Landing Your Ideal Job by Turning the Search Process Upside Down

Steve contacted the human resources director of a company because they had outpatient and inpatient PT jobs in multiple states. Unfortunately, after a few conversations, it was clear they didn’t have any opportunities in the areas he was interested. But the HR director referred him to the manager of an outpatient clinic for a different company in a different city and he was able to land his dream job. 


Sarah interviewed with a hospital for an acute care position. Over the course of several conversations, she mentioned that she was also interested in women’s health. Rather than getting the inpatient job, the manager recommended her for a position that wasn’t even posted yet -- director of the new women’s health initiative at the hospital.


After talking with his mentors, Blaine secured an interview with an NFL team. He prepped extremely well but in the end didn’t get the job. Interestingly, several months later one of the strength and conditioning coaches from the NFL recommended him for a job in the NBA and he got it. 


The typical job application process looks like:

Resume. Check. Well-written cover letter. Check. Send off the email for the job opening....hope, follow up, hope. Repeat until you get a job.


For years, I thought this was the process of getting your next great job. There is definitely a procedure that you follow. I previously thought how well you follow that procedure combined with your experience will get you the job. Unfortunately, I think this perspective may be holding us back from getting our next great job. 


These three stories have one thing in common.  They received a job offer in an unconventional way.  And they didn’t just get lucky… they benefited from relationships initiated during the job application process.


While it is true there is a process to follow and it is important that you complete it with excellence, the perspective with which you approach the process is even more important. Instead of focusing on a job, we need to use the job search process to build relationships.


Let me give an analogy about weight loss. While it is good to have a target weight in mind, if that number becomes the focus of our efforts, we lose sight of the ultimate goal.  While the number on the scale may represent part of what we are seeking, it definitely is not the most important part. For many people, that number represents looking and feeling their best and being able to enjoy their favorite activities. If we focus on that number, our behavior might be impacted negatively. For example, we may use extreme fad diets that only result in a temporary change or we might exclude certain of our favorite foods only to be miserable in the process. Instead, it is better to develop a healthy lifestyle that causes us to enjoy the process and see a more permanent change.


Similarly, in the job search, our focus should be developing high quality relationships with people. By focusing on relationships, we can enjoy the process more and frequently have much better outcomes. This approach has many benefits.


1) You get to know the people in the organization. 

For most people, who we work with is the most important part of job satisfaction. In the typical interview process, it can be challenging to really get to know the culture of the workplace. The interview can end up being a blur and leave you without a really good feel for the company.

If you start the job seeking process with the intent of building relationships, you get to know the whole organization better over a longer period of time and vice versa. The organization can know if you are a good fit too.


2) It sets you apart, because the focus is off of yourself

When you have the mindset of “getting a job,” the focus is on what you want rather than the other person or organization. When you seek to build a relationship, the focus shifts from yourself to the other. This is very refreshing and appealing to most employers because the candidate starts asking about how they can contribute rather than what they can get from the team.


3) It can lead to new opportunities. 

You wouldn’t believe how many times in building relationships that a person will recommend you for a job in the same company that they hadn’t posted. I have had people refer applicants to other jobs (even with competitors) because they were such an outstanding candidate and would be a great fit in another company.


In the next post, we will describe the process of how to build great relationships in the job search. Be sure to subscribe to our list or follow us on social media to not miss out on our next post.

If you are looking to put yourself in a great position for your next job, check out our Ideal PT Candidate Master Class. This course covers everything from writing a cover letter that will make you stand out, and interviewing like a pro, through negotiating the job offer. 


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