Beat the Job-Hunting Blues with an Updated Search Strategy


If you are on the market for a new job, you will no doubt have noticed the recruitment revolution taking place online. The act of taking a red marker to ads in the classifieds section has long been replaced with scrolling, clicking, uploading, copying and pasting to the ubiquitous recruitment websites and jobs boards. The only thing that’s stayed the same is the crossed fingers and anticipation with which each application is sent. But for the savvy sustainability jobseeker, even that is beginning to change.

These days, everyone from the largest multinationals to the smallest businesses can access an international talent pool without even posting an opening externally. This has turned the tables completely. Modern jobseekers are the ones doing the advertising, while hiring managers are the ones doing the seeking.

All this has made the process of finding and securing a job a much more targeted, strategic activity. If you want to stay ahead of the game and find the best roles, you need to know what recruiters are thinking, what they’re looking for, and where. And you need to identify and communicate your niche.

A new global survey from Deloitte has found that 60 percent of companies have updated or are currently updating their talent-sourcing strategies and another 27 percent are considering changes. “Companies are looking for new ways to access and engage people,” it says, “including through joint ventures, contracting, freelancers, and open source talent.” And with good reason: many companies self-report underperformance in human resources and talent program capabilities.

With this in mind, don’t you think it’s time you updated your job seeking strategy too? Here are the top three new hiring trends and my tips on how to hack them for a dream job in sustainability.

1. Hiring from within

This is a big one that we’re seeing more and more of in the industry. But how can you go for a job that hasn’t even been posted? The trick is to get connected. Whether through face-to-face contact, informational interviews or LinkedIn relationships, an internal referral to an advertised role – or better, an internal posting that isn’t advertised – increases your chances of getting to the top of the pile by 55%.

hiring-bigMany people think of networking as a dirty word (as I explored in my recent Triple Pundit article), particularly the face-to-face kind. It can feel intimidating, kinda risky. But think of it like an investment: the higher the risk, the greater the potential return. Getting out there and meeting people – whether at conferences or on campus – is a tried and tested route to recruitment success for both parties. The Deloitte report proves this, showing that companies “aggressively deploy referral marketing programs and send their key executives to universities and other critical sources of new talent around the world.”

If the above is not practical for you however, look out for other ways to build relationships with key players in the companies you’d kill to work for. Social media is great for this whereas informational interviews are now a bit passé as people just don’t have time to honor them. Another idea that’s gaining traction is the one-page job proposal – a proactive, compelling tool that can help you to create your own job.

2. Social tools

As the aforementioned Deloitte report points out, “as the battlefield for scarce talent continues to shift, talent acquisition is becoming more like marketing every day.” Too true: 62% of executives saying that they rely on social tools for recruitment and staffing. Companies are using online platforms from LinkedIn to Facebook, Twitter to Glassdoor, Google to Yahoo, to find talent and market their companies to “passive job candidates”.

With this in mind, you need to make sure that your online profiles are recruitment-ready, and LinkedIn is the obvious place to start. Reach out as well by engaging with relevant groups, forums and alumni networks in the sustainability space on platforms like Google Circles and LinkedIn groups.

3. Online talent communities

Another innovative tactic is companies’ use
of online platforms and social media sites to build talent “communities”. These communities comprise full-time employees, retired workers, independent contractors, and everyone in between – including potential staff members like you.

AT&T’s talent community, for example, attracts potential team members by providing a forum to talk about mobile computing and telecommunications, while online retailer Zappos has established an inventive careers portal through which opens up a two-way communication with the company that could lead to a job. Look out for online talent communities or careers portals at the companies you want to work for and make sure you put your best foot forward when engaging with them – you never know where it might lead.

Good luck in your job search! For some bespoke advice on career change navigation and personal positioning, contact me for a free 15-minute coaching session.

Image credit: Fran Villena, via Flickr/ CC BY

Shannon Houde is founder of Walk of Life Consulting, the first international career coaching business focused solely on the environmental, sustainability and corporate responsibility fields.

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