After three months as an active job-seeker, I was offered and accepted a senior-level position with a global consultancy. As painful as it was to be out of work, I ended up with a choice of positions, and am happy with where I landed. Having listened to many horror stories, I realize my job search could have been much worse.
Here I will expose a few techniques I used that fell flat. I hope others can learn from where I tripped up.
I have built up a pretty good network over the years. But it never dawned on me (pre-layoff) that I know very few recruiters and really have none in my network.
It's very difficult to know which recruiters to talk with if you don't know the firms that truly have the industry connections and the respect of the hiring managers. As a result, both I and many of my former colleagues who were laid off wound up filling out a lot of forms in recruiters' offices and got little benefit.
Now that I have landed in a new position, I clearly recognize the need to start including recruiters in my network.
I think that general-purpose job fairs put on by organizations such as the New York Times and The Wall Street Journal are really bad for anyone targeting a position that pays more than $100,000. Post-layoff desperation and panic can cause us to do some strange things. Still, it seems like an extreme long shot to expect any results from an open-to-the-public job fair.
Imagine standing in what resembles an airport security line for an indefinite period of time for each employer that you want to talk with. When you get to the front of the table, you have 60 seconds to make a pitch. You are simply not set up for success in this type of environment. (I know - I've been on the employer side of the table.) By mid-day, the recruiter will have talked to dozens and dozens of potential candidates and they all are starting to blur together. The line never seems to end and, for every good candidate that comes through, there are nine candidates who aren't remotely close to being fit for the open position. These types of events, at best, are nothing more than a beauty contest. What is more likely is that you have probably significantly cheapened your brand.
Rob Gordon (a pseudonym) is a senior professional who has held management roles in product development, business management and technology.