Research – Your Secret Weapon

Using RESEARCH smartly can be a powerful weapon for you and serve as an opportunity to “network with purpose” (as one of my good friends likes to call it).

Your goal should be to not only show what you did in your career but share best practices and offer to create the outline of a game plan going forward.  Your competition is showing what they have done.  You, the smart job seeker, must show what can be developed/acquired/operated for less money.  Make sure your research is in tune with what is happening in today’s tough times.

Start by selectively share your findings with people you know – those who have helped you.  These are the folks who will give you the opportunity to refine your thinking/thesis and who will be your advocate.  This is an ideal opportunity for you to interact with your key contacts in a way that doesn’t waste anyone’s time.  It will motivate the “connectors” (people who can help you network through the industry) in your network to help you.  Moreover, you are going to make them feel more comfortable referring you into their networks since they will have a specific reason.  People are incredibly busy these days and the time for general networking has taken a back seat to more pressing issues.  By adding value, you will be able to get that meeting faster.

Your goal should always be to pique a potential employer’s interest in meeting you.  When you get the coveted interview, let them know that you have done the work and that you can think “outside the box.”  Competition for jobs is fierce, it is imperative you remember this in today’s market – it is not what the company can do for you but what you can do for the company.

The key is to show what an impact player you can be without showing all the goods.  Be gracious but don’t give them all the answers and don’t leave the materials behind.  Your goal is to get them to realize what they would gain by bringing you on board and lose by letting you go to their competitors.  You never know where these meetings will lead, but even if there is not an immediate opening, you will be top of mind when an opening does arise.

Here are a few examples to consider:

Sales – do an analysis of where the customer budgets are being spent today. Consider building a game plan about how you would attack the job.

Marketing/Product/Business Development – provide the company/interviewer with a strategic overview of the market. Where are the holes and opportunities to take market share?

Job searching is part science and part art.  There are no quick fixes or can’t miss strategies that will get you a new job in 2 weeks.  Today’s job market requires patience, diligence and focus.  People have quipped, “Amateurs practice until they get it right.  Professionals practice until they can’t get it wrong.”  Pure repetition won’t ensure results.  Quality and depth of the content you can provide will.  But, if you take care of the fundamentals and prepare yourself as best you can for “that moment,” you will significantly improve your odds of finding your next job opportunity and succeeding at beating your competition.


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