The Job Hunter
By Rabbi Mordechai Kruger
In my last article, I discussed headhunters and job counselors, the ways in which they can help job hunters, and the reasons why they often can’t. Headhunters only hunt in the specific field they serve. For most job hunters, they’re not much help. Job counselors, on the other hand, will counsel anyone. But often the counseling doesn’t lead to a job. Then it’s, “Well, sorry. It’s tough out there.”
There is something fundamentally wrong with a job search that focuses on want ads, and seeking assistance from these experts, in most cases, does not correct the problem. In order to understand this, let me introduce you to Mr. A (for Average) Job Hunter. A is looking for a job, so he looks for want ads, asks friends if they know of any openings, and, if he is friendly with any powerful executive types, asks them to help him get an “in” at a place which is hiring. All normal things to do, and all things that rarely result in finding a job. So A speaks to an expert, and as we’ve seen, ends up with nothing to show for it, except more frustration. At this point, A begins to think he’ll never get a good job, the whole system stinks, and there’s nothing he can do that will make any difference at all. His job hunt grinds to a painful and frustrated halt.
Mr. Job Hunter has spent all of his time and effort looking for job openings, or trying to find people who can help him find a job opening. But limiting a job search to current job openings is a major mistake.
Here’s a fact that every job hunter needs to know: of all the millions of hires that happen every year, only about 25% involve a candidate who applied for a known vacancy. That means that with all the expertise in the world at finding job listings, ads, etc., if you are looking for a job that is currently open, you are limiting your search to that 25%. If you do the math, you will come to a conclusion that sounds strange, but it is true: 75% of successful job hunts are based on looking for jobs that are not currently open. In other words, they involve looking for jobs that, as the title of this article says, don’t exist—yet.
This isn’t as strange as it sounds. Think about a business that has 25 employees (small businesses create the vast majority of jobs). Let’s imagine that our job hunter gets to speak to the boss, and he says they’re not hiring. So that business gets crossed off the list—another frustration. But what the boss said was only true at the moment he said it. Next week? Next month? Who knows? People leave, people retire, new opportunities arise. Every business is hiring—some today, and some not now.
The key to a successful job hunt is to identify many businesses or organizations that hire people to do the kind of work you do. You want to make sure that they know who you are and what you can do. You want to speak to the ones who are hiring—and especially to the ones who are not hiring. Sometime soon, they will be. And the first place they will look to find the person they need is among the people they already know. If you have done your job hunt well, they will come looking for you. That can happen if you focus your job search on the job that doesn’t exist—yet. v
Rabbi Mordechai Kruger is the founder and director of Pathways to Parnassa, an organization providing job-search and career coaching to our community. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.