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If you haven't tried snowballing, it could explain why your job search has been a complete failure so far

Editor's note: The following comes from a job candidate in Australia but could easily apply here as well.

For the vast majority of us, job hunting is never easy. In my opinion, candidates (myself included) often make a crucial mistake: We try one method of searching and wait for it to fail before trying another one.

My main focus here is to show how different job hunting methods can work together in a more logical way. If this cumulative approach gathers momentum, it could start to produce a snowball effect for you.

My favorite methods include the following:

1) Executive recruiters

2) Known contacts

3) Unknown contacts

I will write a bit about each point, but I won't recreate the wheel by defining them to any great length. As you read through, be mindful of any additional methods and work them into the approach described below.

1) Executive recruiters

You should start by getting to know a few recruiters - preferably executive recruiters because the quality of their contacts tends to be higher - and selecting those that are right for you. Interview them if you must. Get to know their style and the types of contacts they have. Find out how long they've been in the industry: the longer, the better.

When I first started my job hunt, I just jumped straight in and contacted as many recruiters as possible simply because I didn't know where to start. From that point, I narrowed down the list to four people who connected me to virtually all of the firms I wanted to work for.

Commencing your job hunt by contacting recruiters allows you to move onto other methods while the recruiters' efforts are bubbling along in the background. Do you see where I am going with the snowball reference?

2) The known contacts

Get in touch with anyone you know who works in financial services and let them know you are looking for work.

For me, having not grown up in Australia, my contacts were limited - severely limited. However, this simple exercise of contacting a few relevant people served to almost immediately expand my network. It's amazing how willing to help people can be if you approach them in a genuine way.

So by now, you will have recruiters working for you, a few job applications (hopefully) being reviewed and peers on the look-out for jobs.

3) The unknown contacts

Visit social networking sites and reach out to as many people as possible. Try to connect to both high-level professionals (i.e. those that might hire you) and peers in your job function. But don't stop there. Simply waiting for your connection requests to be accepted is easy. Once you've made online contact - and this is the most important part of my third step - see if you are able to arrange quick coffee catch-ups with your new contacts.

Tell them you are currently looking for work (which you are) and want to meet to learn about their journey (which you do). Not everyone will agree to see you, but some contacts certainly will. Don't be shy. You will discover that many people love to talk about themselves.

At this stage, you have a number of different methods in motion, all working toward a common goal: finding you a job.

While you are building your job hunting snowball, keep going back to the previous methods. Follow up with recruiters. Follow up your job applications and submit more. Follow up with your peers. And continue meeting people online.


These are only three methods to job hunting - there are certainly more (this Web site for example) which you can do at the same time. The purpose of my article is not to provide an exhaustive list.

The general idea is to job hunt in a way that each new method builds on the last. The best way to achieve this is to start with methods that involve minimal effort on your part (e.g. contacting recruiters) and progressively work toward methods that require more effort (e.g. connecting with people on social media).

This cumulative approach will allow your different strategies to simultaneously be in motion as your job hunt progresses. If you are having a tough time in your search, I urge you to give this approach a try. It has served me well.

Comments? Feedback? Ways to improve the process? I hope this helps in some way, but if you think it's rubbish, let me know in the comments box below.

The views expressed are those of the author and not of eFinancialCareers.

AUTHORAnonymous Insider Comment
  • La
    6 October 2011

    There are a couple of useful job hunting tips in here, but I miss the snowball metaphor. A snowball effect is a self-reinforcing process. Here, you just seem to be using several job hunting methods at the same time.

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