I occasionally speak to people who I know would be great in certain job but haven’t even considered it because they don’t know much about it. That has led me to think about how many jobs you are missing out on just because you don’t know what to search for. This article will look at some tips for expanding the scope of your job search.
Job hunting is a marketing exercise
If you don’t know much about marketing, don’t worry. It’s pretty simple – it’s just business strategy – thinking about what product you are going to sell and who you are going to sell it to. This is the same principle you can apply to job hunting – you are a product – an accumulation of your skills and experiences, and you this is what you are selling to potential employers.
Your job search is just your way of researching your potential market – i.e. exploring who is prepared to buy YOUR product. But what if your market was much larger than you thought it was? This would mean there are loads more jobs out there than you are applying for, which in turn means that your success in job hunting is lower than it could be. Isn’t that an interesting thought?
Carry out some market research
If you’ve worked in the same job role or industry for years, you might want to stay in this niche because you know it well and feel you can progress upwards (and anything else might be a side step). But in many situations, a career change can also be a step upwards without the need to “start on the bottom rung”, “pay your dues” or any other cliché.
One of the interesting ways a marketing professional can promote an existing product is to look at alternative uses for the product – i.e. new potential markets. Why can’t you do the same for yourself?
It isn’t easy – if you are looking at an industry from the outside, then it can be difficult to see past the “newness”; the new territory that can scare us all and usually blocks the reality of the job role, which is that many of your existing skills could be transferred across to this new job.
Jobseekers tend to be put off when an advert says “2/3 years experience”, but that experience will generally refer to broad experience and not specific industry experience (unless otherwise stated). Of course, I’m not suggesting your 4 years retail experience will qualify you for a job as a Doctor on the basis “that you have good people skills”, but it might open some doors into an office environment, or perhaps as an event’s organiser.
Tip – try this out the next time you are browsing some job ads. Forget the section you planned to look at (IT, sales, marketing, whatever) and browse through the other areas of the website / newspaper. How many of those jobs could you do? I’m not asking how many of those jobs could you get – but, how many do you KNOW you could do? Would you consider applying for them? Why not? There may be legitimate barriers that you identify (lacking certain hard skills for example), but perhaps not as many as you think. And honestly, would you rather look at them as barriers or future goals?
If in doubt, ask!
Recruitment consultants can get a bad press from candidates – they are under pressure to turnaround a high volume of work which is usually commission based. Let’s be fair here – they can make mistakes! But before we lynch them all, let’s remember that they make their money from placing the RIGHT candidate in the RIGHT position and lots of consultants do that job very well.
If you can, take the time to discuss potential options with your recruiter – otherwise, they’ll just base their search for you on what’s on your CV. Tell them that you are interested in exploring other options and ask them what they think of that. Generally, they’ll give you some good feedback and if it is at all possible that you’re suitable for other industries or job roles, they will help you out with that too. After all, a well rounded candidate with plenty of options is easier to place!
Some other great ways to find out about other job roles;
- Ask on Twitter! The Twitterati love nothing more than to chat about random topics – if you @ the right people, you should get some quick answers.
- Ask on Facebook! Perhaps your friends and family have some insights for you?
- Check out industry forums. People will be glad to help you out. Linkedin is a good place to check out for this.
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