Do job seekers enjoy spending hours researching job openings, completing online applications, and emailing their resume to countless employers only to never get a response? This process is analagous to the old-fashioned sales mentality that if you knock on enough doors giving your pitch, you’re bound to get a sale. No one likes it, yet so many job seekers conduct their search this way. Wouldn’t it be great if the jobs found you?
The reverse job search describes the process of marketing one’s talents, skills, achievements, qualities, and reputation to a target audience so that those with the jobs you want are seeking you out. Whereas personal branding is the strategic process of distinguishing one’s self from others by building value, reverse job seeking takes that personal brand and positions it to be seen where opportunity is likely lurking. Thus, it is less about building a brand and more about getting it seen by the right audience who has the need for what one’s brand offers.
Ironically, reverse job seeking isn’t something you do when you are unemployed; it’s something you always do so that in the event you become unemployed, you have plenty of people who would love to recommend you because they have become very familiar with your brand. For job seekers stuck practicing the same old ways to look for jobs, it is difficult to believe that employers would spend time looking for them. However, employers are beginning to realize that the most qualified candidates are usually candidates from whom they are unlikely to get a resume submission. Why?
Often, the most qualified candidates for employers are people already working in a similar position; the passive seeker. Passive seeker is a term that describes the individual who is happy where they work but who is open to exploring new opportunities that present themself. This is why LinkedIn has become so popular and why recruiting through LinkedIn has increased dramatically. Social media has facilitated a way for the reverse job seeker to promote their brand continuously and with targeted precision. The reverse job search requires job seekers to become marketing managers of their own personal brand with an expertise in ad placement to get their brand noticed. The key to the reverse job search is to get active where one’s brand will get noticed. Penelope Trunk, co-founder of Brazen Careerist, says, “We should not limit our potential by what someone has chosen to pay us to do. We should limit our potential by what we can think to do.” We all have had impressive accomplishments in and outside of our jobs, but do the right people know about our accomplishments? If they don’t, we have ourselves to blame because it is no one else’s responsibility but our own to market ourselves. Blogger, Jon Bischke, explained what he called the reputation graph, as the perception people have of those they know. While the reputation graph represents what people think of those they know, the reverse job search leverages the strength of one’s reputation graph.