By Charlotte Weeks
From what I’ve seen, there are typically two categories that job seekers fall into when it comes to the methods they use: active and passive. Those that are passive go after jobs that are presented to them, whether by a contact or a job advertisement. They often end conversations with, “Let me know if you hear of any openings.” Those that are active apply to companies whether they have an advertised opening or not. They continuously seek out new networking contacts. They begin conversations with the question, “Who should I talk to at XYZ company?”
Judging by the above statements, you would assume that the “active” job searchers are using the best way, right? Well, yes and no. Yes, if you have to choose one method, the active style will statistically lead to greater success. However, one of the biggest reasons for this is because the vast majority of people exclusively conduct passive searches. With so many applying to all those open positions, the active job hunters will have much less competition when proactively searching. So, why do I say “no?” Job boards exist for a reason because they work (approximately 10% of the time).
Your best bet would be to combine the best of both passive and active job search strategies. To maximize your time, association leaders looking for a new opportunity can use the below “recipe” as a start:
1) Attend two networking events per month that focus on your industry or associations in general (such as ASAE and the Center for Association Leadership or the Association Forum of Chicagoland). (ACTIVE)
2) Spend one hour every other day searching for open jobs through an aggregator like Indeed.com (PASSIVE)
3) Identify associations you would like to work for and see if they have openings on their site. (ACTIVE AND PASSIVE)
4) Create a list of associations you would like to work for and send a highly-targeted cover letter and resume by mail–whether they have advertised openings or not. (ACTIVE)
5) Use a reputable recruiter distribution service and have your resume sent to those that source for associations and non-profits. (ACTIVE AND PASSIVE).
This brief list is just to get you started. It can be revised for what works best for you.