In Part 1 of The Power of Proactive Search we covered a few of the ways Proactive Search can benefit companies looking for the ideal candiate.
So, what about those candidates?
For everyone out there looking for a change, surfing job boards and tossing resumes into the ether is equivalent to the 'Career' page method; it feels active, and it's not a bad thing in itself, but it's ultimately a passive move. You're putting yourself in the same position as everyone else that submits a resume. Granted, there will always be factors beyond your control, but you can give yourself an edge with a few simple moves.
Just like companies have an ideal candidate, you probably have a few places you'd like to work (which you probably identified by staying connected to your industry). Connect with them on social media, subscribe to the company blog and newsletter and set up Google Reader (or another news feed) to scan for them in the news. Once you've got your finger on the pulse 'Like', comment and engage with the company. If it's a small operation, the people making the hiring decisions will probably see your feedback. If not, at least you'll be able to tailor your resume bring a lot of knowledge to an interview.
But maybe your choice company isn't a social media juggernaut or you're applying at a lot of places. In that case, you can fall back on all those 'hokey' lessons you learned about applying for jobs in high school. Follow-up calls, personalized cover letters or, my personal favorite, the pop-in. If possible, stop in and ask to hand your resume directly to a decision-maker. You won't always be able to get a face-to-face, but even leaving a hard copy with the receptionist ensures they'll have something to look over and demonstrates more commitment that an e-mail.
The John Cusack Method is always my last resort.
There are plenty of other methods - for both candidates and companies - for being more being more active when it comes to hiring or getting hired. The point is that it's easy to feel like you're being proactive, but there are always extra steps you can take. Of course, on of the easiest is to get in touch with someone who does this for a living.
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