So You Need A Job, What Now?

First, Make The Bed

I know, sounds silly but trust me it works. Right now you’re feeling like a failure, you’re stressed about money and you’re embarrassed to tell your family and friends that you’re out of work. Go, make the bed. It’s a quick and easy thing that will make you feel better. Your home will look cleaner and you will feel like at least one thing got done today.

Ok, bed done? Awesome, let’s move forward.

No spam!

First things first, don’t just start spamming applications to jobs. Let’s take some time and figure a few things out.

What are you looking for?  What’s the right job for you? Yes, I know that right now you just want a paycheck but that make you sound desperate and that lowers your odds of finding a job. So what job would you add the most value in? What industry? Role? Size of company?

What’s your story?  People are going to want to know why you’re looking, so craft a story. Keep it honest and never complain about your past job, but don’t be afraid to do some marketing for yourself and highlight your accomplishments. For example:

I’ve spent the past four years as head of technology and products at Act-On. It’s been an amazing experience for me working with a great team of product managers, engineers and my fellow execs. We’ve rebuilt the product with a services oriented architecture, replaced the outdated UI with modern interface, added a data product, moved into AWS and introduced the first piece of Act-On’s machine learning strategy.

Unfortunately, as part of the company’s effort to become cash flow positive, the decision has been made to centralize technical operations in Portland. It’s a good decision for the company and I support it wholeheartedly, but I’m not personally looking to relocate. Which means I’m working on a transition and figuring out what my next step is.

Ideally, I’d like to find a start up or midsize company to join as the head of product. Something in the B2B world I know so well, and around the 50 to 500 person size. A place that can benefit from my ability to build a team, a product and a vision.

Look at that. It tells a clear and honest story, highlights accomplishments and details the kind of position you’d be perfect for.

Your target list

Next, come up with some companies that you want to work for. This list should clearly match the kind of position you highlighted in your story above. Once you have this list, start checking on LinkedIn for who you know at those companies. Reach out to those people and see if you can catch up with them. Don’t reach out with “hey, can you get me a job?”, that’s just tacky. Reach out and genuinely try to catch up with folks. Once you’ve met, chatted, talked and caught up, then you can ask them for an intro.

Yes, do this even if the job you wanted isn’t listed as open. You never know what you’ll find and getting into an open position before it’s even advertised is perfect.

Your network

Next, start chatting with your network. Again, don’t just send out a mass email titled “hey, hire me!” No one likes getting those. Reach out to specific people, send them a personalized message and ask to catch up. Spend time with folks, be personal and real. See if there’s something you can help them with and be genuinely interested in what they’re doing. This is all basic stuff out of How To Win Friends but the bottom line is that you need to be genuinely interested in the other person if you want their help. Otherwise, you’re just that creepy guy in the back of the room handing out business cards.

Recruiters

What recruiters are active in your industry? Can you reach out to them? Recruiters are awesome. They’ll do the job search for you and they often have a direct line to the hiring manager.

Be public

Finally, don’t be afraid to make your job search public. There’s no shame in moving on from a job. Everyone does it at some point in their career. Rather than try to hide it, celebrate your accomplishments and let your network know you’re in the market. You never know who’s out there listening.

And on that note, if anyone is looking for a product leader, let me know, I’m looking.