Facing a longer job search when you’re between roles is one of the seldom-discussed downsides of reaching a senior position in your career. The further you climb up the ladder and the more specialized you become, the longer it takes to find the right fit. But that doesn’t mean you have to sit around waiting endlessly.
Taking a proactive approach by using the tools available can speed up your search and ensure you find roles that might have passed you by otherwise. Here are a few of the best ways to speed up the experience:
1. Expand your network.
The bigger your network is and the more people in your network who know you’re hunting for a job, the greater chance you have of somebody recommending you for a role. This goes for anyone, but executives and other senior business figures have an edge here: they’re starting from a good base and have a more extensive network than a recent graduate.
But that doesn’t mean you should sit back and assume that things will fall into place without you having to put in the extra effort. Here are a few ways to expand your network that go beyond the usual “attend networking events” advice.
• Look for a mastermind group.
A mastermind is a group of people who come together to share their goals, encourage each other, offer accountability, and brainstorm. They can either be in the same industry as you or do something entirely different. The most important thing is that everyone is equally committed to making the experience as useful as possible. You can often find groups online or through social media. Or why not make a public post on LinkedIn asking if anyone would be interested in joining?
• Volunteer or consider a personal interest group.
You’d be surprised at how often you can strike gold by attending non-professional groups related to hobbies, volunteering, or sports. Not everything has to be industry-specific. This is especially true if you live in a city where there’s a higher concentration of professionals, but it can also apply to smaller areas. Academic talks, conferences, and events can sometimes be a good bet, too. Why not turn up to whatever interests you and see who you run into?
2. Engage on social media.
Expanding your in-person network is vital to your job search, but the world is increasingly existing online, so boosting your digital network is equally important.
Many people dismiss LinkedIn as a platform where people pat each other on the back for their achievements and speak in corporate jargon, but it can be so much more. If you create a profile that clearly outlines who you are and what you’re about — and post relevant content that strikes a chord with your audience — you can expand your reach and boost your chances of landing a role.
Simply setting your profile to “available for work” and sharing posts about anything that crosses your mind — from your thoughts about the news to professional insights — can give you exposure to a whole new set of people.
Although LinkedIn is known for being the world’s biggest professional social media site, you might be surprised at how helpful other platforms can be for the world of work — if you know how to use them properly.
Unless you have a particularly high-achieving and active list of Facebook friends, posting status updates asking for referrals probably isn’t the right way to kickstart your job search. But Facebook Groups can often be a hidden gem for finding opportunities.
Try to look for groups that target people in a specific region, profession, or industry. For example, you might find a group dedicated to professionals in Boston, marketers, or those working in the healthcare sector. The more specific, the better.
Then, start interacting with others in the group by commenting or making posts. Don’t just make your pitch and say you need a job — try to provide real value by sharing your experiences and insights, then mention at the end of the post that you’re currently seeking a position.
Also, before you start posting and commenting like a maniac, make sure you get a general feel for the group first by lurking and reading posts. What kind of people are there, and how is everyone interacting?
3. Use automation tools.
One of the most tedious parts of the job search is trawling through countless platforms and trying to do all the right things at once. This doesn’t just require time but also a lot of mental energy. Fortunately, automation is here to help you.
As far as automation for LinkedIn goes, look for a tool that connects with the platform and automates actions like posting, sending messages, and viewing profiles to pick up traction and generate leads. Esferas is a favorite among our clients, but additional options do exist in the market, including Dux-Soup, Expandi, and others.
If you like sharing content on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, you might also find it useful to use a more general automated solution (read: not specific to just one platform) to post on your behalf. This is a great way to post at optimal times without having to keep track of everything yourself. Examples of these types of tools include dlvr.it, Hootsuite and Zoho Social.
Why wait longer than you have to?
As much as you tell yourself that all good things take time, it can be frustrating to wait endlessly for your next position. But hopefully I’ve given you some hope. Although there’ll always be an element of luck involved in the job search, you can maximize your luck by exposing yourself to as many different people and platforms as possible.
Or, you could just sit around twiddling your thumbs. The choice is yours.
Tim Madden is an Executive Coach and former Headhunter. Founder of Executive Career Upgrades, he’s on a mission to help accelerate careers.