December 8, 2001

Tutorial: How to 'direct source' your next job

Author: JT Smith

- By David Perry -

Job boards, newspapers, and friends will only get you access to 30% of all the jobs The rest you need to direct source yourself. Here's how to do targeted job research online, step by step:

Internet searches: Step #1, develop a target list of companies

Decide on key words that are specific to the type of job you are looking for. We'll use Linux. The generic words you'll need are job, resume, submit and free. We are using this search string to instruct Google to return the list of Web sites that have Linux jobs but are not ads for resume-submitting businesses.

Choose the advanced search option. Entering the words one by one brings you the following results:

Linux 4,030,000 low
Resume 1,100,000 low, includes candidate resumes
Submit 71,000 low, includes job boards
Job 12,000 high, all Linux jobs
NOT "free" 2,670 very very high, this excludes all the resume submittal sites and shows just the jobs.
212 91 Using the New York area code gets you just the New York jobs. Honing in using area codes is very effective.
Open source 33 Adding another key term like "open source" can help narrow your search even further.

Step #2, find people who can hire you

Once you have a target list of companies to work with, you need to find out who the people are in those companies that can actually hire you. A headhunter would likely pick up the telephone and ask a series of mind-numbing, thought-provoking questions that would deliver all that golden info to them. You might not be so inclined, so here's another way to do it.

Go to each company's Web site and gather names. If you're lucky, every Web site will provide the complete identification of all the senior executives, including names, titles, phone numbers, career summaries and sometimes email and photos! Web information should be up-to-the-minute accurate, but if you have any doubts, make a phone call to confirm it.

In my case I'm looking for a programming job so I am likely to be hired by a VP of Engineering or VP Development.

If you're having difficulty finding the name on the site go back to Google's advanced search box and type in the company name in the first box and (vice president engineering director development).

This search string will bring you:

All the people who are, or have ever been, VPs OR president OR directors of engineering or development for that company. The people from that company whom you may be able to phone to coax information from.

Once you have the name of the individual who is one rung up the ladder from the job you want, you need to process their name through Google again. This time you put their first and last name in the first box and the company name in the third box.

This will produce a list of press releases, news articles and conferences they've attended. Read an article or two and clip something memorable to use in your "NarrowCast" letter.

When you send them the letter you'll be able to say. "I read your article in {publication name} about {a certain topic] which prompted me to write." Very powerful.

By far, the best way to discover new opportunities is by doing structured search engine queries and as you've seen it's fairly easy to do.

David Perry is managing partner of Perry-Martel International Inc.
To learn how to put together a resume that'll make companies call you and conduct active interviews, buy a copy of's A Headhunter's Guide to the New Economy, from Proceeds from the sale help pay for English education in Quebec.


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