Sue Maitland - Life Transitions Coach


Make the rest of your life the BEST of your life

Tel: 778-265-6880

What’s the most important step BEFORE beginning your job search?

There are many possible answers, however there’s one action you can take that will dramatically increase your chances of landing the job you really want.

Did you guess updating your resume? You do need to do this and be prepared to customize it based on the job you’re applying for, but it’s not the most important thing.

What about updating your LinkedIn profile? I agree that this is important since it almost certain that any potential employer will check out your LinkedIn profile before your initial interview.

How about being active and posting on LinkedIn? Many people forget that LinkedIn is primarily a business platform and potential employers will also probably check out your recent activity. Be mindful that your potential employer will probably make assumptions about you based on your comments, shares, posts and likes on this platform.

Maybe you feel lining up good references to support your application is important. I agree that you need to do this too, although reference checking usually only comes into play when you’re much further along in the selection process.

Taking time to anticipate and prepare for tough interview questions is also helpful. Being able to anticipate objections and handle them with ease will give you more confidence in the interview and show the employer that you understood their possible concerns.

There are many other things you can do to prepare for a job search including taking time to get clarity on your top strengths and your differentiators and having examples of where you’ve demonstrated those strengths in the past.

But there’s still one thing that many people overlook that can make a huge difference to the success of your job search and in some cases, can effectively eliminate the competition.

Still trying to guess what it is?

The answer is simple and yet it’s challenging for many – BUILD YOUR NETWORK.

When you invest time and energy into building a strong network of people who know, like and trust you, all sort of possibilities will open up for you and you’ll get access to the hidden job market.

You’re probably aware that many companies post new job openings internally before sharing them with a broader audience. They will often ask existing employees if they know anyone who could be a good fit and may even pay a hiring bonus for candidates you bring forward who get hired. If someone in your network presented you for an opportunity with their employer, you can see that you’d have a much greater possibility of being chosen than if you simply responded to a job advertisement.

Think about it from the employer’s point of view. A candidate recommended by a fellow employee seems like a much safer bet than someone who simply responded to a job posting. It’s also quite likely that the employee will have shared information about the culture of the company and the benefits and so the employer may assume you’d be a good fit too. Also, it’s unlikely that the employee would bring you forward as a candidate if you weren’t a good fit as this would reflect badly on them.

Another benefit to the employer is the reduced cost, time and workload involved in finding someone through word of mouth or an internal referral. Wading through 100’s of job applications to try to determine who should be shortlisted for an interview is a huge amount of work and doesn’t always guarantee that a great potential candidate won’t get overlooked in the process.

Sometimes through networking, you meet someone and make such a great connection that they look for opportunities to create a job for you. When this happens, you have effectively eliminated the competition.

Your network can also provide insights into what it’s like to work in other companies. You’ll be able to get a sense of whether they are growing and hiring. You’ll also want to understand their corporate culture to see if it’s a fit for you. Having this information can help you prepare for an interview in advance, so you can share why you want to work for that company and why you’d be a good fit for them.

When should you start building your network? Immediately, in fact ideally, you’ll want to start doing this long before you start your job search. If you’re already in the process, it’s OK, it’s never too late to begin to strategically grow your network.

Sue Maitland PCC is a Life and Career Transitions Coach. She spent 10 years as a resource manager and recruiter and now, as a professional coach, has been helping others make successful life and career transitions for over a decade. Ask her about her self-directed workshop Networking for Success. It could make a dramatic difference to the success of your job search.