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How to Find a New Job Without a Headhunter

It’s true! You can get a great job without using a headhunter. And you should consider doing it. Here’s why: The thousands of dollars in recruiting fees your employer pays could affect your starting salary, bonus and promotion potential. There’s some motivation for you!

Not so many years ago, there were two really good ways to connect with the best job opportunities – networking and headhunters.

Today, social media has changed, or at least broadened, the meaning of networking. Online job boards have all but eliminated print ads and companies post jobs on their websites. All things combined, jobseekers now have much more access and control when it come to job-hunting. It’s only the headhunters who continue to operate in much the same way they always did – except they now go online too (to seek out job candidates.)

So if you don’t want to go with a headhunter, what do you do? Here are some key actions:

  • Research online job boards and social media. These are both great places for accountants to begin their search.
  • If you want your search to be discreet, be sure to check the job site’s privacy policy before you post your resume. Some sites allow you to keep your profile private with the click of a button.
  • Check your social media pages and scrub them if necessary. A 2013 study by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found that 77% percent of employers use social networks (primarily LinkedIn) to recruit. We’re sure that percentage has gone up dramatically.
  • If you have a particular firm in mind, look at their website and career pages. Do your due diligence and learn a bit about them. Do you really want to work at a firm with an out-of-date website? What do the partner photos reflect – a formal firm or a casual one? If you get a feel for the culture and think the firm is a good fit, it may make sense to apply directly.
  • Have an applicant tracking system (ATS)-friendly resume ready to go. This is a resume that:

Uses the key terms in the job posting throughout to help ensure your resume is actually reviewed by the hiring manager

Keeps the formatting very simple so the ATS reads your whole resume and doesn’t cut off words

  • It pays to be a little assertive, so after you’ve applied online, have a strategy for following up:

Do a little research to find the right person to reach out to; you may want to check whether any of your LinkedIn to contacts know the person.

Wait five business days before following up. If the posting has a closing date, the date moves to five days after that.

Don’t call the firm if the job posting says “no calls.” Otherwise, you can call once (unless you ask permission to call again.) If you do call, take your cues from the person you are speaking with.

Caveat: Feel out how the firm wants you to follow up. This is the part of the process that shows you can take direction.

The internet is a beautiful thing when you use it right. Your next job is out there. Go find it. And let us know how it goes.