Topic of the Week Search And You Shall Find: Working With a Search Firm:
Looking for work seems like the ultimate go-it-alone experience. But it often doesn't have to be, there are resources out there dedicated to helping you. For example, staff at the unemployment office, career placement staff at your university, staff with your union, etc. But we'll focus here on search firms. Which reminds me of Edward Hall, III. He was arrested for trespassing at JFK airport. Turns out he forgot his ID so when the ticket agents wouldn't let him board the plane, he crawled onto the luggage conveyer. He was promptly arrested on the tarmac.
Mr. Hall was easy to find and arrest. You could follow in his footsteps, legally of course, to learn how to make yourself easier to locate by employers. That's why I've included three Do's and one Don't to help you to get search firms working on your behalf. For more, check out Pam Lassiter's book "The New Job Security" (Ten Speed, 2002).
DON'T rely only on recruiters. Recruiters can be a great resource to introduce you to new opportunities in the job market. But be careful to not rely on them, you need to also conduct your own independent job search. I like to think of a job hunt like a stool, it will work better if you have three to five strategies that you are utilizing at any one time.
DO homework on search firms. There are a variety of considerations when deciding if you want to work with a particular search firm. Are they a large operation or a smaller boutique firm that focuses on a particular industry? Remember there is no right or wrong answer, just certain firms that will have a higher chance for success for you. Another consideration, is the search firm working on contingency or are they retained by a specific employer. Look up search firms in your area and see the kind of clients that they work with. Are these the kind of companies that you think are a good fit for your skills?
DO communicate clearly. It is very important that the search firm knows who you are and how you can provide value to an organization. That's why it's so important for you to give them context about you, provide them a lot of facts about what you've done in the past and back it up with actually proof. Yep, working to convince a search firm of your worthiness is very similar to what you've have to do when you get in front of an actual employer.
DO touch base. This is a real art. You don't want the search firm to feel like you're a burden, but you also don't want to fall off their back-burner either. Finding the right excuses to stay in touch: update references, referrals for other positions, get professional referrals to the firm and finally, asking them what you can do that will make them more effective.
Follow these tips and you'll be flying high in your new job instead of handcuffed in unemployment.
Bob Rosner is a best-selling author and award-winning journalist. For free job and work advice, check out the award-winning workplace911.com. Check the revised edition of his Wall Street Journal best seller, "The Boss's Survival Guide." If you have a question for Bob, contact him via firstname.lastname@example.org.