landing an executive position at a new company or in a new industry.

Looking For Work? Keep It Up Through the Holidays

…Large companies often have “use it or lose it” hiring budgets they need to spend by the end of their fiscal year, which for many firms coincides with the calendar year. “We’ve had facilities [such as hospitals] call us and say, ‘We have $100,000 to spend for recruitment and if we don’t use it this year, we don’t get it next year,'” explains Sean Milius, CEO of Management Recruiters of Colorado, a health-care focused affiliate of MRINetwork. Money might go toward signing bonuses and relocation packages, Mr. Milius says. Read the full article by WSJ’s Lauren Weber here…

LinkedIn – The 6 Figure Executive Networking Site

With over 90 million users representing over 200 countries around the world, LinkedIn is a fast-growing professional networking site that allows you to:

• Connect with your network of contacts

• Find and connect with people you have lost track of

• Search and follow companies in which you have an interest

• Find out who is currently working for a target company and what his or her title is

• Find people in your network who work at your target company

• Find contacts to help you learn more about a company or opportunity

• Search and apply for jobs

• Find out who posted a position and communicate with the recruiter (job poster) before applying

• Join groups and network — or start your own group

• Post questions and polls

• Answer questions and position yourself as a subject matter expert and/or thought leader

Out of the 90 million members worldwide, I conducted a search to see how many members are recruiters. Here are my findings:

Search string used: recruiter OR search consultant OR headhunter OR executive search

Results: 539,789 members

Search string used: recruiter OR search consultant OR headhunter OR executive search OR employment agency

Results: 921,609 members

Oddly enough a search on: recruiter OR search consultant OR headhunter OR executive search OR employment agency OR staffing agency OR personnel agency — netted the same number of results, 921,609.

Using the same search terms, I searched the Groups category. The results indicated that there are more than 900 Recruiter Groups and 202 Executive Search Firm Groups. The largest single Group of recruiters has 198,151 members worldwide.

As you can see, a basic membership (no fee) in LinkedIn can put you in front of thousands of recruiters 24×7. The key to getting found by these recruiters is your profile and more specifically your summary and specialties section. When a recruiter conducts a search for candidates, he or she only spends 10-20 SECONDS reviewing your profile. Following is a partial list of what recruiters and executive search consultants look for in your LinkedIn profile:

• Industry — Most recruiters are looking for executives with industry-specific experience. Occasionally recruiters recruit candidates out of a specific industry knowing that they are a good fit for the client company’s industry.

• Function/Level — Recruiters look for someone with a specific function and level. If you are President of a division, you most likely won’t be considered for a VP position since it is assumed that you will leave as soon as you find a President role.

• Recent Experience — Recency and relevancy are key here. If you have the experience the recruiter is looking for, but it is 15 years ago, you will most likely be overlooked. In today’s market the recruiter can find someone with recent and relevant experience.

• Education — Most companies require some type of degree and some require a master’s or specific degree. Therefore the recruiter will look for candidates with the educational qualifications required by the company.

• Job Hopping — This is a red flag for recruiters. If you have changed jobs every year for the past several years, it sends up a red flag. If you have good reason, your job hopping may be overlooked, however it’s difficult to get their attention to be able to explain. And your LinkedIn profile section is not where you want to try to explain.

• Location — Since few if any companies are willing to relocate executives, location is a high priority.

Of course, they look for the obvious such as correct spelling, grammar, language and tone as well. Since many recruiters only read your summary section, make sure you have a well-written summary that includes your branded value proposition.

If your career transition involves changing industries or functions, or you’re a job hopper, or you do not have the desired education, then targeting recruiters probably won’t be your most effective job search strategy. However, you’re profile is still extremely important because you will need to depend more on networking and finding contacts to land your next position.

Understanding the Hidden Job Market

Often referred to as the “hidden job market” this segment of unadvertised positions has been recently increasing. A few of the reasons why jobs may not be posted and thus, classified as “hidden” include:

  • Staff reductions have left many Human Resource departments operating with a bare minimum staff. The HR department simply does not have the resources to respond to the hundreds or thousands of resumes they receive for advertised positions. Therefore, they do not post the open positions.
  • In an effort to cut costs, many companies who regularly contracted with an executive search firm have decided to eliminate this expense. Some companies are conducting a referral-style recruitment process and some have created a small internal group to manage recruitment of senior level executives.
  • The board of directors or venture capital owners may want to replace a non-performing senior executive, however they do not want to upset the current executive and cause him to leave before they have identified a new candidate to replace the existing executive.
  • The current executive may have submitted his resignation but agreed to stay until a replacement is secured. The company may not advertise the position because it may gravely impact the subordinates performance and an important initiative the executive is leading.
  • While there are many frozen positions, there are many that are simply sitting vacant and the company is not in a rush to fill the positions unless the “perfect” candidate appears on their radar screen.
  • A company decision maker may be formulating a new position, but has not yet developed the job description, skill requirements or received budget clearance for the new position.

In reviewing the Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics reports, the majority of all jobs are hidden or unadvertised. The actual percentage changes month to month but has been interpreted by some experts to be as high as 80 percent. This would indicate that only 20 percent of jobs are posted.

Given these percentages, pursuing the hidden job market makes sense. This unadvertised segment will require a targeted search, extensive networking, and a crystal clear value proposition. One of my clients who followed this plan of attack identified several target companies and began a focused networking process. The result: he landed a position in the function, geography and salary range of his choice.

Another client identified one target company, began an internal networking process, met with several senior executives, and was offered a newly created position at a favorable salary.

As such, pursuing the unadvertised market makes sense.